Masterpiece Case Overview
In June 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The case involved a business—one that is open to the public—that refused to sell a cake to a couple for their wedding reception because they are gay. The central question in the case was whether laws against discrimination can continue to be enforced without sweeping exemption.
But the 2018 ruling did not definitely resolve this question. Rather, the Court’s ruling was narrow and reversed the original ruling by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, in which the bakery was fined for violating the state’s nondiscrimination law. Why? Because the Supreme Court concluded that the commission had not acted impartially when originally considering the case. However, the court also left Colorado’s nondiscrimination law intact—meaning that such anti-LGBT discrimination remains unlawful in Colorado and in other states with similar laws.
The Court’s ruling also made clear the importance of nondiscrimination laws and the need to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people from discrimination.
Originally, the Open to All campaign was formed to raise awareness about the potential harms of the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, which could have opened the door to much wider ranging forms of discrimination—and could have created a license to discriminate not just against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people—but also against people of color, interracial couples, women, religious minorities, and others. Cases like Masterpiece, involving businesses that refuse to serve customers in violation of state nondiscrimination laws, could still drastically alter the landscape of nondiscrimination laws in the United States.
The laws in most states still don’t explicitly protect LGBT people from discrimination—and discrimination based on race, ethnicity, national origin sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, religion and disability still happens far too often. See below for more resources and information about the Masterpiece Cakeshop case and then take action to raise your voice in support of nondiscrimination laws for all people in the United States.
Archived Masterpiece Content
“We Don’t Serve Your Kind Here”
Will We Go Back?
To learn more about this ad read “50 Years Ago vs. Today: Piggie Park & The High Stakes of the Masterpiece Cakeshop Case”
To learn more about this ad, read: “Funeral Home”: The High Stakes of the Masterpiece Cakeshop Case
MAP Video: Understanding Masterpiece Cakeshop vs. Colorado Civil Rights Commission
The Anti-LGBTQ Consequences of 'Masterpiece Cakeshop' Case (Freedom for All Americans)
Turned Away (ACLU)
Masterpiece Cakeshop Case: What You Need to Know (ACLU)
What’s at Stake in Masterpiece Cakeshop
(Center for American Progress)
Jimmy Kimmel Demonstrates Why Denying Gay Couples Wedding Cakes is Wrong
Amicus briefs (or friend-of-the-court briefs) are legal documents filed with the court that provide important information about a particular case.
In the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, 45 amicus briefs were filed to defend our nation’s nondiscrimination laws by a wide array of civil rights leaders, LGBT and allied organizations, leading businesses, and more, including: