Now that all the talking heads and other experts have weighed in on the recent Supreme Court decision – let me add my two cents.
The U.S. supreme Court handed down a rather limp decision this week in the case Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.
The justices decided, in a 7-2 decision, that, “a Christian baker didn’t get a fair hearing before a state civil-rights commission and therefore shouldn’t be penalized for turning away a same-sex couple.” So writes the Wall Street Journal.
Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips was perfectly within his rights to refuse to bake a wedding cake for the homosexual couple, Charlie Craig and David Mullins. The First Amendment of the Bill of Rights specifies, “Congress shall make no law” prohibiting the free exercise of one’s religion. But that’s exactly what the Colorado Civil Rights Commission did. The commission’s ruling was completely one-sided, as were the lower courts, when it was clear by Phillip’s own words that his intention was not to discriminate, but merely freely exercise his religious beliefs.
If he were discriminating against the couple, he would refuse to serve them anything. And as an aside, my opinion of the Constitution is that any private citizen or business should be able to discriminate. Let the marketplace decide. And furthermore – again, in my opinion – this was a set up. The baker may not have been targeted from the start, but was once he refused.
Phillips explains things in a piece he wrote for USA Today in December:
“Designing a wedding cake is a very different thing from, say, baking a brownie. When people commission such a cake, they’re requesting something that’s designed to express something about the event and about the couple. What I design is not just a tower of flour and sugar, but a message tailored to a specific couple and a specific event – a message telling all who see it that this event is a wedding and that it is an occasion for celebration. In this case, I couldn’t. What a cake celebrating this event would communicate was a message that contradicts my deepest religious convictions, and as an artist, that’s just not something I’m able to do, so I politely declined.”