Gay wedding cake case

Justices’ opinion divided on case about same-sex marriage and religious beliefs.

A constitutional case concerning a wedding cake attracted a large number of activists on both the competing sides to Supreme Court on December 5 . The case, which attracted considerable media attention, concentrates on the discrimination faced by the LGBT community. The case is essentially artistic and religious convictions versus discriminatory practices. The Judges of the United States Supreme Court appeared sympathetic to a Colorado Christian baker who did not design a customized wedding cake for an LGBT couple.

It all started when David Mullens and Charlie Craig, a gay couple, went to Masterpiece Cakeshop for a customized wedding cake. Jack Phillips, the owner of the cake shop, suddenly refused to sell the cake when he found out the cake was for a same-sex marriage. The resultant complaint from the couple sanctioned Phillips.

According to Phillips, his shop has previously sold cakes and other baked items to other LGBT couples. He, however, draws a line when creating a custom cake for a same-sex marriage because he doesn’t want it to be conveyed as an action in support of gay marriage. He gave the argument that the state could not force him to make a statement which he has disagreed to do in the first place.

A number of judges expressed their concerns over the integrity of public accommodation and also civil rights laws. The court tried to understand what Phillips meant when he said his custom cakes have a speech interest. Justice Elena Kagan cogitated on which other owners of service providers can decline to offer their services in the case of same-sex weddings. Justice Kagan cited instances of a hairstylist or makeup artist. These are professionals who utilize their specialized skill set to craft beauty. To this question, Kristen Waggoner, who legally represents Phillips, said that makeup and hair cannot be termed expressive.

Justice Samuel Alito, a conservative justice, tried to extricate Waggoner from Kagan's pincer questioning by asking her whether architecture could be regarded as speech. Phillips' lawyer replied in the negative, justifying her answer by saying that the primary role of architecture is simply functional. Justice Stephen Breyer expressed incredulity, saying that a customized cake design is regarded as free speech. But architectural work is not considered. Conservative Justices like Anthony Kennedy expressed their concerns regarding hostility by the government towards the religious believers. It means that the baker may have won the case.

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