I’m going to preface this article by outing myself as a gay man, who has worked in the wedding industry via WeddingWire.com, and I stand 150% with Jack Phillips and his right to express himself both religiously and artistically by refusing to decorate a wedding cake with gay decorations.
Please keep that in mind and know that I *am* swayed by my experience and circumstances, and many members of the LGBT community stand with Phillips as well. If you believe in the right to express yourself, to be out and proud, and live your true authentic self, then you also must stand with Phillips - as this case is about freedom of speech. That is what the Supreme Court should be ruling on.
Yes, you read that right: this is NOT a freedom of religion case, but freedom of speech.
In July 2012, Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig went into Masterpiece Cakeshop with Craig’s mother in Lakewood, CO to look for a wedding cake. You probably get the gist of what happened, but what isn’t noted in many articles was that Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, did not actually refuse service to Mullins and Craig. He agreed to make the cake, just not decorate it with any same-sex marriage decorations, as it violated his beliefs.
They left the shop, but not before Mullins had the chance to subsequently say “F*ck you and your homophobic cake shop!” and told every reporter who would listen how victimized he felt. Masterpiece Cakeshop’s Yelp rating then went from a 5 star rating to 1.5 in 24 hours.
Craig and Mullins filed a complaint to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission under the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA), which prohibits businesses open to the public from discriminating against their customers on the basis of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. On May 30, 2014, the Commission ruled in favor of Craig and Mullins. Commissioner Susie Velasquez stated that since Masterpiece is a “public accommodation,” it is barred from discriminating against same-sex couples under CADA.
Just one year later, the same Commission ruled that another Colorado baker, Marjorie Silva, owner of Azucar Bakery, did not discriminate when she refused to bake a cake for William Jack, a Christian activist, who requested two cakes shaped like Bibles with writing such as “God hates sin. Psalm 45:7” and “Homosexuality is a detestable sin. Leviticus 18:22.” This time, the Commission ruled in favor of Azucar Bakery because Jack’s request included “derogatory language and imagery."
I agree with Silvia’s right to deny Jack service - just as I agree with Phillips’ right as well.
With the help of Alliance Defending Freedom, Phillips has brought his case to the Supreme Court. On June 26, 2017, the Supreme Court agreed to review it.
The Alliance Defending Freedom lawyers are using an interesting, and quite frankly, smart angle in the defense: because Phillips is an artist, his artistic expression is protected under the 1st Amendment, and thus would overrule the CADA law.
He did not overtly discriminate against Craig and Mullins because, as you recall, he agreed to bake a cake for the wedding - just not decorate it. Same with Marjorie Silva: she agreed to create the Bible-shaped cakes, just not decorate them.
(I have a solution that could potentially solve both problems: break up the business into two; a limited liability structured company for the “generic” baking side, and a sole proprietorship for the “artistic expression” side.)
If Masterpiece Cakeshop loses, then every gay rights organization across the nation will express this as a massive win against the evils of the Church. They’ll tote “Love Wins!” and “Love Trumps Hate!” while completely missing the fact that Phillips would’ve happily made the cake - just not decorate it.
However, heed my warning SJWs. This will set a very dangerous precedent into motion: if “discrimination” is screamed loud enough, one’s artistic expression and freedom of speech can be censored into submission; a precedent where the government may decide how one can express their beliefs; a precedent where the government decides what does and does not classify as artistic expression.
Freedom is not solely about protecting white males. Freedom is much bigger: it’s about the government not having the right to tell anyone what to believe. It’s about the government not being able to restrict one’s speech, music, artistry, and more.
If Masterpiece loses, then yes, we will have the right to force every Christian “bigot” baker to violate their beliefs. But don’t go running back to the Supreme Court when the situation is flipped and someone has the right to violate yours. You are laying the groundwork to erase all that the LGBT community and other minorities have fought and died for. You just have no idea that you are doing it.