The U.S. Supreme Court has heard the oral arguments in the case of the Colorado baker who refused to make a customized wedding cake for a same-sex couple.
Creighton University Law Professor Pat Borchers predicts the outcome.
“I think the baker is going to win and should win because he didn’t refuse to serve them,” Borchers says. “He didn’t throw them out of the store and he would sell them a wedding cake. He just wasn’t going to put on the message they wanted put on it.”
Borchers says this appears to be a clear free speech issue.
Jack Phillips, the owner of the Masterpiece Cakeshop, has asserted he has a constitutional right to refuse to participate in a same-sex wedding ceremony, citing the First Amendment’s right to free speech and free exercise of religion. Phillips, a Christian, says he cannot in good conscience participate in a ceremony celebrating same-sex marriage.
Colorado’s civil rights commission thought otherwise and ordered him to bake the cake. He refused and the case ended up before the Supreme Court.
Borchers says Colorado takes the position that the baker violated the state’s anti-discrimination laws.
“People tried to analogize it to the bad-old-days when African Americans didn’t get served at lunch counters and things like that,” according to Borchers. “Again, there is a much bigger difference of not being allowed to sit at the lunch counter and not liking what is on the menu.”
He says there is a difference between refusing to serve someone and refusing to provide the exact service they want.
The U.S. Supreme Court seems to be divided on the case. A decision is expected in June.