I predict that the Supreme Court of the United States will decide that the First Amendment trumps civil rights laws in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, because our government may not force us to express messages that violate religious convictions.
Having read the oral arguments I think that a SCOTUS majority will hold that a Christian baker enjoys a First Amendment right to refuse the request of a gay couple to create a custom wedding cake that expressly celebrates a gay marriage. He may not be punished for violating state civil rights laws prohibiting discrimination against homosexuals.
I can’t imagine that the Court would uphold a civil rights law that allows an atheist, for example, to force a devout Christian baker to create a cake with a message that says that “Jesus is a myth,” or that “God is imaginary.”
Make no mistake though, a baker operating a business open to the public may not lawfully discriminate against atheists or gays in violation of public accommodations laws. Such people cannot lawfully be refused service when it comes to buying any cake in the shop, for instance, but they cannot force a baker to express creative ideas which violate his First Amendment rights.
So the baker may be punished if he puts a sign in his window that says “We do not bake cakes for gays,” but may not be punished for refusing to create cakes which expressly celebrate gay weddings.
Likewise, an African American sculptor operating a business open to the public violates public accommodations laws if he refuses to serve folks he doesn’t like, but may not be forced to create a cross which expressly supports a Ku Klux Klan service.
This is a no-brainer in my opinion.
I’ll be surprised if SCOTUS doesn’t decide that the First Amendment trumps civil rights laws.