Opinion: The wedding cake case will have far reaching impact beyond bakers and weddings
EDITOR'S NOTE: Boris Epshteyn formerly served as a Senior Advisor to the Trump Campaign and served in the White House as Special Assistant to The President and Assistant Communications Director for Surrogate Operations.
WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) - This case is about key constitutional rights of Americans.
The baker’s argument is based in the first amendment which protects, among others, free speech and free exercise of religion.
The other side, the state of Colorado, argues on behalf of a state law which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation , no matter the reason for such treatment.
The real issue at hand - do gay rights prevail over religious beliefs or vice versa?
The Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that states cannot prevent same sex couples from marrying. On the other side, however, the court has also ruled that honestly held religious beliefs are an acceptable reason to be exempted from certain state and federal laws.
One point which was contested during oral arguments is whether making cakes is actually speech which can be protected under the first amendment. If not, there is no constitutional protection for the baker or for other businesses which may have the same argument against being forced to take particular actions.
The Supreme Court will rule in June. No matter what the decision is, it will then fall to state and federal legislatures to pass laws which adapt to the view of the court.
Here is the bottom line: we, of course, want people to feel welcome and not discriminated against for who they are. That tolerance, in the words of Justice Kennedy, should be a two way street. Whichever way the court rules, state and federal governments should work to find a compromise solution where both same sex couples and those with deep religious beliefs are respected.