The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments today in a case that could shape the landscape of religious freedom in America for years to come. Attorneys argued before a divided court in the highly anticipated case Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The legal battle, which began back in 2012, pits Christian cake artist Jack Phillips against Colorado officials who demand that Phillips employ his artistic talents to create unique wedding cakes for same-sex ceremonies.
Christian legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) argued on behalf of Phillips. In a press conference hosted by ADF following the arguments, Phillips said he hoped the Supreme Court would “affirm the freedom of artists to peacefully express themselves in ways consistent with who they are.”
While many people of faith supported Phillips, others vocally opposed his constitutional rights. Religious progressives submitted a brief explicitly asking the Supreme Court to reject his “First Amendment-premised exemption” to Colorado state regulations requiring businesses to participate in same-sex weddings.
Phillips pushed back against this demand in an op-ed published by USA Today on December 4, one day ahead of oral arguments. He asked his opponents “grant me a certain measure of respect” by allowing him to practice his faith in accordance with his rights as an American citizen.
“The First Amendment defends my right to create custom cake art that is consistent with my faith, while declining requests that ask me to celebrate events or messages that conflict with my faith,” Phillips wrote.
Not surprisingly, but disappointingly, the Editorial Board at USA Today published their own editorial on the same day flatly contradicting Phillips’ claim and denying that the Constitution protected him in this situation. “While the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of religion and expression are both fundamental rights, neither is unlimited,” the Editorial Board argued.
Plenty of others on both sides of the debate took to social media today. Here are just a few reactions to the Masterpiece Cakeshop case arriving at the Supreme Court today.
— AllianceDefends (@AllianceDefends) December 5, 2017
— Casey Mattox – ADF Center for Academic Freedom (@CaseyMattox_) December 5, 2017
The #MasterpieceCakeshop case is important because if we don’t have freedom of conscience, if people aren’t able to act in accordance with their deeply held beliefs, then we have a government that can do absolutely anything. –@drmoore pic.twitter.com/mZ9fX4nfvE
— ERLC (@ERLC) December 5, 2017
— Rep. Mike Johnson (@RepMikeJohnson) December 5, 2017
— Senator Roger Wicker (@SenatorWicker) December 5, 2017
Government isn't necessary to supply cakes to gay couples (the market does this just fine). #MasterpieceCakeshop is really about the left finding a way to make protection from emotional harm a constitutional right.
— Robby Soave (@robbysoave) December 5, 2017
Gay wedding cake argument over. Pivotal vote Justice Kennedy sympathetic to plight of LGBT community facing discrimination but harshly criticizes perceived anti-religion bias of Colorado civil rights panel that ruled against baker
— Lawrence Hurley (@lawrencehurley) December 5, 2017
Justice Kennedy, who holds the key vote in Masterpiece Bakeshop, sent sharply contradictory messages at Tuesday’s argument. He called discrimination against gays an affront. And he said the case had been tainted by hostility to religion.
— Adam Liptak (@adamliptak) December 5, 2017
Kennedy appears to view Masterpiece Cakeshop as a case about animus against people of faith.
There is a possibility of a narrow loss for Team Equally, but little chance of a victory.
— Ian Millhiser (@imillhiser) December 5, 2017
— Laura E. Durso (@TheDursoIsIn) December 5, 2017
Businesses can determine what they sell, but not who they serve. If you sell wedding cakes, you have to sell wedding cakes to everyone. You can't put up a sign that says, "we don't serve your kind here.” #OpenToAll #MasterpieceCakeshop
— ACLU (@ACLU) December 5, 2017
.@HRC is rallying with partners at #SCOTUS today because #MasterpieceCakeshop is one of the most significant Supreme Court cases of the year & could have sweeping consequences for every single #LGBTQ American & millions of others. #OpenToAll pic.twitter.com/YBdzgViCrO
— HumanRightsCampaign (@HRC) December 5, 2017
Joining .@ACLU & .@HRC today to speak up for civil & human rights against discrimination in the #MasterpieceCakeshop case before #SCOTUS. We can’t go back to the days when businesses displayed signs in their windows saying: “Your kind not served here.”
— Rep. Hank Johnson (@RepHankJohnson) December 5, 2017
Personal beliefs do not give business owners the right to discriminate. #MasterpieceCakeshop
— Eric Schneiderman (@AGSchneiderman) December 5, 2017
One person’s religious beliefs should not infringe on their neighbor’s right to live freely and openly. Any public accommodation should be #OpenToAll regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, race or religion.
— Rep. Joe Kennedy III (@RepJoeKennedy) December 5, 2017
Listen, our marriage will have no effect you. But if you don’t make us a wedding cake, we’re gonna destroy ur business #MasterpieceCakeshop
— Harry Khachatrian (@Harry1T6) December 5, 2017
— Lauryn Gutierrez (@GutzyLo) December 5, 2017
— People Power (@peoplepower) December 5, 2017