Cake Wars

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A much anticipated U.S. Supreme Court ruling was announced Monday.

The Supreme Court ruled today in favor of Jack Phillips, a Colorado baker who refused to make a custom cake for a same-sex couple because he believed that doing so would violate his religious beliefs. This was one of the most anticipated decisions of the term, and it was relatively narrow: Although Phillips prevailed today, the opinion by Justice Anthony Kennedy rested largely on the majority’s conclusion that the Colorado administrative agency that ruled against Phillips treated him unfairly by being too hostile to his sincere religious beliefs. The court seemed to leave open the possibility that a different outcome could result in a future case, and it did not rule at all one of the central arguments in the case – whether compelling Phillips to bake a cake for a same-sex couple would violate his right to freedom of speech.

That's a key excerpt. I noticed a lot of my socially conservative friends declaring this "A WIN FOR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY!" when in fact the court never really addressed that issue as much as they condemned the despicable behavior of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

Here, Kennedy observed, the “neutral and respectful consideration to which Phillips was entitled was compromised” by comments by members of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. One commissioner, Kennedy pointed out, “even went so far as to compare Phillips’ invocation of his sincerely held religious beliefs to defenses of slavery and the Holocaust.” Moreover, Kennedy added, the commission’s treatment of Phillips’ religious objections was at odds with its rulings in the cases of bakers who refused to create cakes “with images that conveyed disapproval of same-sex marriage.” Therefore, Kennedy concluded, the commission’s order – which, among other things, required Phillips to sell same-sex couples wedding cakes or anything else that he would sell to opposite-sex couples and mandated remedial training and compliance reports – “must be set aside.”

Gee, ya think? Essentially the CCRC was attempting to implement "re-education" tactics. That's not creepy at all.


The majority left open, however, the possibility that a future case could come out differently, particularly if the decision maker in the case considered religious objections neutrally and fairly. “The outcome of cases like this in other circumstances,” the majority closed, “must await further elaboration in the courts, all in the context of recognizing that these disputes must be resolved with tolerance, without undue disrespect to sincere religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market.”

I certainly hope another case such as this does not crop up in the future. I've maintained for some time that a substantial majority of gay couples have zero interest in compelling individuals to be unwilling participants in what is supposed to be one of the most joyous occasions (i.e. a wedding) in their lives. Sadly, the particular gay couple who visited Masterpiece Cakeshop back in 2012 would accept nothing less than 100% acquiescence to their union.

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