The “gay wedding cake” debate has made its way to the Supreme Court.Every year there’s at least a few cases that follow the same pattern: a local bakery (or similar business) provides its service to a gay couple for a number of years, is eventually asked by that gay couple to cater their wedding, and while not denying them any other services, the bakery refuses to cater the wedding, always citing a religious justification. The bakery owners then inevitably find themselves on the receiving end of a lawsuit from the couple who could’ve just gone to another bakery down the street.
While often presented as a gay rights issue, this really boils down to an issue of a businesses right to refuse service. It’s not an inconsistent position to believe that it’s morally wrong for a Christian bakery to deny someone service solely on the basis that they’re gay – but believe that it’s morally fine for them to refuse to cater a wedding. In all of these cases it’s the wedding that’s the issue, not the sexuality alone.
Just picture a different but similarly awkward scenarios, such as Muslim bakers being requested to cater a gay wedding (in that case liberals would probably support their right to refuse service), or Jewish bakers being requested to bake a Nazi-themed cake. If you can legally refuse service to someone because they aren’t wearing a shirt and shoes, are religious accommodations really that much of a stretch?
The Supreme Court is about to get to the bottom of the matter once and for all.As Fox News is reporting, the U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday it will hear the case of a suburban Denver baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple on faith-based grounds, in the latest religious freedom case to be considered before the nation’s highest court.
Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, had refused to sell a customized cake for a gay couple’s union, claiming a religious exemption to the state’s anti-discrimination law.
Philips stated that he would be happy to sell the gay couple other baked goods, but wouldn’t prepare a wedding cake because it would conflict with his beliefs against same sex marriage.State courts had ruled against the businessman.
The high court will now decide whether applying Colorado’s public accommodations law to compel the baker to create “expression”– a wedding cake — violates his constitutionally protected Christian beliefs about marriage.Phillips told the Supreme Court he has free speech and religious rights under the First Amendment that should protect him. He said he should not be compelled to bake a cake specifically to honor a same-sex marriage.
Colorado’s anti-discrimination law, though, protects people on the basis of their sexual orientation. Charlie Craig and David Mullins had filed a complaint against Phillips and his suburban Denver shop after Phillips said he would not create and decorate a cake in honor of their marriage.
Regardless of how far you think a business’ right to refuse service extends, let’s not pretend this case is nothing more than extortion, plain and simple.
There’s no shortage of bakeries out there in the USA willing to bake cakes for gay weddings, as evidenced by the single digit number of bakeries making the news each year for refusing to do so, compared to the tens of thousands that don’t make the news.