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Free speech or discrimination? U.S. Supreme Court holds wedding cake hearing

There’s no telling how the Supreme Court is leaning as Justice Anthony Kennedy with his usual swing vote gave contradictory messages once indicating refusing to bake cakes for gay couples was discriminatory and another in pointing out that the Colorado state civil rights commission did not give the baker’s religious beliefs a fair hearing. The baker Jack Phillips is contending that baking a cake for a gay couple would be a forced endorsement of their marriage and a denial of his free speech rights. (The New York Times, December 5, 2017, by Adam Liptak)

Robin Ridless in American Thinker, December 5, 2017, argues that the Colorado public accommodations law regulates speech rather than conduct. Ridlesss says that when the state regulates conduct as in the art of creating cakes, they are regulating protected expression.

Louise Melling in the Los Angeles Times, December 4, 2017, argues that the case is not about the First Amendment or freedom of religion but is simply a case of discrimination against gays. She contends that the key issue is whether discrimination if a constitutional right. “…Colorado’s anti-discrimination law pertains to the refusal of service, not the artistry of cakes,” writes Melling.  “It does not tell the bakery how to design its baked goods. It does not compel the bakery or any other business that opens its doors to the public to make a particular product at all. It simply requires that, once a business open to the public chooses to offer a product or service, it cannot refuse to sell that product or service to a customer based on identity.”

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