Transcript Released From Masterpiece Oral Arguments

This morning the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop Vs Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a case which has the potential to upend decades of public accommodation laws that offer business discrimination protections to numerous classes of American citizens.

As noted in my earlier posts about today’s proceedings, all eyes will be on Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose questions spurred hope and alarm to those on both sides of the issue. Several pro-LGBT observers left the courtroom today glumly predicting a 5-4 ruling in favor of anti-gay baker Jack Phillips. Others are somewhat more optimistic.

This afternoon the Court released its 100-page transcript of the oral arguments. Scan through the exchanges yourself and let us know your take.

  • Professor Barnhardt
    • Tawreos

      I guess we know how the person in charge of the blog thinks the case will go.

      • Daveed_WOW

        Based on the picture? You lost me.

        • Tawreos

          All the cakes, but not a gay symbol in sight

          • Michael C

            I think the fact that no customers have requested any “gay symbols” on cakes make the illustration fitting.

            Can you guess which of the above cakes is gay?

          • Tawreos

            The one that falls in love with the same type of cake?

          • Christopher

            Imagine the outcry if said cake fell in love with ice cream! Oh, the horror!

            “It’s melting together! This is obscene!”

          • netxtown

            fer gawds sake! the pink one! it HAS to be the pink one! Gays can’t be anything other than pink. It’s just not normal….

          • glass

            All of them! All cakes are gay, hence the baker loses his court case. Love wins!

          • Mikey

            I didn’t have any specifically “gay” symbols on my wedding cake either. it looked just like all the other wedding cakes the wonderful bakers who made it have in their display catalogue.

            To me it looks like “a cake is a cake is a cake”.

          • Tawreos

            I think gay symbols on the wedding cake would be a bit tacky. If they haven’t figured out what is going on when there are two grooms or two brides they are never going to figure it out

          • Mikey

            grandma: “So which one is the bride again? I can’t see from here. Why are we sitting in the back row? She wore a black suit, just like him? I don’t get it. Bingo starts at 4, we’re going to be home in time, right? I’m cold.”

          • Bj Lincoln

            My son ordered the cake for ours and it had Pagan symbols on it. Nothing ‘gay’.

          • Mikey

            I do hope it had a few pentagrams?

            If I’d let my husband choose our wedding cake all by his lonesome, it would have had fake baby bones strewn around it, icing that looked like congealed blood and guts, and claw marks on it.

          • Daveed_WOW

            That’s kind of a stretch.

      • Professor Barnhardt

        Gee, it’s just a banner. It went up hours ago, I suppose. I didn’t look for a time stamp, but it was probably posted hours before the hearings.

        Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

        • Michael C

          Are you sure it’s not a pipe?

          • Mikey

            well, in French that’s a blowjob 😉

          • Tawreos

            Did it suddenly get warm in here or is it just me =)

          • Professor Barnhardt

            Ceci n’est pas une pipe.

      • Nic Peterson

        The cakes! Of course! The cakes will win, and in doing so become protected speech. Talk about having your cake…

        Drops mic…

    • Bryan

      Fan of Thiebaud?

  • AmeriCanadian

    In reading it so far, Kagan absolutely destroys Waggoner.

    • Nic Peterson

      Will facts matter to Alito?

      • pch1013

        or Gorsuch or Thomas or Roberts?

      • The_Wretched

        Alito is allergic to reality. Trained monkeys would be more skilled as jurists.

      • Mark

        No

      • John30013

        We already know we’re probably not going to get Roberts, Thomas, Alito or Gorsuch (although based on Scalia’s prior opinion privileging otherwise neutral laws over individuals’ religious beliefs, it would be interesting to consider how he would have voted). And we also know we’ll most likely get Breyer, Ginsburg, Kagen, and Sotomayor. So the only question is how Kennedy will vote.

  • The Sentinel

    Its disgusting that the hate group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADL)’s sickening history of anti-gay bigotry was not made known to the court. https://www.thenation.com/article/the-christian-legal-army-behind-masterpiece-cakeshop/

    • Daveed_WOW

      Unfortunately, I doubt it is relevant. And also well known to everyone on the court.

      • pch1013

        Only 4 or 5 of whom care anyway.

    • Tawreos

      They should be impartial. I would not want to see the asshole baker lose his case because the justices did not like his lawyers, I want to see him lose because his arguments are shit.

      • Robert K Wright

        I don’t care how he loses, as long as he loses.

    • John30013

      No doubt it was via amicus briefs.

    • DN

      ADF is the kind of organization that makes us out to be monsters at every opportunity. So I’m going to respond to that declaration of war by reminding everyone that an ADF attorney made CHILD PORN. But it’s worse than that. It was of HER OWN DAUGHTER.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lisa_Biron

  • JoeMyGod
  • JoeMyGod
    • I would agree that if you are asking for a custom design, anyone has a right to say no. Mostly that would be “we don’t have equipment here to do more than five layers” or whatever. (Don’t flame me. I know nothing about baking, but you get my point.) But that’s NOT the issue here. It’s the customer they object to, not the design. There’s no way to vote in favor of the baker without doing harm to public accommodations laws and I think that’s exactly what the right is hoping to do with this.

      • Tawreos

        I’d say it more like what they are hoping to do,

      • David Walker

        I tend to agree. The cake guy wins, he and his can legally discriminate. What motivation, then, does Pennsylvania and the other states that offer us no civil rights protections to pass such protections? Or even debate them?

        • JIM W

          the cake guy will get away with it, even if the SCOTUS goes against him. All he has to do is take the order, call the couple a few weeks before the wedding and say, I’m so sorry, but we’ve had problems here at the bakery and are unable to fill you order. We’re mailing you check back to you. Ha! Ha!

          • John30013

            Well that’s certainly a valid point. There are all kinds of reasons a cake artist baker could give to avoid serving customers he doesn’t want to serve: he’s too busy, or he’s got a vacation planned, etc.

          • Snarkaholic

            We learned that in culinary school. If you’re a caterer (for example) and you don’t want to cater a certain event (because you desperately need a day off, the clients are known bullies/cheapskates, etc.), all you have to do is apologize pleasantly and tell them you already have two other parties lined up for that day – which is the max. you can do on any given day.

          • glass

            Only a smart person would do that. The jesus freaks want you to know that they hate you, will not serve you, and you must burn in hell. They cannot shut up about it, they are compelled to tell you that shit.

          • ColdCountry

            And that’s it, right there. They could have made up an excuse, but they just had to preach at the couple.

      • JAKvirginia

        And so we arrive at that unjustifiable and uncomfortable place whose origins can be traced to the unwarranted reverence placed on a child’s crayon scribbling as “art”. Creativity is not artistry. The terms have become severely muddled over the years. Make the damn cake, buttercream boy!

        • vorpal

          By their logic, drunkenly peeing your initials in freshly fallen snow is an act of artistic expression.

          • Xiao Ai: The Social Gadfly

            Have you been pee-king?

          • ColdCountry

            Only if you draw one of those christian fishes after it.

        • Steverino

          The fact that they are framing their legal argument in these terms signals to me they know their fundamental argument is weak, so they came up with this spurious diversion.

          You know, just like Trump’s lawyers are doing with what in his predicament is clearly obstruction of justice.

        • Menergy

          craftsmanship is more like it, or talent in cooking, IMO. Icing, whipped cream, layers out of cake pans assembled and pretty, maybe a rosette in icing, and perhaps mass- produced little toy human figures stuck on top from the many kept on the shelves back in the storeroom, or left off from the design…. But that’s hardly some heretical blasphemous product there in the chill case, it’s a nice cake at best, the “creation” soon to be a mess of crumbs and smears of icing and whipped cream.

          No, this is pure discrimination/anger against those who are not heterosexual (or back not long ago who were a different age, race, color, religion, national origin, or physical ability — now those prior classes are protected by law under a few words in law of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. We need to get that act amended and updated to include a few more classes of equal human beings in this country, to include gender identity and sexual orientation in the language of the Act.

          • Snarkaholic

            Agreed. Icing flowers are easy to make (Wilton has sold millions of rose nails).

      • vorpal

        Exactly. If they would make product A / offer service B for one group of people but not for another group of people, this is pretty much the definition of discrimination.

        If they wouldn’t make product A / offer service B for anyone, then it isn’t.

        I’m still cringing from the idiotic nonsense that a cake is a “blank canvas.”

        • nocadrummer

          If I do it without compensation, then I can discriminate.
          However, if I’m paid to make product A / offer service B, discrimination is against the law.
          It’s pretty simple. I don’t have to invite everyone to my party, or let them in, if I’m throwing it on my own money. But if I charge for them to attend, then I can’t discriminate.

          • JIM W

            What about clubs that have a rope line at the entrance. The “beautiful people” get past the burly guys and those of us who look less than “beautiful” or aren’t wearing the right clothes can stand there all night. Is this discrimination?

          • Professor Barnhardt

            What? People “who look less than ‘beautiful’ or aren’t wearing the right clothes can stand there all night”?

            I did not know that.

          • Annerdr

            I don’t know that there’s a rule blocking discrimination on the basis of looks. There is a rule about discrimination on the basis of race, religion, and sex, among other things. According to other, prior rules, this is a violation of the law against discrimination based on gender/sex.

          • ColdCountry

            Yes, but appearance isn’t a protected class.

          • Matt Rogers

            As I understand it, private clubs are exempt from nondiscrimination laws. Remember the prestigious, private golf club that wouldn’t admit women for years? A woman sued them unsuccessfully, but later, they changed of their own accord. Bakeries are not private clubs, so they’re subject to nondiscrimination laws.

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        • Kenster999

          Aren’t *all* cakes blank canvases before they’re decorated?

        • Annerdr

          Maybe she meant a “baked canvas.”

        • Amanda B. Rekendwith

          I’m still cringing from the idiotic nonsense that a cake is a “blank canvas.”
          I have decided to christen this cake “The Blank Canvas”, and I like to make it most for raging homophobes.
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9b7e8c1b801049c415a3d26e7dda040bac6982ce8e613de8ef75667f486c0c5e.jpg

      • The_Wretched

        The legal context matters here as well. the courts have consistently held that a business can be compelled to provide regular in the art goods and services to all paying customers regardless of some status of the customer. Only objects and services that require special skill or performance (not just ‘custom’, art) and are being bough on that basis can be denied to a customer.

        How do you know if something is special? There’s things like a wait list for them, the object cannot by copied by just anyone in the business, the object is displayed rather than used etc.

        Even a custom design is not per-se special. Tattoo artists regularly have both stock designs and charge more for ‘custom’ work. If that ‘custom work’ is easily copied by any one who does tattoo, it’s not ‘special’. Custom includes things like unusual colors or just anything that’s not ‘off the shelf’. That doesn’t imply the special skill or quality element that the law has respected continuously in the US.

      • Strepsi

        Their long game is to roll back the Civil Rights Act.

    • Yalma Cuder-Zicci

      Mr. Phillips is not “painting on a blank canvas”. Don’t wedding cake customers point to a photo of a design to select what they want? In this case the artistic expression was already done in creating the prototype in the photo. Once a cake is ordered, they simply follow the pattern already established. More craft than art.

      • AJD

        Exactly. And it’s been pointed out that there was no discussion between Philips and the couple as to the actual design.

        • Menergy

          Seems that’s the crux — “I won’t do business with ‘your type'”

        • Menergy

          Seems that’s the crux — “I won’t do business with ‘your type'”

          • John30013

            Well, Mr Philips has stated that he only objects to providing a wedding cake that he has to “create”. Although this might be “retconning”, Mr. Philips has claimed (more recently, although he did not offer this option at the time) that he would sell them a cake off the shelf (i.e., one that was already made, though who’d want that for their wedding?), and that he would sell them a cake (even a custom one) for an event other than one related to their wedding.

            Still, he’s discriminating against the gay couple in the provision of a service that he would gladly provide to a non-gay couple.

        • Snarkaholic

          True…he claims he’d sell gay people a birthday cake*, cookies, etc., so he had no idea what kind of item(s) they wanted.
          *If he doesn’t want to ‘celebrate’ gays getting married, why would he want to ‘celebrate’ their birthdays???

    • glass

      I would highly recommend that everyone read the pdf posted above in the article. I cannot see the baker winning this.

      • John30013

        Going only by the oral arguments, I reluctantly have to conclude that the baker’s side made the more compelling arguments. However, the oral argument is not typically the primary deciding factor in SCOTUS cases, and this one failed to cover (or only glanced at) several important points.

        One such point is that, while there are usually many service providers in large metropolitan areas–and presumably a same-sex couple could find at least one who would serve them–that situation is not a given in less populous areas. In the latter case, even the lawyers supporting the baker agreed that the law would be on the side of the same-sex couple. But that doesn’t seem to be a baby the court can split (i.e., that cake bakers in large metropolitan areas have stronger 1st Amendment rights than cake bakers in less populous areas).

        If SCOTUS applies the Hobby Lobby logic (which certainly seems applicable), then they could conclude that small, family-owned businesses (like Masterpiece Cakes) can indeed engage in religiously-motivated discrimination. (However, I’m not sure that precedent applies, since Hobby Lobby was about provision of services to its employees, not to customers. But it seems only a short step to apply the same reasoning to customers.)

        I don’t know how to resolve this case in a way that protects both parties’ rights–and I don’t think any of the parties arguing in this case do, either. SCOTUS will just have to decide whether one person’s sincerely held religious beliefs are more important than the State’s interest in protecting certain classes of people against discrimination in the public sphere.

        • DN

          Good points. What annoys me is that the court determined in 1990 that private religious belief is not a valid reason for breaking the law. I just wish that they would see this the same way.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Employment_Division_v._Smith

          • John30013

            I’m hoping they will. I don’t see how they can rule otherwise without drilling a great big gaping loophole in just about every law on the books.

  • The Sentinel

    “It’s not just Masterpiece Cakeshop: Alliance Defending Freedom is attacking nearly every aspect of LGBTQ equality”: https://www.mediamatters.org/research/2017/12/04/its-not-just-masterpiece-cakeshop-alliance-defending-freedom-attacking-nearly-every-aspect-lgbtq/218716

    • Tawreos

      Attacking gays is their bread and butter.

      • Steverino

        Frosting on their cake.

        • AaronD12

          The creme filling in their Twinkie. /ducks

    • vorpal

      Their original acronym was a bit more honest, but not so catchy.
      ADF: Assholes Debasing Faggots.

    • Brian

      Alliance Defending Freedom is the most inaccurate name. They seek to be free to make gays second class citizens….it’s their goal. Freedom to discriminate is what they want.

    • Ninja0980

      Yup and if they win here, they’ll use it to attack our rights even more.

      • Snarkaholic

        Absolutely. This would set a dangerous precedent.
        “He doesn’t want to deal with gay people; it goes against his religion…so why should he have to bake them a cake?
        I, a haberdasher, don’t want to deal with gay people; it goes against my religion…so why should I have to sell them socks?”

        • DN

          “ADF has convinced me that gays are a menace to society; I, as a first responder, don’t want to have to deal with gay people, and it goes against my religion. Why should I perform CPR on that person? Why should I put out that person’s burning house?”

          Truly scary shit.

  • leastyebejudged

    Has the baker ever even won any kind of recognition or award for his “art” ?

    So many ways to destroy an argument.

  • Harley

    Well I guess I’ll be seeing those Jim Crow laws sprouting up again. I’m a nurse so I guess I’ll be able to refuse to nurse any bigoted christianists since there won’t be any protected classes anymore. They can pray for health.

    • leastyebejudged

      It doesn’t work that way, these laws are designed and maintained to support the criminal white straight baptist class in power.

      • Harley

        So Apartheid then. Sad.

        • Todd20036

          I blocked that troll long ago. I remember why

          • leastyebejudged

            Because you lack intelligence, integrity, and the capacity to have a discussion ?

            Clearly you’re a stupid twat.

    • Robert K Wright

      Except religious people are covered by existing non-discrimination laws, recognized and upheld by the Court. What WOULD be interesting is a case of one religion against another religion.

      • Tawreos

        Atheism is a religion when it comes to discrimination laws, or was the last I checked.

        • What is the “test” for an American’s religion or sexual-orientation, other than self-identifying?

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        • Robert K Wright

          Atheism isn’t considered a religion, but yes, atheism is covered by the RFRA HR 1150, which states : “The freedom of thought, conscience, and religion is understood to protect theistic and non-theistic beliefs and the right not to profess or practice any religion.”. But nowhere, in the law, is atheism classified as a religion. And our Federal anti-discrimination laws cover freedom of, and freedom from religion. Being covered by these statutes under “religious freedoms” doesn’t mean they classify it as a religion. The only folks I’ve heard call atheism a religion are those in opposition to them, and criticizing them. (Not saying you are that person, I don’t know what you believe).

          • Tawreos

            I have seen a few court cases where it is regarded as a religion if only to avoid having confusing language in the decision. It is tough for courts to talk about since the water is already muddied by religious charlatans that call it whatever will best help their current strawman argument.

      • Ragnar Lothbrok

        My gayism is my religion.
        I am devout !

        • nocadrummer

          Like so many, on one’s knees at least once a week, or screaming “Oh God! Oh God! Oh God!!!” 😉

        • shivadog

          I’m seriously starting to think that making gay a religion might be the only way to get equal rights.

    • Steverino

      Just offer them your thoughts and prayers.

  • Do Something Nice

    Regardless of the speculation, I think we will win this one. Kennedy was posturing to lessen the blow of his siding with us.

    To create an exception for a bakery, or more specifically, for those who make cakes is something that I don’t see SCOTUS doing.

    Relax until we have a ruling. If it goes against us, we can create a ‘registry’ of hater cake shops and start the mother of all boycotts.

    • leastyebejudged

      We should already have this though, we should not be spending ANY money with enemies.

      • Do Something Nice

        Sorry, but sadly, just as blacks have always had to continue to work their rights, our work for our rights will never be finished. But it usually gets better each year, with the occasional setback.

      • Robert K Wright

        And in the future we probably won’t be, but until the issue is resolved, we get cakes everywhere to show we won’t be bullied into submission…

  • leastyebejudged

    Squeezing frosting out of a tube isn’t “art”, but it sure would be HILARIOUS if the court ruled that it is !

    • I squeeze frosting out of a tube daily. Sometimes more often.

      Oh. Like none of ya’ll thought of this either…….

      • vorpal

        Do you offer art classes?

  • netxtown

    I was wondering – isn’t it about time us gays ditch the ‘wedding cake’ and come up with something better? Personally, I fail to see any significance in a fucking cake. – regardless of its 13 layers…

    • HomerTh

      The cake is the only part of a wedding that I like. When friends get married, I have offered to buy their wedding cake for them. Years later, they remember that, not who bought them a donut maker or an electric knife.

      • Bj Lincoln

        You are correct. My son offered to take care of the cake. It was a relief to check that off the list and budget plus it was a nice surprise. He thought about it and came up with the design then gave all the information to the baker. It was beautiful and full of Pagan symbols.

        • Tawreos

          Pagan symbols? You know you made baby Jesus cry right? Good job! =)

          • Lumpy Gaga

            Crying baby jesus == perfect gay wedding cake decoration.

            (Il est nee le devin fondant)

          • SkokieGuy [ChicagoAdjacentGuy]

            Not as the ice sculpture crying champagne tears? That’s passe now?

    • Daveed_WOW

      It’s not about a cake

    • Daveed_WOW

      It also wasn’t about a seat on the bus

      • The_Wretched

        bingo

    • leastyebejudged

      Nobody’s making you eat cake.

      • netxtown

        i’m waiting for donnie to declare he is a cake artist – and we must eat cake….

    • Todd20036

      It’s not about the cake.
      It’s not about the drinking fountain.
      It’s not about the lunch counter.
      It’s not about the bathroom.
      It’s not about protecting children.

      It’s about legalizing discrimination. Figure it out.

      • netxtown

        I know that silly boy. So – why engage their stupidity? Some of them will see our way – but there will be those that will hate forever. I got no time for them.

        • Todd20036

          You’ll have to make time if SCOTUS rules against us

          • netxtown

            If they rule against us – it’s one more reason to get the fuck out. Donnie has trashed this party – and I’m not in the mood to dance anymore.

            I refuse to live in my birth state (Kansas) as it is a backasswards, ass sucking shithole of a cesspool. The US is turning into a bigger Kansas.

          • Todd20036

            I agree. If we lose this case, people will be able to attack us and claim religious liberty. It’s happened to Jews in Germany.

            Didn’t end so well for them

    • vorpal

      While I agree that wedding cakes are kind of stupid – paying a fortune for a baked good that usually is mediocre and mostly for show – and I didn’t have one at my wedding, this argument seems dangerously like it could descend into, “Isn’t it time for us gays to ditch the concept of marriage and come up with something better?”

      • Treant

        Warranted, if people want to do that, I think it’s great. I just prefer to be married. 🙂

      • netxtown

        yes, there are some who would do that.

      • Lumpy Gaga

        That is soooo 1993.

      • That never went anywhere for a very good reason: as the Mass. Supreme Court pointed out in Goodrich, the word itself carries a social and cultural weight that no other designation can match. It has thousands of years of history behind it, and as Joseph W. Campbell pointed out, marriage is a life-stage event, equivalent to
        birth and adulthood rites.

        Does anyone really think they can come up with something better?

    • The_Wretched

      ‘Wedding cake’ is only the case before the court. The Beck Fund for Religious Hegemony lost on Obergefell – “gay marriage”. In responce, they farmed up plaintiffs in every State in every business that’s associated with marriage – bakers, flortists, catering, bed and breakfasts etc. They told those people to deny gay couples services and goods. The message is clear, even if you can get married you can’t get all same marriage het couples can.

      The cake is a stand-in for the rest of that.

    • stuckinthewoods

      People are replying to your comment as though you were talking about the politics. Although the tradition of cake at weddings is centuries old I’d prefer multiple pies. As a former baker (blue ribbons in state fair, etc) I think large cakes fail to satisfy because they must be made too far in advance and the emphasis is on decoration rather than taste. I know wedding cake is a stage prop but for us, “Let them eat pie.”

      • I was going to say that there is no particular significance to the cake, but you did it much better.

  • Dana Chilton

    Likely 5-4 with Kennedy giving the same speech he gave in hobby lobby, namely that we all just “need to get along” and the warnings from his progressive colleagues are overblown. Look at all his other “religious freedom” decision and you’ll see a pattern.. he believes government must accommodate religion in almost all cases. Hobby lobby was based on RFRA but he would have been open to deciding it on first amendement grounds. He doesn’t care much if private citizens discriminate against is. He only cares about the powers of the government. He will give lip service, as will the Chief Justice, to how terrible discrimination is and how gays will use public debates to win their acceptance but will side with the religious couple because it’s what he feels is government overreach. “Can the government force you to eat broccoli”? No.. and neither, he will argue, can it compel you to bake a cake.

    • BobSF_94117

      Hobby Lobby was based on a profoundly dishonest reading of the innocuous law that explains when “person” also means “company” as applied to RFRA.

      • Dana Chilton

        Absolutely and Kennedy rationalized his decision by minimizing its effects; just asking us all to go along with it. Citizens United was also based on spurious readings but it affected an outcome the conservative anti government justice wanted

      • jerry

        I thought it was an extension of “Citizens United”…that corporations are people and have 1st Amendment rights.

        • BobSF_94117

          It’s long been recognized that people and businesses share some rights. There’s a simple law in U.S. code that says that “person” can mean businesses and organizations. SCOTUS took RFRA, a law laden with the words “person” and “persons” in context that absolutely can only mean human beings and, because of the simple law, ignored the context and said all of RFRA applied to businesses. They never explained how a business is going to attend a house of worship. I guess they don’t have to. They’re SCOTUS.

    • Daveed_WOW

      Of course, they are not being compelled to bake a cake. They are being compelled to not illegally discriminate against their customers.

      • Dana Chilton

        A baker who refuses to bake the cake will be fined (punished) by the government. A person who refused to buy health insurance is fined (punished) by the government. He sees both as government compelling action

        • canoebum

          No one compelled Phillips to go into the cake business. That was his choice. He started a business with full knowledge of the laws that govern businesses in his state. He agreed to abide by those laws when he paid for his business license. Baking cakes for the public was his choice. No one made him do it.

          • Dana Chilton

            I agree but I think Kennedy would say that he has the liberty to make that choice without government censorship

        • Daveed_WOW

          I’d tell him to put on his big boy pants

    • tristram

      Good analysis – which makes me wonder why our legal gurus pushed these cases in an unsettled political environment and with a very tenuous advantage in SCOTUS. It looks like the bad guys pulled a bit of jiu jitsu and, having weaponized the case to win votes and possibly elect a president, have a good chance of using it to roll back a broad range of civil rights protections. Even if this case is decided on narrow grounds, it will inspire a barrage of cases that will find a warm reception in the Trump-fashioned Federal court system that will prevail for decades to come.

      • Jim Maloney

        The religious business owners have been pushing their cases.

        • tristram

          I gotta think that when they walked in the door these guys knew the response they were gonna get.

          • Jim Maloney

            I wonder how they would’ve known that by entering the cake shop? What would be the giveaway?

      • fuow

        It was pushed because every single time someone like me said: Folks, we have to GET OUT AND VOTE, we have to focus on not coming across as being assholes, we were told we were sold outs, Quislings, not truely gay, etc.
        This is what comes of all the: We have our rights, now, they can’t be taken away bullshit.

        • canoebum

          In 1995 I applied for a pistol permit in New York State. I wanted the pistol mainly because I had an energetic dog who accompanied me to the Big Woods and the idea of trying to hold onto him with one hand and fight off a rabid raccoon with a stick in the other hand was unappealing. But importantly, I also applied because rights are like muscles. If you don’t exercise them, they go away.

          (Btw, it took six months for my permit to be issued. It seemed like a long wait at the time, but looking back, it was no big deal).

        • Dana Chilton

          When I look back at 2016 im not as sad at the folks who voted for trump as I am at the folks who didn’t vote at all. Hillary didn’t lose because trump won more votes, he won because progressives didn’t vote.

      • Dana Chilton

        I don’t know why the gay couple chose to bring their case to the Colorado board but it was their decision. They didn’t sue though. The lawsuit came from the ADL

    • Treant

      On the up side, take advantage of this. Discriminate against a “christian.” Kennedy says it’s legal.

      • Dana Chilton

        Sounds like a good way to give them a taste of what it feels like, right? maybe then, they’ll empathize? Thing is, the courts have already ruled that the government has a compelling interest in protecting religious freedom so the parts of our non discrimination laws that forbid discrimination against a person because of their religious belief will stand. Constitutional rights (1st amendment religious right to discrimination) can be overruled by the compelling interest in protecting all religion. ADL knows that, its one reason their so keen on seeing most of our anti discrimination laws invalidated.

        • Treant

          Just tell them it’s because they’re ugly or you just don’t like them for the reason that you’re…cross. Yeah, you’re cross. Your cross. Whatever.

          • canoebum

            Torture is against my deeply held religious beliefs, as is murder. Your object of worship depicts both. I am offended by your necklace. Please leave the store at once.

      • glass

        “I don’t serve people involved in a cult.” Which you can use now.

    • The_Wretched

      Only that the ‘overblown’ parade of horribles has been happening since HL and for Citizens United and for the gutting of the VRA (Shelby County).

    • canoebum

      Hobby Lobby was also about shooting down the ACA. No Republican can resist that move. This case lacks the Obamaphobia factor, so we may get a ruling similar to Obergefell.

    • Steverino

      Good observation re: Kennedy’s accommodation to religious liberty and government overreach, and we’ll find out if his philosophy in these matters are factored into his opinion. However in this case, the analogy is not a matter of “the government forc(ing) you to eat broccoli,” but rather a matter of the government forcing you not to refuse service to a broccoli eater. The refusal to serve broccoli because of your personal distaste for the vegetable, and your disgust that anybody would like it, thus refusing to serve it, is irrelevant. What is relevant is the refusal of service to people who do not share your opinion.

      Religious freedom means if you think same-sex marriage is wrong, then the government can’t compel you to marry only somebody of your own sex. It also means you have every right to preach that belief, and even to shun people in private in your home and church who are in same-sex marriages. However, in the context of your business which is licensed to be open to the public and abide by anti-discrimination laws, that does not mean you have a right to impose your religious beliefs upon married gay couples (or anybody who doesn’t follow your religious beliefs) by refusing service to them.

      • Menergy

        it seems so simple, doesn’t it? Shut your mouth, Mr/Ms shopkeeper, and make the product you sell all the time (regardless of previous marriages/divorces and other proscribed or adulterous behaviors in your Big Book

      • Dana Chilton

        Thanks for that reasonable analysis. Kennedy has never been a champion of anti discrimination statutory laws. He based our gay rights decisions on constitutional protections. In this case he expressed his displeasure with how the government ignored the bakers constitutional religious rights. His lawyers also astutely argued that their clients dignity (see Obergefell) was being abridged by the government. The gay couple says the baker took away their dignity. Kennedy only cares about what the government does.

  • leastyebejudged

    I can’t wait for the court to rule in his favor, I’m going RIGHT down to City Hall to change my business license to have the word “Masterpiece” in it !

  • j.martindale

    Everyone needs to take a very deep breath and remember that not a lot of weight should be given to oral arguments. And remember that Justice Kennedy has come around to our side in the past when it counts. I will be happy to join the gnashing of teeth crowd if it turns out I am wrong.

  • The_Wretched

    The framing on this case is all wrong. The ‘baker’ all but threw out the gay couple once he figured out they were gay (by looking at them and listening to them talk). That’s not a denial of cake, that’s kicking out customers merely for being gay.

    How is that religion and not just plain bigotry? And yet the questions didn’t seem to come from that basic understanding. Instead, the frame was the right wing religious one.

    • Sálmur

      Exactly.

  • TimCA

    I posted this earlier elsewhere but will repost it here again.

    Jack Phillips said from outside the court today that “it was never about the cake but the message”. But from this article published a few years ago, he had no problem creating a custom cake for a ‘dog wedding’. Essentially, Jack Phillips will serve dogs but not gay men and women.

    From the Atlantic, June 2013:
    https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/06/colorado-bakery-civil-unions/314490/

    • Gianni

      The Bible, God’s Holy Word, probably approves of dogs.

      • TimCA

        The message doesn’t prevent Mr Phillips from providing the cake. It’s his animus.

  • Leo

    So hypothetical of Kennedy ruling for the baker…I’m tired of feeling tired, so I’ll just lol picturing the majority of my gay friends who don’t take NO shit and will make PR/social media hell for a business owner that turns them away, marriage cakes aside. They’ll literally make it their life purpose one step away from getting sued for intimidation. In the meantime, most of them will wait things out until June before making any judgment.

    • another_steve

      If we lose this case, the emphasis will need to change to making “PR/social media hell” for any bigoted businessperson who refuses to serve our community – just as you suggest, Leo.

      Bigots are amoral. If they had any sense of morality, they wouldn’t be bigots in the first place.

      If they have to choose between “religious liberty” and the almighty dollar bill, they’ll choose the latter.

      • Todd20036

        If we lose the case, discrimination becomes legal. The last time discrimination was legal was in Nazi Germany.

        If we lose this case, there’s a LOT more at stake than a few businesses not serving us.

        There will be pograms. People will feel our existence is an affront to their religion.

        It’s not such a large step.

        If we lose this case, we will have to run

        • another_steve

          Oh stop it! You queen you. You’re having a bout of the hysterics.

          If we lose and there’s rampant and widespread denial of services to queer people, we’ll use our smarts and our numbers and drive the fuckers into bankruptcy. Bigots are stupid. They’re mean, but stupid. Do smart people listen to a…say…Franklin Graham or a Tony Perkins?

          A lot of this homophobia stuff is generational in nature. The life expectancy table will take care of it. Young people today are much more interested in lattes at Starbucks than in serving the demands of some imaginary deity.

          Thirty or forty years from now, homophobia will largely be a thing of the past in the U.S.

          • DN

            Widespread? One is too many.

        • canoebum

          If we lose the case we will have to force the issue of adding the Four Words to the Civil Rights Act. That will be the way to go. We aren’t running.

  • Ragnar Lothbrok
  • boobert

    Whether the bakery wins or loses, will they be able to stay in business with just the religious nuts as customers?

    • BobSF_94117

      They experienced a surge in business when the case first started, with conservative Christians driving up from Colorado Springs to visit his shop. I don’t know if that continued. I’ve seen claims from our opponents that his business has suffered, but they lie so much, I’m inclined to believe it isn’t true.

      • Cuberly Deux

        There was an interview on MSNBC an hour ago where he said his biz has been adversely impacted. He refuses to make any wedding cakes now and he says it’s impacted his bottom line by 40%.

        That’s if I heard that correctly, I was busy working.

        • Gianni

          If that’s true, he can only blame himself. He dug that hole and happily jumped in.

          • Cuberly Deux

            But apparently when he croaks he’ll go to permanent orgasmaspirit land so I spose he’s fine with failing as a bizperson.

          • Gianni

            When you’re livin’ in the Lord and doing His work, where else ya gonna go? This cake thing can mean heaven or hell for his soul. Poor soul.

        • BobSF_94117

          Nothing I heard about his business was recent. So he may be suffering economically now. I wonder what his business partner has to say about that.

        • BobSF_94117

          His website says: ”

          Masterpiece Cakeshop is not currently accepting requests to create custom wedding cakes. Please check back in the future.”

          This furthers the lie that they were asked to make a custom cake before they threw the couple out.

        • stevenj

          Discrimination can be expensive.

  • JCF
  • Lumpy Gaga

    So, is #Masterpiece’s kitchen kosher?

  • AmeriCanadian

    I don’t know why Cole was chosen to defend the state of Colorado. His argument fell apart when the question came up about providing a cake for the KKK. He had worked so hard to claim that it was discriminatory for the baker to engage in identity-based discrimination. Then he was asked to consider a hypothetical situation in which the baker was asked to provide a cake with a red cross on it, celebrating the Red Cross organization. Later the baker is asked to provide the same cake with a red cross on it to the KKK. Cole claimed that by not providing the cake to the KKK, it is not identity-based discrimination because the KKK is not a protected class. JFC. At the beginning of the transcript I was thinking it wasn’t that bad. By the end I changed my mind. I think we are going to lose and it will be based on protected class status.

    • Steven H

      “Cole claimed that by not providing the cake to the KKK, it is not identity-based discrimination because the KKK is not a protected class.”

      Isn’t that true, though? I only know of two jurisdictions in the United States where socio-political organizations are a protected class: Seattle and Washington, D.C.

      • AmeriCanadian

        LGBT are not a protected class either. He just handed Phillips the win.

        • Steven H

          We are a protected class in Colorado.

          • AmeriCanadian

            We don’t have protected class at the federal level and this case has national implications.

          • Steven H

            Right, but this isn’t a 14th amendment equal protection case. The question was whether or not Colorado law requires the baker to make the cake for the KKK, and the answer is ‘no’

          • AmeriCanadian

            So you believe this is going to be a “narrow ruling” that only applies to Colorado?

          • Steven H

            No… probably not. The baker is arguing that his 1st Amendment rights are being violated by the Colorado law. Any ruling that the baking a cake is a protected by the 1st Amendment would be bad across the board.

            I mean, Kennedy could very well issue a narrow ruling, but it probably wouldn’t be about the Colorado law itself (except maybe for the commission’s application of it)

          • Steven H

            (And to be clear: I’m not saying that Cole did a great job… just that his particular response is true as it relates to Colorado law)

          • AmeriCanadian

            Thanks for the explanation.

          • Lumpy Gaga

            Did not know that. Scotus should have shot this down. (As in, not heard it in the first place.)

        • stevenj

          LG(B)(T) are a protected class in 19 states. (B) and (T) in less than that.

          https://www.hrc.org/state-maps

    • “Cole claimed that by not providing the cake to the KKK, it is not
      identity-based discrimination because the KKK is not a protected class.”

      I think a better response would have been that KKK is a membership organization and membership is not an essential component of a person’s identity in the same way that sexual orientation is. The latter is more akin to sex or race.

      It’s important to emphasize the identity issue because that is one thing that the right has consistently tried to undercut by discounting it as “same-sex attraction” and denying that sexual orientation is innate.

  • rextrek1

    America needs to GROW THE FK UP! THIS IS SO PETTY..but hey – so is RELIGION…..

    • Halou

      As long as there are religious people with money in this world there will be “Liberty Counsel” and “Alliance Defending Freedom” hunting them down to make martyrs out of them, and to suck up all that money in legal fees, because doing a proper job for a living is just too hard.

  • gaycuckhubby

    Not as terrible as I was led to believe. I’m even leaning to the possibility that Kennedy send the case back to the Colorado Commissioners with instructions to examine religious bias before ruling again.

    • JCF

      “fence the case back”

      Damn you autocorrect?

      • gaycuckhubby

        I’ve been all over the place with my autocorrect today. Lol

  • another_steve

    For anyone who knows or has read the transcript, what did the baker’s attorney say in response to, “If Christianity is contrary to my beliefs and freedom of expression, is it okay for me to deny services to Christians?”

    I assume that sort of question came up (?)

  • Tempus Fuggit

    The whole thing was a great big pretense at ignoring whether being gay
    is innate identity or chosen lifestyle. It’s a stupid question, of
    course, and it doesn’t and shouldn’t matter—skin color is innate, religion is chosen, and public-accommodation laws cover them both—but the arguments profferred were tantamount to a quarrel, once again, over whether gay people are, y’know, people entitled to equality protected by law.

  • Gustav2
  • Ranger One

    I think it is going to be unanimous against the cake-baker refusal asses. Because the justices see this as working both ways. What about the cake-baker who will not serve to heterosexuals who do not support fidelity to same-sex marriage?

    And the conservative justices do see deliberate discrimination. Justice Roberts remarked that in this record, no person was refused service, until a same-sex couple walked in the door. So the conservatives do not only distrust the record, they believe in upholding Colorado law against discrimination. So it will be unanimous, except maybe for newbie Gorsuch.

    • Halou

      That’s an optimistic assessment.

      • Ranger One

        All the justices were unhappy with the record. They all seemed to see discrimination.

    • Gigi

      I hope that I’m wrong but I don’t think it’ll go that way.

  • Dazzer

    Can I just ask a hypothetical question to which much brighter people here might know the answer:

    Q: Isn’t this a case of states’ rights – in which case, shouldn’t the more conservative judges follow Scalia’s rulings that the case should be decided by Colorado courts according to their own state laws?

    • fuow

      I’m not bright, I’m a ginger.
      However – states’ rights only apply when they are more conservative than the conservative bench of the Supremes, not when they are more liberal.
      Hope that helps.

      • Dazzer

        LOL
        Ginges be sex gods. Never let anyone tell you different!

        Yes, actually. That did explain a lot. Thank you for that.

  • Blackfork

    Does anybody not see that every time one of these cases pops up it’s always from a white Christian whining that their religious freedoms are being attacked. It’s never from a Muslim or Hindu, a black or Asian person, it’s always a white Christian. This raises alarms with me. So why are these people in the business that they’re in? Are they making cakes or are they out there just to make cakes for certain people? Do they want to make as much money as they can? Don’t they have bills they need to pay, children they need to send to school, car payments to make, a house payment to make? No they’re trying to shoot themselves in the foot by claiming something about their religion so that they don’t have to do the job that they’re in the business of doing.

    • Michael

      I think you mean “Evangelical”

    • DN

      In 2006 / 2007, a bunch of muslim cab drivers in the Minneapolis area were refusing to take fares from MSP airport. Duty-Free bags with alcohol are pretty easy to spot, and these cabbies didn’t want to take those passengers.

      Some also refused to take *blind* people with service dogs. Because religion.

      Do you remember the chorus of christians weighing in on this? Do you remember then-attorney general Alberto Gonzalez weighing in on this? Do you remember Bush’s comments on this?

      Me neither.

      http://abcnews.go.com/International/story?id=2827800

  • DN

    I realize I’m going a slight (SLIGHT) bit overboard, but the second you require me to live up to your religious values, you’re forcing me to partake in your religion.

    • (((GC)))

      So any business that’s closed on Sundays is forcing me to partake of Christianity! CHICK-FIL-A IS OPPRESSING US! 🙂
      [edit] /s

      • Dazzer

        If a shop is closed, it’s not forcing you to partake of anything.

        The shop’s closed. It’s closed to everyone.

        Even the Hadron Collider couldn’t analyse the logical hole in your argument.

      • DN

        I have to point out that Jack Phillips made no outward indication of his lack of desire to make this cake before the gentlemen entered his shop. When I walk up to a store that is closed, there are a ton of outward indications to that effect – the lights are probably off (or most of them are), and there is probably a sign saying “CLOSED.” There might also be a big security gate across the front door.

        If Jack Phillips wants to put up a sign saying, “I WILL NOT MAKE A CAKE THAT COULD EVER BE USED FOR A GAY WEDDING,” I could see that as a grudging compromise between free speech and the right to not be shit upon.

        Remember, Aaron and Melissa Klein closed their bakery before the fine was levied against them. Gay people and straight people, alike, had found out how awful their views were and decided not to give them their custom. I know this is an imperfect solution, but if we are to lose this case (and I think we are, despite our side being right), I can make peace with it as long as every business puts up a list of who they will and will not serve. It has to be in the front window, as prominent as a healthcode violation.

        • fuow

          Something along the lines of Romans 1:26-28.
          Or a pink triangle with a noose around it.
          Something tasteful and discreet to show their true ‘christian’ love of us.
          Sure, I could go for something like that.

  • Gigi

    Oral arguments? Talibangelists hate oral. LMAO!

  • Baltimatt
  • April

    Did any of the Judges ask if the business baked wedding cakes for people who were divorced?

    • Baltimatt

      I Corinthians 7:10-11

      https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+7%3A10-11&version=NIV

      10 To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. 11 But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.

      Paul is more stringent than Jesus, but says he’s speaking for the Lord.

      • edrex

        an paul get’s trotted out by xtianists all the time to defend homophobia. jesus gives them nothing.

        • Al Prazolam

          Paul’s “conversion” on the road to Damascus always seemed suspicious to me. First off, I don’t believe in visions in which Jesus appears. I think Paul had a nightmare and dreamed up the Jesus story. He misconstrued it as a vision. The same thing with Constantine.

          It’s strange how these visions never happen in the modern era. The people who claim to see or hear Jesus or someone else are probably psychotic. What’s the difference between someone who sees Jesus or Mary in a tortilla and another person who hears divine voices coming from the toilet?

  • KnownDonorDad

    I’m appalled at the thought of SCOTUS finding in favor of a cake martyr. It’s simple, and our side’s lawyers can use this gratis:

    Under Colorado law, you are providing the same good or service to all customers, regardless of orientation. This eliminates the tired arguments of “well, you can’t force Deli X to serve non-kosher food” (every customer is getting the same goods) and “you can’t force Baker Y to make a swastika-shaped cake/cake with pro-Nazi message” (the good is tied to an opinion that has nothing to do with the protected class of the customer, i.e., race, region, etc.; they don’t serve Nazi-themed cakes to anyone).

  • Jean-Marc in Canada

    I’m not optimistic.

    And as before, I will be thrilled to be proven wrong.

    FYI, the other times I said I would be thrilled to be proven wrong? Well let’s just say, I’m still not thrilled. My track record stands. Sorry.

  • Al Prazolam

    I wish this case had never come before SCOTUS. I think the baker will win on narrow grounds. But it will be a setback for gay rights. If only the gay couple had just gone to another baker.

    • stevenj

      I wish this case had never come before SCOTUS. I think the restaurant owner will win on narrow grounds. But it will be a setback for African American civil rights. If only the black couple had just gone to another restaurant.

      • fuow

        OK, fair enough. BUT – we now have the facts that an unusually large number of us and our allies (I guess, seeing as how this is my very first posting here, ever, that I should add I’m a totally gay man) STAYED HOME in November 2016. Voted ‘Green’ or wrote in Bernie.
        So, yeah – sure, fight the mother-fucking christers at every step. But, don’t make voting in a president or members of congress who actually block or chose a fair Supreme Court Justice part of that fight, oh, no.
        Look – I took an enormous amount of shit here (still do) for saying right from the beginning that these florists and bakery shop owners were plants and that this was all a set-up. That the optics made us look like bullies. That we shouldn’t fall for it.
        And what happened?
        We fell for it, hook, line and sinker.

      • Al Prazolam

        I get what you’re saying. I meant that in the current climate, with the court stacked the way it is, the timing is not good. If Bush had not won in 2000, and Roberts and Alito had not been appointed, the case would certainly come out in our favor.

        • glass

          Read the transcript, I don’t expect the baker to win.

          • DN

            I hope you’re right.

  • Steverino

    If baking a wedding cake for a gay couple is endorsing homosexuality, then voting for Roy Moore is endorsing pedophilia.

  • Sean

    Again nobody asks or answers the question, can a gay baker refuse to bake a wedding cake for a anti-gay couple, Christian or otherwise. They dance around it by bringing up race or faith but never that exact question. I for one will refuse to sell my designs to anti-gay chrISIStian bigots & I don’t care that the law says I can’t. If scotus says the can refuse to sell to me, then I can refuse to sell to them. That’s equality.

    • SinfulJosh

      The bakers legal team will say yes, gay bakers can refuse to make cakes for straight weddings. And depending on the state, the baker would be legally in the wrong as is this baker.

      If the only factor that is different between the wedding cakes being made are the names on the cake or the people sitting on the top of the cake, than that is discrimination.

      To say, I make wedding cakes, but not “insert group of people” wedding cakes, that is wrong.

      also for those that want to use the argument about making a gay bakery make a swastika or klan rally cake, does not work. If the bakery doesnt make cakes for hate or violent groups then that means all hate or violent groups. unless you are saying that gays are equal to hateful or violent groups like the klan. then you still fail that argument.

  • Puck

    Oral!

    I figure the courts will kick this back to a lower court because the artist didn’t get a fair trail because the DA or whoever it was said using religion as a cover for discrimination is disgusting.

  • ColdCountry

    Wouldn’t it be fun if some business like, say, Apple – or even the corner bar – decided that it would not sell products to Republicans. Political affiliation is not a protected class, so why not? I know it won’t happen, but I can dream.

  • Jim in MN

    Its an accommodation no different than ordering a burger from a burger joint. It might looks AMAZING but it is gone with x-number of minutes. Its not “art” that is meant to last, therefore being a “cake artist” is absolutely an accommodation and deserves the protection of every other public accommodation that every American is entitled to. No matter how they put it, allowing this a pass as “freedom of speech” or “religion” is ludicrous and will have a domino effect on other public accommodations. Muslim? No room at the inn here in Odessa, Texas.