Thoughts on the Colorado Cake Case

by John McClaughry

Last week the US Supreme Court gave a partial victory to Colorado baker Jack Phillips, who had  declined to make an artistic cake for a gay wedding based on his strongly held Christian beliefs. Apparently Phillips was perfectly willing to sell cakes off the shelf, but wouldn’t employ his artistic talents to make a cake glorifying a union that he believed to anti-Christian. Instead of choosing another cake artist, the gay couple ran to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, who found that Phillips had unlawfully discriminated against them.

The Court found not that Phillips had a right to refuse based on his Biblical beliefs, but that the Civil Rights Commission exhibited religious bias in issuing its order, exemplified by a member who likened Phillips beliefs to supporting human slavery and Holocaust genocide.  That left open the  Phillips’ persecution by a commission that kept its collective mouth shut and just issued the order.

Justice Clarence Thomas, concurring, argued that Phillips had a right not to be an active participant in the gay marriage celebration. He invoked Court precedents that tolerated white supremacist expression, and concluded that the Court should have held that “States cannot punish protected speech because some group finds it offensive, hurtful, stigmatic, unreasonable, or undignified.”

You don’t have to share Jack Phillips’ religious views to believe that the state should just leave him alone, and the couple should engage a baker who supports their preferences, or doesn’t care either way.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Deanne June 9, 2018 at 4:46 am

Yeah for the baker with a backbone. Thankfully, it sounds like there was some logical reasoning from the Supreme Court. That’s something positive in a world that seems to be going off the deep end. Thank you for the update.

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Dave June 11, 2018 at 12:46 pm

Vermont had a very similar case, as you may remember, with an innkeeper in the NEK that refused to stage a gay wedding on their property. The innkeepers paid dearly for their firmly held Christian values. Lawyer fees and negative press took a toll on their business which is just now coming out of dire straits. Which Vermont business is next to fall to these predatory “PC” jerks…?

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