A few years ago, in one of the most controversial rulings ever handed down, the Supreme Court decided that laws barring same-sex marriage were unconstitutional, thus essentially redefining the institution of marriage – an institution that had been characterized as “one man, one woman” from the inception of the United States, if not long, long before.
But while the decision by itself was damaging enough to the sound ground of states’ rights, legal sanity, and religious freedom, its ancillary effects have been even worse. Bakers, t-shirt makers, florists, photographers, and wedding venue owners have been penalized again and again by state commissions and courts for doing nothing more or less than refusing to celebrate gay marriage with their active participation.
None of these penalized business owners have discriminated against a single gay customer, but nonetheless, they have been found guilty of doing just that. These cases have hammered the First Amendment into an amorphous blob, putting the imagined “rights” of gays ahead of the very real rights of every U.S. citizen. It is a state of affairs that has led many to wonder if full-fledged religious persecution will be codified into law within the decade.
Soon, the Supreme Court will have a chance to make a landmark ruling. Depending on which way they rule in the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, we will find out which is more important: The whims of an altar-bound LGBT couple…or the freedoms of religion and expression that form the foundation of our democracy.
The details of the case are simple. A gay couple asked Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, to bake them a custom wedding cake for their upcoming nuptials. Phillips refused, citing his religious beliefs and his opposition to gay marriage. He did not refuse the couple SERVICE, mind you; he only refused to make them a cake celebrating gay marriage. In fact, during his brief interaction with the couple, he specifically offered to sell them any product in his shop. That is important, because it undermines the argument of the ACLU and the arguments put forth by people like University of California law school dean Erwin Chemerinsky.
In an interview with Fox News, Chemerinsky said that “the interest in preventing discrimination outweighs” the right to free expression. As an example, he said that the baker would surely lose his case if he were “against interracial marriage and wouldn’t bake a cake for an interracial couple.”
But see, he’s conflating two different things in a single example. Yes, if Phillips refused to bake ANY cake for an interracial couple, he would be guilty of discrimination. But if he merely refused to bake a cake celebrating interracial marriage REGARDLESS of the race of his customers…well, we argue that he would still be within his rights. As he undoubtedly is in this case. The point here is not the sexual preference of Phillips’ customers, the point is the message on the cake.
The obvious line between discriminating against an idea (not illegal) and discriminating against an individual (illegal) is so bright and clear that we can only assume that LGBT activists are missing it on purpose. They are deliberately trying to confuse the issue in an attempt to make BOTH things illegal…at least when they are aimed at the ideas gays hold dear. Which of course opens the door to the federal government picking and choosing which ideas are OK to express and which ones are not. At which point…we may as well erase the First Amendment from the Bill of Rights altogether.