Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, Case No. 16-111
ID 52610395 © Marianne Campolongo |

Amicus Brief

Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, Case No. 16-111

Amicus Brief to the Supreme Court of the United States

This case is largely controlled by Wooley v. Maynard, 430 U.S. 705 (1977). Wooley, the New Hampshire “Live Free or Die” license-plate case, makes clear that speech compulsions are as unconstitutional as speech restrictions. Wooley’s logic applies to custom wedding cakes and other types of visual art, not just verbal expression. It also applies to compulsions to create cakes and other works (including for money), not just to compulsions to display such works. Wooley should not be dismissed as easily as the Colorado Court of Appeals did below.

Wooley also provides an important—and rather obvious—limiting principle to this constitutional protection: Although wedding (and other) vendors who produce and sell expressive works must be free to accept or reject particular jobs, this right does not apply to those who do not engage in protected speech. This Court can rule in favor of Masterpiece Cakeshop on free-speech grounds without blocking the enforcement of antidiscrimination law against caterers, hotels, limousine service operators, and the like.

Wooley secures an important constitutional right to which all speakers are entitled—whether religious or secular, liberal or conservative, pro- or anti-same-sex-marriage. The decision below violates that right.