By: Kelly Shackelford, First Liberty Institute President and CEO.
Although the Supreme Court’s recent Masterpiece Cakeshop decision reinforced the principle that government must not be hostile towards religion, it left many American business owners with more questions than answers, especially about cases where art, expression, and speech intersect with daily commerce.
Fortunately, the more recent case of Aaron and Melissa Klein may present the court with an opportunity to provide clarity and guidance to businesses, large and small, on the fundamental question of whether they may operate in accord with their deeply held convictions or be forced to abandon their First Amendment rights when they enter the marketplace.
To frame the question in constitutional terms, can the state force citizens to choose between their most sacred beliefs or their livelihood? Can government compel citizens to express a message with which they strongly disagree?