In one of the most watched Supreme Court cases of the year, the nine justices heard lengthy oral arguments this morning in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a case that looks at issues involving questions about free speech, religious freedom, and civil rights.
At the center of the case is a Denver-based cake shop whose owner refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple on the grounds that it would violate his religious beliefs. The same-sex couple argues the owner violated Colorado law against discrimination by refusing to make the cake.
After the oral arguments concluded on Tuesday, it appeared that the High Court was largely divided on the issue, with Justice Anthony Kennedy expected to be the deciding vote. Kennedy didn’t do much in terms of tilting his hand during the arguments, suggesting at one point that if the court ruled for the cake maker, it would open the door to business putting up signs saying they don’t cater to same-sex couples and that would be “an affront to the gay community. He also said that the state of Colorado had not been tolerant of the cake maker’s religious beliefs.
What more did we learn from oral arguments? How are the justices likely to rule?
Jonathan Keller, president and CEO of the California Family Council, a Christian-based non-profit educational organization, which filed an amicus brief on behalf of the petitioner Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd.
Jenny Pizer, senior counsel and law and policy director at Lambda Legal, a law firm that specializes in defending LGBT rights; they filed an amicus brief along with a number of other organizations in support of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission