SCOTUS 2018 pp 61-73 | Cite as

Masterpiece Cakeshop on Gay Rights Versus Religious Liberty

  • Stephen M. Engel


This landmark ruling addresses the competing claims of gay rights and religious liberty. The Colorado cake case illustrates the limits to the doctrine of dignity championed by Justice Kennedy and the growing focus of the Court on the protection of religious expression. The crux of the Masterpiece Cakeshop dispute is that the Equal Protection Clause applies to government action alone; the Constitution contains no explicit guarantee that citizens must treat each other equally or without discrimination, especially when they have an explicit rights of freedom of religion justifying their actions. However, the ruling does not address this core debate, but instead focuses on the actions of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission in disparaging the religious beliefs of the baker. Because the state government was not a neutral arbiter of the competing claims, seven Justices ruled that the government’s actions against the baker could not stand.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen M. Engel
    • 1
  1. 1.Bates CollegeLewistonUSA

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