This morning at the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission oral arguments were heard in the case, which will be decided by next June. The case will either protect the fundamental equality of LGBTQ people — or it could set a dangerous precedent giving businesses a license to discriminate.
The case involves Jack Phillips, a baker who refused to serve a gay couple in violation of Colorado’s statewide non-discrimination law. Represented by the SPLC-designated hate group Alliance Defending Freedom, Phillips — who lost before the Colorado Supreme Court — was granted the Supreme Court hearing to make a claim that he should be able to discriminate against LGBTQ people on religious freedom and freedom of speech grounds. The Trump-Pence Administration has also entered this case to back the baker’s claim. Masterpiece Cakeshop is one of the most significant Supreme Court cases of the year, and the outcome could have sweeping consequences for every single LGBTQ American and millions of others.
“In the United States, businesses that are open to the public get to decide what to serve, but not who they serve. The First Amendment cannot and should not be distorted as a weapon of discrimination,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “The ramifications of allowing people to pick and choose who they will serve could have severe consequences not only for LGBTQ people, but other minorities as well. Such a decision would put into jeopardy long-standing laws against discrimination across the country.”