Supreme Court: Your Bakery Doesn’t Have to Bake a Gay Wedding Cake

The US Supreme Court Just handed down a 7-2 decision in favor of the baker in Masterpiece Cakeshop, LTD v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, saying that the baker had the first amendment right to not bake and decorate a wedding cake for a gay couple as that violated his sincerely held religious beliefs.

What does this mean for your business?

Most likely nothing. The decision is very narrowly tailored to where strongly held religious beliefs clash with other civil rights. The court was careful to note that the baker was willing to make a birthday cake for the gay couple, but not a wedding cake, as he felt that would violate his religious beliefs.

They pointed out that no one would expect that a “member of the clergy who objects to gay marriage on moral and religious grounds” could be “compelled to perform the ceremony without denial of his or her right to the free exercise of religion.” Yet, we wouldn’t want to extend that protection to everyone and everything related to marriage. Could a chair rental company refuse to rent chairs to a wedding they disagreed with?

To keep reading, click here: Supreme Court: Your Bakery Doesn’t Have to Bake a Gay Wedding Cake

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15 thoughts on “Supreme Court: Your Bakery Doesn’t Have to Bake a Gay Wedding Cake

  1. Good decision. Now that the case has been decided, if one bakery won’t bake you a wedding cake, just find another bakery.

  2. From what I’m seeing from legal sites, that may be an overstatement – it seems they decided that the baker had been the subject of religious discrimination based on comments made by one or two members of Colorado’s civil rights commission, not that he could claim a religious exemption to state law.

    Second, it baffles me that anyone can think it would be a “good decision” to stay that someone can decide that laws don’t apply to them based on their religious beliefs.

    1. Sorry, forgot to put a username in the comment above.

      I also have to say that I’m surprised that a Mormon would fail to understand how pernicious a ruling like this could be given the long history (and continued existence) of anti-Mormon bigotry that has been justified on religious grounds.

      1. As someone from a faith that has experienced a lot of persecution from the US government, I imagine Suzanne is opposed to the government discriminating on religion.

        If the government starts closing down Christian bakeries, are Muslim bakeries next? I don’t think the US government has a good track record on this.

        1. False equivalence. No one’s closing down Christian bakeries – they’re just requiring them to adhere to the same anti-discrimination laws as the rest of the state.

          1. Wrong! The ones “going after bakeries” are NOT going after Jewish or Muslim bakeries; clearly they are targeting Christian-owned bakeries for the political/social climate in the US will go along with bashing Christians, but not bashing Jewish or Muslim owned bakeries.

            Also, the issue isn’t one of “denying the buyer their rights,” the real issue is should someone be forced to perform a creative service for something they don’t support.

            These aren’t cases of someone walking in off the street and being told they cannot buy the common items for sale to the general public. They are cases of someone demanding that someone in the creative services (and creating a special wedding cake is a creative service – just try to tell most brides that their wedding cake is just “off the shelf common cake” ha!) be forced to provide those services without the right to refuse.

            Would you (or I) demand that Suzanne write a blog post about something that you (or I) want but she is opposed to? That isn’t fair to Suzanne – even if we pay her for it. I would call if theft – theft of her creative services that she wasn’t willing to sell.

            The discrimination (really it is bullying!) seems to go in the direction that most in the news media and liberals can’t see; or don’t want to see.

            1. No, I would not insist EHRL write a blog post about something she didn’t believe in. But I would object heartily if she wrote blogs, but tried to block my access to them because I’m a great big lesbian.

              The gay couple Mr Phillips blew off the second he found out they were gay were not asking him to bless their union, they just wanted to give him money to make a cake. Wanting to give money to Xtian bakers is not discriminating against them.

      2. Actually, BethRa, the baker made it clear (and the court noted this) that he would do anything but a wedding cake for the gay couple.

        Frankly, I don’t understand the wedding cake aspect, but I’m not a cake decorator. To me, it’s a cake. Once it’s out the door, who cares? But to him, it obviously matters.

        Overall, I see it like forcing me to write a blog post endorsing something I don’t endorse.

        And I have zero problem if someone doesn’t want to make a cake for a Mormon wedding. They don’t have to and I wouldn’t want to buy it from them.

        But, overall the court ruling was more about fairness in decision making. The Colorado Civil Rights commission showed hostility toward religion and that was the problem. If they had, instead, done a balancing of rights, it might have gone the other way. And, in fact, that’s why the court said we will have to wait for other cases to clarify.

    2. We allow people to do all sorts of things to protect their religious rights: taking off work for religious holidays, wearing burkas and scarves in places with a dress code, not bathing, etc. Why shouldn’t a private business person have religious rights?

      1. Because they’re engaged in providing goods and services to the public, and should have to follow applicable law. And the law in Colorado states that if you provide goods and services to the public, you cannot refuse to provide those goods and services to people based on their race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.

  3. From what I heard on the news about this case, the baker won, in part, because he claimed that he was using his artistic talents. A chair company could not use that argument. However, as you state, the decision was very narrow to this particular case.

    1. He won because the Court found that he didn’t get a fair hearing, based on some hostile comments made by one of the members of Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission. They were actually quite clear that they weren’t ruling on whether his cakes qualified as art or protected speech, or whether that would trump CO’s antidiscrimination laws.

  4. The decision is so narrow that it’s a mistake to read much into it. Basically, the Court punted the issue into the future. They remanded the case back to the state for a re-do, finding that the baker did not get a fair hearing, based on statements made by a couple of Commission members. The state officials may well, again, rule against the baker, this time taking care not to make statements reflecting a pre-existing bias against his claimed religious position. If so, the appeals process would begin again. In the meantime, there are other cases going up to the Supreme Court on the issue of whether a business can deny service to gay customers on the basis of religion that will get there first.

  5. I’m concerned about the asymmetry of the laws. I’d really like you to explain why you think it should be illegal for me to refuse to make you a cake because you’re Mormon but legal for you to refuse to make me a cake because I’m gay.

    1. First of all, the court didn’t rule specifically on that. But second, no one (not even the baker) is arguing that it should be legal to refuse to make a cake because someone is gay. He’s arguing that he should be able to make a cake for a gay wedding. The baker said specifically he would make birthday cakes or whatever.

      There’s a subtle difference.

      I do think you should be allowed to not make a cake for a Mormon wedding if such a wedding violates your conscious. Heaven knows there are enough people out there who think Mormons have horns and are going to burn in Hell, so there are probably people who would refuse such a request.

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