The issue of discrimination based on sexual orientation has been a hot topic in recent years. One notable case that gained national attention was that of a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple. The baker argued that making the cake would go against his religious beliefs. While the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the baker in this case, he faced a separate lawsuit over a similar incident. In this blog post, we will explore the details of this case and answer the question: Did the cake maker get sued for not making the gay cake?
The story begins in 2012 when a gay couple approached Masterpiece Cakeshop in Denver, Colorado, to order a wedding cake for their upcoming nuptials. The owner of the bakery, Jack Phillips, refused to make the cake, citing his religious belief that marriage should be between one man and one woman. The couple, Charlie Craig and Dave Mullins, filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission claiming that they had been discriminated against based on their sexual orientation.
After a lengthy legal battle, the case made its way to the Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of Phillips in a narrow 7-2 decision. The court found that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had violated Phillips’ First Amendment rights by exhibiting hostility towards his religious beliefs.
However, this was not the end of the legal troubles for Phillips. In June 2017, Autumn Scardina, a transgender woman, called the bakery to order a cake to celebrate her gender transition. Phillips refused to make the cake, again citing his religious beliefs. Scardina filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, alleging that Phillips had violated the state’s anti-discrimination law.
The lawsuit that followed was similar to the previous case, with Phillips arguing that his First Amendment rights protected him from having to create a cake that would go against his religious beliefs. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission ruled against Phillips, ordering him to pay a $500 fine for discrimination.
Phillips appealed the decision, and the case made its way to the Colorado Court of Appeals. The court affirmed the decision of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, stating that Phillips had unlawfully discriminated against Scardina based on her transgender status.
Phillips then appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that he had a right to refuse to make a cake that would go against his religious beliefs. However, in March 2021, the Supreme Court declined to hear the case, effectively ending Phillips’ legal battle.
So, did the cake maker get sued for not making the gay cake? The answer is yes, but not just for that incident. Jack Phillips faced a separate lawsuit over his refusal to make a cake to celebrate a transgender woman’s gender transition. While the Supreme Court ruled in his favor in the first case, Phillips was ordered to pay a fine in the second case for discrimination.
The issue of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity continues to be a contentious one in the United States. While some argue that religious freedom should allow businesses to refuse service to LGBTQ+ individuals, others argue that this is a clear violation of anti-discrimination laws. The legal battles may be over for Jack Phillips, but the debate is far from settled.
What was the outcome of the Masterpiece Cakeshop case?
The Masterpiece Cakeshop case was a highly controversial case that revolved around Jack Phillips, a devout Christian baker in Colorado, who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple in 2012. Phillips argued that baking the cake would be a violation of his religious beliefs and therefore, he claimed to have the right to refuse service to the couple. The couple then filed a complaint under the state’s nondiscrimination law, which prohibits businesses from discriminating against customers based on sexual orientation.
The case eventually made its way to the United States Supreme Court, which issued a narrow ruling in favor of Phillips in 2018. The court found that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had violated Phillips’ First Amendment rights by showing animus towards his religious beliefs. However, the court did not rule on the broader question of whether businesses have the right to discriminate against customers based on their sexual orientation.
The case was then sent back to the Colorado Court of Appeals to be reheard. In October 2022, the court heard the case, and on January 26, 2023, it issued its decision. The court ruled that Phillips had violated the state’s nondiscrimination law by refusing to bake the cake for the same-sex couple. The court found that the couple’s request for a pink-and-blue cake was not a form of protected speech, and that Phillips’ religious beliefs did not give him the right to discriminate against them.
This ruling is significant because it affirms the state’s right to protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination and reinforces the importance of anti-discrimination laws. It also sends a message to businesses that they cannot use their religious beliefs to justify discrimination against customers based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. The case has been closely watched by both LGBTQ+ rights advocates and religious liberty advocates, as it raises important questions about the intersection between these two values.
Why did three bakeries decline to make cakes for William Jack?
In 2012, Amici William Jack requested custom cakes with a specific religious message from three different Denver bakeries. These bakeries denied his request, citing objections to the message he wanted on the cakes. Specifically, Mr. Jack requested cakes with anti-gay messages and imagery, including a cake featuring two men holding hands with a red “x” over them.
The three bakeries that declined to fulfill Mr. Jack’s requests were Masterpiece Cakeshop, Azucar Bakery, and Le Bakery Sensual. The owners of these bakeries argued that they could not, in good conscience, create a cake that goes against their personal beliefs and values. This sparked a legal battle between Mr. Jack and the bakeries, with the bakeries ultimately prevailing in court.
The legal precedent set by this case has spurred a nationwide debate about religious freedom and discrimination. Some argue that businesses should have the right to refuse service to anyone whose beliefs or practices they do not agree with, while others argue that such discrimination is harmful and discriminatory. The case also highlights the importance of understanding the limits of freedom of expression and what constitutes hate speech.
The three bakeries declined to make cakes for William Jack because they objected to the anti-gay messages and imagery he had requested. While this sparked a legal battle and a larger conversation about freedom of expression and discrimination, the bakers ultimately prevailed in court.
What bakery was sued for discrimination?
In 2018, Tastries Bakery in Bakersfield, California made headlines when its owner, Cathy Miller, refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. The couple, Eileen and Mireya Rodriguez-Del Rio, filed a complaint with the state Department of Fair Housing and Employment, which subsequently sued the bakery for discrimination.
The lawsuit argued that Miller intentionally discriminates against the couple in violation of California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act, which prohibits businesses from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation among other protected groups. Miller argued that she was within her rights to refuse to make the cake on religious grounds and that her First Amendment rights were violated.
The case went to court, and in August 2019, a California Superior Court ruled in favor of the couple, stating that Miller’s actions violated the state’s anti-discrimination laws. The court ordered Tastries Bakery to pay $135,000 in damages to the couple.
The case spurred a national debate on the rights of business owners to refuse service on the basis of religious or moral objections versus the rights of same-sex couples to be treated equally under the law. It also highlighted the ongoing struggle for LGBTQ+ rights and the fight against discrimination.