Although it might have been interesting to see Muslim bakers being forced to bake Mohammed cartoon cakes for Christian clients, we should all celebrate the not-even-close Supreme Court ruling establishing that Colorado bakers cannot be forced to violate their First Amendment religious liberty rights by baking a gay wedding cake:
In a 7-2 decision written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court said the Colorado Civil Rights Commission violated the free exercise clause of the Constitution when it forced Jack Phillips to make a cake for a same-sex wedding he morally opposed under the state’s public accommodations law.
“The laws and the Constitution can, and in some instances must, protect gay persons and gay couples in the exercise of their civil rights, but religious and philosophical objections to gay marriage are protected views and in some instances protected forms of expression,” the majority opinion said.
“While it is unexceptional that Colorado law can protect gay persons in acquiring products and services on the same terms and conditions as are offered to other member of the public, the law must be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion.”
Creative expression in any form is free speech which, along with freedom of religion, is supposedly protected in the First Amendment. People should not be compelled to write or say things they do not believe or agree with, whether it be in the form of ink on paper or frosting on wedding cakes.
In Masterpiece Cake Shop vs. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, in which the shop refused to make a cake for a gay couple to celebrate their same-sex marriage, lawyers representing owner Jack Phillips argued it would be an endorsement of gay marriage that would violate their religious beliefs. The Colorado courts thought otherwise:
It started over five years ago with a simple request for a wedding cake. And now, after wending its way through the system, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission is finally having its day before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Many legal experts believe it will be the most significant case of the term. It involves a clash of our rights as citizens, as well as our ideals.
Two of the most precious rights Americans possess are freedom of expression and freedom to practice their religion as they see fit. Both are enshrined in the First Amendment…
It began in July 2012, when Charlie Craig and David Mullins asked Jack Phillips, who owned the Masterpiece Cakeshop, to create a custom wedding cake to celebrate their same-sex marriage. Phillips refused, saying he didn’t wish to promote a same-sex wedding due to his religious beliefs.
Craig and Mullins filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The commission decided against Phillips, declaring he had discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation.
The commission ordered Masterpiece Cakeshop to change its policies, give its staff training on discrimination, and provide quarterly reports for two years on steps taken to comply with the order.
The Colorado Court of Appeals upheld the decision and the Colorado Supreme Court declined to hear the case. Last year, Phillips petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court, claiming the Colorado ruling violates the Free Speech and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment.
By: Daniel John Sobieski