Kent Rutter in HR Magazine on SCOTUS Wedding Cake Case


The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Dec. 5 in a case that addresses the tension between lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights under state law and the right to free speech and free exercise of religion under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, HR Magazine reported.

In Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a Colorado baker refused to create a wedding cake for a same-sex couple because it would conflict with his religious beliefs. The same-sex couple said this violates a state anti-discrimination law—and the Colorado Civil Rights Commission agreed. 

Although the case is not employment-related, the decision could provide a barometer of where the high court stands on LGBT issues, said Kent Rutter, an attorney with Haynes and Boone, LLP in Houston.

The justices will weigh in on LGBT rights for the first time since the landmark 5-4 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, No. 14-556 (2015), which legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

Justice Anthony Kennedy's vote in Obergefell was determinative of the outcome — and it likely will be in Masterpiece Cakeshop, too. "As usual the swing vote will be Justice Kennedy's," Rutter said. "But this will be a tough case for him to decide," he added, noting that in addition to penning the Obergefell opinion, Kennedy is also "a fierce defender of free speech." ...

Excerpted from HR Magazine. To read the full article, click here.

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