In 2012, Jack Phillips refused to bake a wedding cake for Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig. In 2012. Same sex marriage was not legal in Colorado, and the Supreme Court had not yet ruled on the issue. It was a very different time. The State of Colorado charged Mr. Phillips with discrimination, and the case made its way to the Supreme Court, which ruled today. The Washington Times posted the story today.
The article in The Washington Times reports:
Mr. Phillips had argued as a Christian, he could not be forced to create a custom wedding cake for a homosexual couple, citing his First Amendment rights, though he said he offered to sell one of his standard cakes to them.
Colorado said his refusal broke the state’s public accommodation law prohibiting businesses from refusing service to anyone based on religion, race, sexual orientation and national origin.
During proceedings before the state’s civil rights commission one commissioner complained that freedom of religion had been used to “justify all kinds of discrimination throughout history, whether it be slavery, whether it be the Holocaust.” The commissioner called Mr. Phillips‘ beliefs “one of the most despicable pieces of rhetoric.”
Justice Kennedy said those statements undermined the state’s case against Mr. Phillips.
The Supreme Court ruled 7 to 2 in favor of Mr. Phillips. The two judges who ruled against Mr. Phillips were Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
Mr. Phillips is essentially a cake artist. The question becomes whether or not a person can be forced to use his art for something he fundamentally disagrees with. Artists are usually commissioned. If the charges against Mr. Phillips were allowed to stand, does that mean that an artist does not have the right to refuse to do a commissioned work? I think that is the ultimate question–does a person running a business have the right to choose their clientele?