The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that a Colorado baker could not be forced against his will, grounded in his religious beliefs, to make a wedding cake that affirmed a “marriage” between two homosexuals. The 7-2 ruling is a smashing victory for religious liberty.
The high court ruled that the baker, Jack Phillips, was the victim of religious hostility made manifest by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission; it had concluded that the baker had to abide by the gay couple’s wishes. “The commission’s hostility was inconsistent with the First Amendment’s guarantee that our laws be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote. As expected, the decision was closely tailored to the specifics in this case.
In 2012, Charlie Craig, his mother, and David Mullins went to the Phillips Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, to order a wedding cake to celebrate the “marriage” of the two men in Massachusetts. Phillips did not refuse to sell them any of his baked goods, but he said he could not accede to their request. “I do not create custom designs that conflict with my conscience,” he said. For the same reason, he said, he doesn’t make Halloween cakes.
Had the ruling gone the other way, black bakers would have to custom design cakes for Klansmen, Jewish bakers would have to inscribe cakes for Nazis, and gay bakers would have to make personalized cakes for gay bashers.
This is a landmark victory for both religious liberty and freedom of speech. The bullies lost a big one. Those who lecture on bullying should discuss this case in their presentations, but we all know that the “tolerant” ones who run these workshops will not.