By: Aedan Sara O’Connor
Currently the U.S. Supreme Court is deliberating a case that is fundamental to the American First Amendment on free speech and to religious liberty: Masterpiece Cakeshop v Colorado Civil Rights Commission. Charlie Craig and David Mullins were a couple who planned to legally wed in Massachusetts and return to their home in Colorado in 2012. At the time same-sex marriage was not yet legal in all of the states.
The couple visited Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado to order a custom wedding cake for a marriage celebration when they returned. The Christian owner, Jack Phillips, said they could choose any pre-made cakes but he did not want to make a custom design that celebrated gay marriage. He said he would serve anyone but would not make cakes with messages that contradicted his values, including pro or anti-gay messages as well as anti-American and adult -themed messages.
The couple went to another bakery to order their custom cake then filed a complaint to Colorado Civil Rights Commission under the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act. This resulted in a decision in favour of the plaintiffs, the couple. According to the decision, Masterpiece Cake shop had to provide cakes for same-sex marriages, change its company policies and provide comprehensive staff training regarding the issue. Phillips refused to comply, stopped baking cakes for weddings entirely, which cost him 40% of his revenue. He appealed and the Colorado Court of Appeals upheld the original decision stating that refusing to bake the cake was “tantamount to discrimination of the basis of sexual orientation.” Masterpiece Cakeshop petitioned the Supreme Court for certiorari (to review). The oral arguments were heard on December 5th, 2017 and a decision is expected before June 2018.
The deciding vote will most likely be that of Justice Anthony Kennedy. He is a moderate, who believes strongly in both marriage equality and the First Amendment. This is being framed as a case of civil liberties and gay rights. I would disagree. The couple not getting a cake from Masterpiece Cakeshop means they have to go to a nearby bakery and get their cake there. There is no human right to a particular cake.
If you truly care about gay rights, as I do, I suggest you focus on Chechnya or much of the Islamic world where homosexuality is punishable by death and there are frequent hangings and stonings of gay men.
I do not believe any business should have to serve a patron they choose not to. Capitalism works itself out in the sense that the businesses that are the most inclusive will generally have the highest sales. If there is a business that refuses to serve people of a certain group this can be broadcast on social media and they can be boycotted easily. The loss in revenue will likely cause a discriminatory business to shut down. Welcome to the free market.
Additionally, I find it disturbing that the government can force a business owner to violate their religious beliefs. As a Jew I would not wish to bake a Jesus cake and I suspect a Muslim would not wish to bake a Mohammed cake. This should be covered under both religious freedom and freedom of association. This is a deeply important case and no matter what the Supreme Court decides it will set an historical precedent. I just hope that it’s a precedent of religious liberty.
Aedan Sara O’Connor is the founder and CEO of Dame Right. While she is an American patriot, she was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. An avid political junkie and nerd, she created Dame Right when she saw a void to be filled in feminine conservative media. Her previous work has been featured in Daily Wire, The National Post, Rebel Media, Toronto Sun and Jerusalem Post.