The First Amendment Anti-Discrimination Law

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A baker started his day with a prayer and a cup of coffee. He collects all the ingredients for his cake recipe when a gay couple walks in and asks for a wedding cake, completely unaware of what would come for him after this July afternoon. In Masterpiece Cakeshop Inc.

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v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the court sheds light on the tensions between the First Amendment and Anti-discrimination laws, attempting to draw the line between individual freedoms and discrimination. The outcome of this case would fuel the ongoing fight for LGBTQ rights in the United States, especially under the new administration. The Supreme Court not only decides whether the application of Colorado’s Anti-discrimination law violates Free Speech or Free Exercise Clauses, but also how to balance the conflict between religion and homosexuality in today’s society.


This paper explains the facts of the Masterpiece Cakeshop case and highlights the relevant law and decision of the Colorado Court of Appeals. The paper discusses the issues at hand and pinpoints what the Supreme Court has to decide. It will provide a detailed explanation of the rationale of the Colorado Court of Appeals and touch upon the petitioner’s argument. Through a close analysis of both sources, this paper will explore the differences of the opposing parties and reveal the strengths and weakness of their arguments. Finally, the paper will conclude by proposing that the Supreme Court should uphold the Colorado Court of Appeals judgement.

Statement of facts of the case

In Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the petitioners were Colorado Civil Rights Commission on behalf of Charlie Craig, and David Mullins and the respondents were Masterpiece Cakeshop, Inc. and Jack C. Phillips. In Lakewood, Colorado,
Craig and Mullins visited Masterpiece Cakeshop and asked Phillips to design and bake their wedding cake to celebrate their same-sex marriage. Philips politely declined and explained that he does not make wedding cakes for same-sex weddings because of his religious beliefs; however, he willingly offered to provide other baked goods as alternatives. Craig and Mullins filed discrimination charges on the basis of sexual orientation under the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act. Craig and Mullins also filed a complaint with the Office of Administrative Courts claiming that Masterpiece had discriminated against them in a public accommodation because of their sexual orientation, also in violation of the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act. The parties did not dispute any material facts and therefore filed cross-motions for summary judgement. The Colorado Court of Appeals affirmed the Commission’s decision in favor of the
respondents. Masterpiece and Phillips appealed.

Recitation of the relevant law

There are two laws relevant in this case. The First Amendment prohibits laws “abridging the freedom of speech” and prevents congress from making laws that “prohibit the free exercise of religion.” The Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA) states that it is unlawful for a 2
person to refuse,

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