The Case of the Wedding Cake 🎂
A brief history of cake in CO
In 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins, a same-sex couple, attempted to order a custom wedding cake from Masterpiece Cakeshop. Jack Phillips, the owner, declined to take the order claiming that he did not want to endorse same-sex marriages due to his Christian faith. Craig and Mullins sued the bakery for discrimination based on sexual orientation. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission and lower courts ruled in favor of the couple, which resulted in Phillips appealing to the US Supreme Court.
Masterpiece Cakeshop vs. Colorado Civil Rights Commission (CCRC)
On Monday, the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of Masterpiece Cakeshop in a 7-2 ruling. In the majority opinion, Justice Kennedy emphasized that the court had focused its ruling on the individual facts of the case, as well as the CCRC’s treatment of owner Jack Phillips and his religious beliefs.
The right agreed with the Supreme Court ruling and pointed out that Jack has refused to create custom cakes in the past for numerous reasons. Furthermore, they claim that Jack’s cakes are an art form that is a constitutionally protected expression. Some outlets focused on the court’s rationale behind the ruling. They highlight that the baker’s religious views were ridiculed by the CCRC, which factored into the court’s decision. They also point out that the court’s ruling indicated that the Colorado state law against discrimination is still valid.
The left is opposed to the Supreme Court ruling and claims that no business should be permitted to discriminate on any grounds. They believe religion is being used as an excuse - as it was during the civil rights era against African Americans. Furthermore, they contend that most Americans support gay marriage and that the issue lies with discriminatory legislation. They cite a 2018 proposal by the Dept. of Health and Human Services that would allow healthcare providers to use their religious beliefs to determine which patients they would treat.
Does this ruling heavily impact LGBT rights?
Somewhat, but much less than you think. The reason the court’s 7-2 ruling has been described as “narrow” is due to its limited scope. Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion explains that the rationale behind the court’s ruling focused on the specific circumstances of this case and that Colorado’s anti-discrimination law is still valid. This ruling conveyed two critical points:
- In this specific circumstance, wedding cakes are protected forms of expression under the 1st amendment
- The CCRC was not impartial towards the baker’s religious views by coercing him to make the cake
It is also important to remember that Jack Phillips only refused to create a custom same-sex wedding cake. He was willing to sell any of the other cakes and various items at his bakery to the couple.
Now go get your slice of cake
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