Supreme Court Sides with Anti-Gay Wedding Cake Baker
This morning, the Supreme Court announced their decision in a case that had gay rights going up against claims of religious freedom and, religion won, 7-2.
A couple had filed a claim against Colorado bake shop Masterpiece Cakeshop when the owner Jack Phillips, refused them service based on their orientation, claiming that he would not use his talents to promote same-sex marriage.
The case has been navigating through the court system since 2012, before landing on the SCOTUS desks’ in 2016, and after months of oral arguments, the decision siding with the baker comes as quite a shock. When the case began, we didn’t have marriage equality nationwide or at the Colorado state level, and one could argue about the constitutionality of it as the laws were not yet set in place. But now, the public will look at this decision as a follow-up to the 2015 ruling, and it’s not painting a pretty picture.
Even though this was a place of business engaging in sales to the public, Phillips claimed that his skills are artistic and make an expressive statement, therefore any design he creates would be an endorsement of his own voice, which taps into the First Amendment.
I’d like to point out that the couple hadn’t even discussed their cake vision with this baker before he refused service, so how can he say that his artistic expression would be challenged? If this cake looked like every other wedding cake (which very likely would have been the case), it wouldn’t have looked any different than a design that an opposite-sex couple would have had. It would have had flowers, or geometric details or literally any other typical cake design! Save for cake toppers (which are usually purchased/added by the couple), how many wedding cakes have you seen illustrate orientation? Well, I’ve literally seen thousands of wedding cakes and I can say with confidence that it very rarely happens.
While the opinion written by Justice Kennedy is written with intention specifically to this case, I worry that this decision can severe damage to the progress we’ve made within the wedding industry and nation toward same-sex marriage and equality.