The Supreme Court agreed on Monday to hear an appeal from a Colorado baker with religious objections to same-sex marriage who had lost a discrimination case for refusing to create a cake to celebrate such a union.
The case will be a major test of a clash between laws that ban businesses open to the public from discriminating based on sexual orientation and claims of religious freedom. Around the nation, businesses like bakeries, florists and photography studios have said, so far with little success, that forcing them to serve gay couples violates their constitutional rights.
The Supreme Court’s decision, expected next year, will again take the justices into a heated battle in the culture wars. On one side are gay and lesbian couples who say they are entitled to equal treatment from businesses that choose to serve the general public. On the other are religious people and companies who say the government should not force them to choose between the requirements of their faiths and their livelihoods.
In a series of decisions culminating in its 2015 ruling establishing a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, the Supreme Court has consistently ruled in favor of gay rights. But it has also said that businesses run on religious principles may sometimes be exempted from generally applicable laws, as when it ruled in 2014 that some companies could not be required to provide free contraceptive coverage for their female workers.
The new case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, No. 16-111, started in 2012, when the baker, Jack Phillips, an owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colo., refused to create a cake for the wedding reception of David Mullins and Charlie Craig, who were planning to marry in Massachusetts. The couple filed discrimination charges, and they won before a civil rights commission and in the courts.
“This has always been about more than a cake,” Mr. Mullins said. “Businesses should not be allowed to violate the law and discriminate against us because of who we are and who we love.”
Mr. Phillips, who calls himself a cake artist, argued that two parts of the First Amendment — its protections for free expression and religious freedom — overrode a Colorado anti-discrimination law and allowed him to refuse to create a custom wedding cake.
David Cortman, one of Mr. Phillips’s lawyers, said the case concerned fundamental rights. “Every American should be free to choose which art they will create and which art they won’t create without fear of being unjustly punished by the government,” he said.
In 2015, a Colorado appeals court ruled against Mr. Phillips. “Masterpiece does not convey a message supporting same-sex marriages merely by abiding by the law and serving its customers equally,” the court said.
In a Supreme Court brief, Mr. Phillips’s lawyers said “he is happy to create other items for gay and lesbian clients.” But his faith requires him, they said, “to use his artistic talents to promote only messages that align with his religious beliefs.”
“Thus,” the brief said, “he declines lucrative business by not creating goods that contain alcohol or cakes celebrating Halloween and other messages his faith prohibits, such as racism, atheism, and any marriage not between one man and one woman.”
The brief said Mr. Mullins and Mr. Craig could have bought a cake from another baker and in fact “easily obtained a free wedding cake with a rainbow design from another bakery.”
Full story at The New York Times.
Our entire civil society comes down to whether the little piece of plastic you put on top your cake batter has 2 women or a man and a woman?
What if they buy their cake from you and put their own brides on top? Would you sell them that SAME cake then? Or is your concern about a little bit of plastic faith?
Straw man, sir. The First Amendment protects free speech. Compelling a person to support what he doesn’t support is government coercion of speech and violates the First Amendment.
Not to mention that no sane person and no right-thinking society would support homosexuality, much less gay “marriage” anyway.
The fact that what was universally recognized as unnatural and wrong only three decades ago is now becoming coerced groupthink by leftist elites is a sign of how far gone our culture is.
Thomas Edward Miles– GO TO COURAGE MEETINGS!! JESUS WANTS YOU TO COME!!
Covfefe’s last sentence strikes at the heart of the central issue that we face: Powerful elements within the gay lobby will not tolerate anyone who says that gay activity is wrong. As such, they will not stop until either the Church accepts their behavior or the Church is removed from the Earth. They refuse to co-exist.
Our country so badly needs morality, and basic decency! Our Nation was originally founded on a basic Christian foundation! All business owners should have the right to decline customers’ requests– without giving reasons! A Jewish or Muslim cook– should never be harrassed, for refusing to cook a pork dish— it is against their religion! And no baker should ever be harrassed for refusing to make Wedding Cakes, for a Muslim polygamist’s multiple wives!! Muslim polygamists should go to Muslim bakers! And gay “marriage” believers, should go to “LGBT” bakers, for their needs! Christianity should be respected, especially in America!! God bless this Christian baker!
No, don’t bake the cake, and Catholics should not attend or participate in same sex so-called weddings. We must declare with word and deed that marriage is between one man and one woman, period. When they make fun if you, know that Christ was ridiculed too.
This is about more than a cake. It’s about the right to freely express your religious beliefs without being discriminated against or persecuted for doing so. Once you take away freedom of religious expression you no longer have a democracy. What you have is a totalitarian tyranny where freedom of religion is not tolerated under the guise of a politically correct diabolical agenda. If this is allowed to continue without being overturned in law the next thing that they will do is put into prison or even kill people of religious faith that do not adhere to this politically correct agenda. How far America has fallen. Jesus Christ King of Kings Lord of Lords True God and True Man is coming very soon as a just judge. Repent and convert!…
Usually difficult to forecast SCOTUS but not here. The Homosexual Sexualists will likely be victorious. Once a decision sets a broad principle, say, by recognizing a new right, then other circumstances impacting that right are usually decided in a way to strengthen that right. The unfortunate language in Obergefell (Justice Kennedy) sets the stage here; it is not likely that a general business decision — whether to sell a cake — can overwhelm the exercise of such a “right” as homosexual marriage.
Remember, too, that SCOTUS had no problem with affirming the right of Congress to forbid private business discrimination, even by very tiny businesses. See, Katzenbach v. McClung and Heart of Atlanta Motel v. US. Certainly the…
(Part Deux) ” . . . recognition of a Constitutional “right” to marry will lead to the same result, sorry to say.
The First Amendment issues involved will clearly be sidestepped. America is not really a Christian Nation anymore, if it truly was to begin. The belief in having an unaffected “right to commerce” will prevail, especially when fulfilling a newly announced “fundamental” right. Remember Justice Aljto’s dissent in Obergefell, “It will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy.” Enjoy!!
Sure they should Bake and sell Food – to Everyone, but there is a compelling 1st Amendment Right Not To Speak or use Artistic Talents to promte what you consider Evil.
This was never about Food – but always about forcing them to degrade themselves to an Evil Political Agenda of ‘Pander or Perish’.
Selling Food = Yes; Mandatory Propaganda = No!
This Anonymous post, June 29 at 9:04 am was mine — Anne T.
I’m unsure why, if the wedding was to be in Massachusets, the happy couple sought the professional services of a Colorado baker. There is no mention of a regional reception. How does one ship an ornate wedding cake approximately 1,500 miles. I wonder if they were aware of the baker’s strong religous beliefs and sought a political ‘fight’ to make a point.
That same thought went through my mind as well. I think it was a couple in search of a lawsuit. :)
I have some kosher Jewish neighbors– what if they owned a bakery, and the government tried to FORCE them to make a pork, or non-kosher dish?? I have Mormon neighbors who do not drink coffee, and Muslim neighbors who do not eat pork, and who also do not drink alcohol in any form, even in a medicine! And Jehovah’s Witness neighbors, who do not believe in celebrating Christmas (not sure why!). And Seventh-Day Adventist neighbors, who are vegetarians, like me– out of love! Why can’t all faiths be RESPECTED?? Sex perversions are immoral, unnatural, and dangerous, also, and should be illegal! Neighborhood kids should be protected from such dangerous filth!
Linda Maria, could you clarify – you are a vegetarian out of love? For what, animals? Because it is impossible to love a souless animal, and we were given dominium over them by God, plus lots of them are mighty tasty.
Many long years ago, in high school, before Vatican II– I and others investigated contemplative religious orders. We discovered that to join some of these religious orders, we would be required to be vegetarians lifelong, and learn to fast a lot too, and be very strong! Also, there were many contemplative religious orders of monks, with the same requirements. Many contemplative religious orders of monks and nuns, had gardens, orchards, etc., (vineyards, too!) where they grew produce for their tables– plus, food items to sell. Some of these traditional contemplative (and vegetarian) orders still exist today.
Many Catholics today, do not know, that before Vatican II, the Catholic Church was very strict, taught you to practice many kinds of penitential disciplines and mortifications, to purify you of sin, and to learn to be detached from the world and from the flesh. One had to learn to live more by silence and prayer, and being very close to God! The goal was to help souls get to Heaven! If you joined a religious order, especially a contemplative one– there were strict rules to follow– you had to learn to be strong, live in silence and prayer, fasting a lot, and not care what you ate– food was not for your pleasure!
Not Eating Cake– the whole point here, is RESPECT for others’ beliefs!
Actually, it’s all about Fruitcake.