The cake part is in quotation marks because this is not the famous Masterpiece Cakeshop case or the less famous Arlene’s Flowers one, but that of a wedding web designer, perhaps because while making cakes and picking flowers is a matter of artistry, a web designer is perhaps more clearly an artist engaged in speech.
Oral arguments in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis will likely be held this fall. The case involves Colorado-based web designer Lorie Smith, who says her religious beliefs would not allow her to create a custom wedding website for same-sex couples.
The Court will decide whether applying a public-accommodation law to compel an artist to speak or stay silent violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.
Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA) was also at issue when the high court heard the case of a Colorado baker who refused to make custom wedding cakes for a same-sex couple. While the Court said the baker was treated with anti-religious bias, the justices at the time sidestepped the larger question of whether certain businesses can assert a religious liberty claim when refusing to serve certain customers.
That was Masterpiece Cakeshop and the court, as it has done so often, including with pandemic regs, basically urged local authorities to provide more deference to religious freedoms without offering any kind of meaningful precedent.
Both the pro and anti-religious freedom forces are expecting more from this case which is why the media is screaming that SCOTUS may dismantle civil rights.
The case here is less likely to be kicked back around a deference to religious rights by local authorities which means a real ruling over compelled speech vs. identity politics might actually take place.
Keep in mind though that with this court, any ruling will be quite limited in scope, assuming it happens at all. But incremental progress, is also progress.