Michael Beato


Unlike most cases brought before the United States Supreme Court, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission captured the nation’s attention. In this case, free speech rights were pitted against an anti-discrimination law, and religious rights were pitted against the dignity of same-sex marriage. While these constitutional doctrines might seem nuanced and obscure to most, the central issue of the case is easy to grasp: Can a baker, on free speech and free exercise grounds, refuse to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple? The Court, in a 7–2 decision, ruled solely on the free exercise claim, which, at the time, came as a surprise to most. This Comment serves a few purposes: It explains the facts of the case and the Justices’ arguments, summarizes the relevant constitutional doctrines, and provides some novel thoughts on the decision reached.