On Monday, the Supreme Court finally ruled on one of the cases where Christian bakers were persecuted by gay couples and gay rights activitists who wanted to use the power of the government to control the behavior of Christians. Basically, the gay rights activists wanted Christians to act like non-Christians on moral issues. They were using the power of the state to force their morality on Christians. It was the height of intolerance and bigotry.
Here is the first article from Fox News that I’m linking to, written by Kristen Waggoner. Kristen is lead counsel on this Colorado case, as well as the Washington state case against the florist Barronelle Stutzman.
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of cake artist Jack Phillips, saying the Colorado Civil Rights Commission unjustly punished him when it ordered Jack to create a custom wedding cake celebrating a same-sex wedding. As the court said, “[t]he neutral and respectful consideration to which Phillips was entitled was compromised here …. The Civil Rights Commission’s treatment of his case has some elements of a clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs that motivated his objection.”
You’ll hear a lot of lies about the case from the mainstream media.
Here’s the truth:
Jack has never refused to serve any person based on who they are or what they look like. Everyone is welcome in his shop—even the two men who sued him. In fact, he told those men that, even though he couldn’t create a custom cake to celebrate a same-sex marriage, he would be happy to sell them anything else in his shop or design a cake for them for a different occasion.
Over the years, Jack has declined to create many custom cakes because of the messages they express. If you’re looking for a ghoulish Halloween cake, a boozy bachelorette-themed dessert, or a cake celebrating a divorce—Masterpiece Cakeshop isn’t your place.
Here’s what the Colorado Civil Rights Commission ordered Jack to do:
The commission’s order requires cake artist Jack Phillips and his staff at Masterpiece Cakeshop to design cakes for same-sex celebrations, forces him to re-educate his staff that Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act means that artists must endorse same-sex marriage regardless of their religious beliefs, compels him to implement new policies to comply with the commission’s order, and requires him to file quarterly “compliance” reports for two years. The reports must include the number of patrons declined a wedding cake or any other product and state the reason for doing so to ensure he has fully eliminated his religious beliefs from his business.
Here’s an example of the hostility to Christianity of the Colorado commissioners:
Commissioner Diann Rice makes the following comment just before denying Phillips’ request to temporarily suspend the commission’s re-education order:
“I would also like to reiterate what we said in…the last meeting [concerning Jack Phillips]. Freedom of religion and religion has been used to justify all kinds of discrimination throughout history, whether it be slavery, whether it be the Holocaust… I mean, we can list hundreds of situations where freedom of religion has been used to justify discrimination. And to me it is one of the most despicable pieces of rhetoric that people can use – to use their religion to hurt others.”
The Commissioner certainly wasn’t shy about ramming her secular leftist ideology down Jack’s throat, and with the full power of the secular state behind it. But she wasn’t willing to allow Jack to live according to his beliefs. He had to be forced to accept her beliefs and her morality. At gunpoint, really.
Another prominent defender of liberty is David French, who used to work for the ADF, and is now at ACLJ. He wrote about the case for National Review. He addresses the all-important question about what we can expect from future rulings. Will this decision apply broadly or narrowly?
[…][T]he Court focused on Phillips’s second claim, holding (by a 7–2 margin) that Colorado violated his right to free exercise of religion when it held him in violation of state public-accommodation law. Justice Kennedy focused on two critical aspects of the case to support his ruling. He first condemned anti-religious comments made by state commissioners during the hearings before the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. He especially singled out a commissioner’s claim that “freedom of religion” has been used to “justify all kinds of discrimination throughout history,” including slavery and the Holocaust. The commissioner called Phillips’s religious-freedom claim “one of the most despicable pieces of rhetoric that people can use.”
[…]Had Kennedy stopped his opinion at that point, Phillips’s victory would have been important, but profoundly limited. The obvious response would be for the commissioners to reconsider the case, cleanse their rhetoric of outright hostility, deliver the same result on a cleaner record, and put the more difficult free-speech claim right back in the Court’s lap. But Kennedy didn’t stop. He found a separate ground for concluding that Colorado was motivated by anti-religious animus, and that separate ground will make it difficult for states to take aim at “offensive” religious exercise, even when it occurs in a commercial context.
It turns out that the state of Colorado had protected the right of bakers to refuse to create cakes with explicitly anti-gay messages.
[…]All bakers — regardless of religion — have the same rights and obligations. At the same time, gay and religious customers enjoy equal rights under state public-accommodation statutes. Any ruling the commission imposes will have to apply on the same basis to different litigants, regardless of faith and regardless of the subjective “offensiveness” of the message.
This is a severe blow to the state. It hoped for a ruling declaring that the cake wasn’t protected expression and a free-exercise analysis that simply ratified the public-accommodation law as a “neutral law of general applicability.” Such a ruling would have permitted the favoritism on display in this case. It would have granted state authorities broad discretion to elevate favored messages and suppress dissent, all while operating under the fiction that they weren’t suppressing protected expression or religious exercise.
It was an excellent idea for whoever asked for those anti-gay cakes to do that so that we would know that the law was not being enforced equally. Because of that, we got a broad ruling that will be applicable elsewhere. It’s not everything we wanted, but it’s more than I expected.