Supreme Court Reviews Groundbreaking Civil Rights Case

Dennise Reynoso, Writer

With the Supreme Court’s return to the bench Monday, Oct. 2, several topical issues that have received much trepidation in the past few months will finally be reviewed. One case that has been heavily debated is the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.


The case involves cakeshop owner Jack Phillips and gay couple David Mullins and Charlie Craig. On July 2012, Mullins and Charlie entered the Masterpiece Cakeshop with the intention of ordering a custom cake for their wedding. Phillips refused to service the pair, arguing it was against his values as a devout Christian.


David Mullens appealed to the Supreme Court after the state of Colorado instituted regulations on his business. According to the ACLU, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission ruled the bakery must “change its company policies, provide ‘comprehensive staff training’…and provide quarterly reports for the next two years.” The state court had evoked a law that disallowed discrimination based on sexuality in this case. His appeal was accepted by the supreme court, on the grounds that Colorado’s restrictions were infringing on his first amendment right of free speech.


The free exercise clause within this amendment keeps the government from interfering in the practice of an individual’s religion. In this case, Jack Phillips accepting service to a homosexual couple would be going against his faith and right to exercise his religion.  


Those opposing Phillips argue his act were based on prejudice. Although it was definitely offensive to have refused service to a couple based on their sexual orientation, something that is innately a part of who they are, Jack Phillips appears sincere in his beliefs and has assured that he is not reacting merely on sheer bigotry. Phillips even offered to make any other pastry, anything other than one that would celebrate their union, which goes against his practices.  


After five years, the Supreme Court will have the opportunity to determine a verdict. This case will ultimately result in a momentous decision, one that has potential to dictate the civil rights of thousands of people as well as established religion’s jurisdiction over free speech.


Although the same-sex couple unfortunately dealt with this mal treatment at the hands of this cake shop, a state should not hold the authority to regulate one’s business in such a manner that impedes on one’s freedom to practice their religion. Essentially Jack Phillips does legally reserve this right and the couple should rightfully so take their service else where, where it will be readily appreciated.