Colorado’s Same Sex Marriage Cake Case Finally Reaches The US Supreme Court


Katie Cole

On December 5th, the  United States Supreme Court listened to testimonies on a topic they never thought would be brought before the justices: cake. Yes, cake. The case surrounds a Colorado same-sex couple who went to Masterpiece Cake Shop in 2012 looking to purchase a wedding cake for their upcoming nuptials. In meeting with owner Jack Phillips the couple was told that the cakery would not provide the service to them because Phillips believes God intended marriage to be between a man and a woman. The nine justices are sharply divided on the issue, split four and four along party lines while the deciding vote rests on the shoulders of Justice Anthony Kennedy.

“I didn’t want to use my artistic talents to create something that went against my Christian faith,” Phillips stated previously. He noted he does not make Halloween cakes as well. Phillips and his lawyers based their argument heavily on the first amendment, citing freedom of religion and freedom of speech as reasons as to why a private business is allowed to turn down patrons they disagree with morally. Phillips said he does not discriminate against gay people and that they are allowed to buy anything premade off his shelves so long as it is not a custom cake which is “compelled speech.” Phillips stated he offered to make other baked goods for the couple but not a wedding cake which he feels goes against his fundamental religious values. Liberal justices were quick to question where to draw the line.

Liberal justices wish to rule against Phillips, citing discrimination against the couple and stating that it would open the floodgates for businesses across America to deny services to gay couples. They questioned which businesses would be exempt from anti-discrimination laws, could a jeweler, tailor, or chef be exempt? When posed this question, Phillips’ lawyers gave a response that puzzled justices.

Kristen Waggoner, lawyer for Phillips, stated Phillips makes a “temporary sculpture” when creating custom wedding cakes while “the tailor is not engaged in speech nor the chef is engaged in speech.” Justice Kagan was in visible disbelief at the argument that a baker was exempt but a chef was not. Left-leaning justices are worried that if the outcome rules in favor of Phillips it will completely undermine the landmark 2015 case of Obergefell v. Hodges which ruled same-sex marriage constitutional.

The more conservative justices, on the other hand believe that tolerance in America needs to go both ways. They think that in order to have a truly accepting society, there needs to be an understanding that some may disagree with others based on their religious values and that needs to be recognized as valid.

No matter the political view of the justice, all agree that the outcome of the case will have a great impact on the way America deals with LGBT+ discrimination for years to come.