Many legal scholars have been expecting the Court to answer the question of whether the Constitution provides a right to discriminate in places of public accommodation, which includes businesses that are open to the public, such as Masterpiece Cakeshop. However, the Court took a much narrower approach and ruled that the Colorado Commission’s application of its Anti-Discrimination Act resulted in unfair treatment of the owner’s genuine religious beliefs. The Supreme Court noted that state actors must not show hostility toward religious views, but give “neutral and respectful consideration.”
The decision does not resolve a similar and highly publicized Oregon case involving the former owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa. The broader questions relating to when religious freedom trumps public accommodation law, and vice versa, will, for now, be decided at the state level.
For questions related to First Amendment or public accommodation rights, contact Donovan Bonner at email@example.com or (503) 276-2175.
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