Tag Archives: Obergefell v. Hodges

Highlights from day one of the Masterpiece Cakeshop Supreme Court case

Kristen Waggoner of Alliance Defending Freedom argued Jack Phillips’ case before the Supreme Court. (Photo: Jeff Malet/The Heritage Foundation) Kristen Waggoner of Alliance Defending Freedom argued Jack Phillips’ case before the Supreme Court. (Photo: Jeff Malet/The Heritage Foundation)

I thought it might be worth reading about the first day of arguments in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case. Not only can we find out what is likely to happen, but we’ll also learn how the ADF lawyer Kristen Waggoner is making her defense.

The Daily Signal reports:

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Tuesday in a closely watched case dealing with free speech, religious liberty, and same-sex marriage.

Specifically, the justices considered whether the state of Colorado can force Jack Phillips, a Christian baker, to create a custom cake for a same-sex wedding against his deeply held religious beliefs.

Attorneys for Phillips clearly explained that he seeks to exercise his freedom only to speak messages that he agrees with, while still welcoming all customers into his store. The First Amendment’s free speech and religious liberty clauses protect his freedoms to do just that.

In a lengthy and charged oral argument, the nine justices wrestled with how Americans who hold different views on marriage in our post-Obergefell society can continue to live with each other in mutual respect.

Here is the key that might predict the outcome, from the Supreme Court’s swing vote:

In one of the most charged exchanges of the day, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy questioned Colorado Solicitor General Frederick Yarger about whether a member of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission who compared Phillips to a racist and a Nazi demonstrated anti-religious bias—and that, if he did so, whether the judgment against Masterpiece should stand.

More:

After disavowing the commissioner’s comments, Yarger argued that the ruling should still stand. But Kennedy returned to the issue again, telling Yarger that “tolerance is essential in a free society. And tolerance is most meaningful when it’s mutual. It seems to me that the state in its position here has been neither tolerant nor respectful of Mr. Phillips’ religious beliefs.”

Kennedy also pointed out there were other cake shops that would have accommodated Charlie Craig and David Mullins, the same-sex couple who requested a cake for their wedding.

In a similar line of questioning, Justice Samuel Alito pointed out that the state of Colorado had failed to demonstrate mutual tolerance when it only protected the freedom of cake artists who landed on one side of the gay marriage debate—namely, the state’s side.

When three religious customers went to cake artists to request cakes that were critical of same-sex marriage, those cake artists declined—yet Colorado did not apply its anti-discrimination statute to punish the artists. But when Phillips declined to create a cake to celebrate a same-sex marriage, Colorado imposed a three-pronged penalty that drove him out of the wedding cake business, causing him to lose 40 percent of his business.

[…]In the exchange with Alito, the Colorado solicitor general said that cake artists could not discriminate on the basis of identity, but could discriminate on the basis of messages. Gorsuch later responded, saying that’s exactly what Phillips has argued.

It was also made clear that Phillips was not discriminating against identity, but just refusing to agree with the state’s position on same-sex marriage.

During the oral arguments, the court appeared to recognize what is patently obvious from the facts. Phillips welcomes all people into his store, encourages them to buy off-the-shelf items, and will make custom-designed cakes for them provided they don’t ask for items that violate his beliefs.

He has served gays for the 24 years his store has been in operation and welcomes their business to this day. He does not discriminate against anybody because of their identity.

So comparisons to shopkeepers in the Jim Crow South who sought to keep the races “separate but equal” are a smear that divert attention from the real issue: Phillips simply disagrees with the state on the issue of marriage.

More:

Finally, the oral arguments revealed the scope of how far the state of Colorado is willing to go to impose its views of marriage on citizens. In one line of questioning from Roberts, Colorado admitted that it would force Catholic Legal Services to provide a same-sex couple with legal services related to their wedding even if it violates Catholic teachings on marriage.

And in questioning from Alito, the ACLU answered that the state could force a Christian college whose creed opposes same-sex marriage to perform a same-sex wedding in its chapel.

I was listening to the latest Ben Shapiro podcast, and in the last 10 minutes, he talked about the case. He pointed out that at the time when Phillips refused to participate in a same-sex marriage, same-sex marriage was not even legal in Colorado. Nevertheless, Colorado went after him. Hard. I think they secular left is going to lose this case – it’s just too much fascism. Too much intolerance.

You can read more about Kristen Waggoner here. She’s also arguing the Arlen’s Flowers v. the State of Washington case. A great lady. A real hero.

If you’re looking for a great book to read on what comes after same-sex marriage and how to discuss and debate it, read Ryan T. Anderon’s “Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Liberty“. It’s the best book for laymen on the subject. Really helps you to know how to talk about this issue. I had to do it a week ago with one of my atheist co-workers who asked ME out to lunch to talk more about his spiritual journey. If you don’t read, you can’t defend.

Implications of the Supreme Court’s “Obergefell v. Hodges” decision

Gay activist vandalizes pro-marriage sign
Gay activist vandalizes pro-marriage sign

I am linking to an article posted at the Stream about an important new book by marriage defender Ryan T. Anderson, entitled “Truth Overruled”. I have already bought myself a paperback copy of it.

Anyway, here’s the excerpt:

Anderson lays out soberly all the radical, counter-intuitive and just-plain-crazy implications of the Supreme Court decision in June, Obergefell v. Hodges, that overturned all state laws predicated on the natural, timeless structure of marriage as one man and one woman, hopefully till death:

  • Marriage is not about protecting children and helping to form future free citizens. It exists to cater to the fleeting emotional needs of adults.
  • The state recognizes marriages in order to validate the “dignity” of citizens — that is, to boost their self-esteem.
  • Men and women are exactly the same, and therefore completely interchangeable as parents.
  • Children do not need or deserve continuity of care from their biological parents. Any adult present will do.
  • The U.S. Constitution has no permanent, substantive meaning. It is instead a means by which social and legal elites can override democratic majorities whenever they feel that the time is ripe to impose new philosophical premises on the populace.
  • The free exercise of religion is no more extensive than simple free speech, and can be restricted when a religious group’s views diverge from the Court’s majority view of what the Constitution means at the moment.
  • The connection between sexual activity and human reproduction is simply accidental, a quirk of biology that has no implications for morality, law or society.
  • Those who deny any of these points are morally equivalent to white racists, and will be treated by the government with no greater deference.

Anderson is not alone in recognizing the sheer radicalism of Obergefell v. Hodges; indeed, four justices of the Court, including its Chief Justice, John Roberts, issued a stinging dissent that raises most of the objections which Anderson coolly unpacks in the course of his book. Advocates of same-sex marriage were quick to brush such arguments aside, and cast their opponents as isolated, irrational extremists, motivated only by fideistic reliance on ancient religious texts. Anderson makes it clear that this tactic is fundamentally dishonest, expanding on the dissenters’ points and fleshing each of them out with reference to history, biology, social science — and yes, even religion.

Anderson rightly avoids the temptation to simply play whack-a-mole with every specious argument offered by those who claim to advocate “marriage equality.” While he answers such objections, he also does the reader the service of clarifying and simplifying the terms of the debate, showing how it is finally, starkly, the face-off between two irreconcilable views of marriage:

  1. A “comprehensive — permanent and exclusive — union of sexually complementary spouses who engage in a comprehensive act that is inherently ordered toward a comprehensive good: the procreation and rearing of new human life.”
    and
  2. An “intense emotional union — a romantic, care-giving union of consenting adults.”

As Anderson demonstrates, the first view is the one that has existed in every human society of which we have any record, even those that tolerated polygamy and extra-marital homosexual relationships. The second, impoverished view is the program of the Sexual Revolution, whose gradual implementation (beginning with no-fault, unilateral divorce) has seen the virtual collapse of marriage, the enormous suffering of children, the disappearance of two-parent families in large swathes of society — in other words, domestic chaos.

Anderson cites solid, peer-reviewed research to show the grave harm this social change has done to the most vulnerable people in America: the children of the poor. Our prisons are disproportionately full of boys who grew up without fathers, and our welfare rolls of young girls who were sexually exploited and made pregnant as young teenagers, in part because they had no father to protect them. They in turn are likely to raise children without their biological fathers. This cycle of dysfunction can all be traced to the loosening of the marriage bond, which is only further weakened when the law itself — and even the U.S. Constitution — is invoked by our nation’s highest authorities to affirm that sex has no permanent unitive meaning, and that children’s interests must play second fiddle to the emotional needs of adults.

You might think that same-sex “marriage” could improve the well-being of children, but Anderson cites statistics showing a clear correlation between its legal adoption in particular polities, and declines in the marriage and even the birth rate.

No man is an island, and no woman neither. But least of all are children, those fragile and needy creatures who depend on us for their present, who will populate our future. The acceptance of same-sex marriage, as Anderson doggedly demonstrates, is only the latest stage in our culture’s narcissistic rejection of responsibility toward the vulnerable.

Federal enforcement of a new, invented Constitutional “right” poses a threat to religious liberty and freedom of association. Anderson lays out the well-known (and some of the lesser-known) cases of same-sex marriage advocates using the state’s coercive power to harm innocent citizens who were acting on their conscience, who declined to assist with same-sex marriages. He correctly notes the grave danger posed to churches, citing the now-infamous exchange between Obama’s solicitor general and Justice Samuel Alito, in which the former admitted that churches who decline to perform same-sex marriages may well face the same legal and tax penalties applied in the past to segregationist sects.

This little excerpt is a very good summary of the issues, and how marriage fits into the overall fight to defend the rights of children to their moms and dads, and a stable childhood where both parents sacrifice themselves for the good of their children. We need to get that culture back. If you are pro-same-sex marriage, then you are part of the problem. It doesn’t matter what you do in your personal life. If you are voting for this, you are harming society, and harming children, all for the self-esteem of self-centered grown ups. I urge all my readers to get informed about marriage and to be persuasive when talking about marriage to their neighbors.

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