I am pleased that the Supreme Court will be taking the case of Jack Phillips, the Colorado baker who refused to sell a wedding cake to a gay couple because, he said, they wanted it to be customized, and doing so would offend his faith. His claim is based on the First Amendment, which prevents the government from making you say what you don’t want to say as much as it prevents the government from stopping you from saying what you want to.
Colorado’s courts denied that Phillips was doing anything but saying that he doesn’t like or respect gays sufficiently to make the exact same cake for them that he would make for non-gays. I agree with their holding that his actions violated the public accommodations laws. I wrote when this case first reared its frosted head…
“The court’s conclusion is impossible to rebut. The cake the baker was asked to bake for the gay wedding differed not at all from one he would normally sell a straight couple. In truth, this had nothing to do with expression. He was just refusing to serve a gay couple because of their sexual orientation. Selling them a standard cake would neither constitute, nor would it be recognized as a “message” in support of gay marriage.
The Court agreed that a wedding cake with a customized message celebrating a same-sex marriage as such might implicate First Amendment speech issues, but “we need not reach this issue,” the court said. “We note, again, that Phillips denied Craig’s and Mullins’ request without any discussion regarding the wedding cake’s design or any possible written inscriptions.”
In other words, Phillips was gratuitously and unnecessarily being a cruel jerk. An alleged Christian who is unable to detect the basic Golden Rule application in treating fellow citizens with the minimal level of respect inherent in allowing them to buy a standard wedding cake requiring no “Yay Gay!” or “Charlie and David Forever!” messages in pink frosting deserves no sympathy or quarter from the law. Could the couple have just shrugged and found another bakery? Sure, they could have. Linda Brown could also have just shrugged and found an all-black school to attend, too.
The gay couple are not the villains here. Jack Phillips broke the social contract, as well as the law.”
Now that SCOTUS has decided, by agreeing to review the case, that he has perhaps a scrawny, shaky legal leg to stand on before thy kick it out from under him, Phillips and his lawyer are taking a premature victory lap, as if making it quite clear that you think gays are second class citizens is something to be proud of (and, sadly, too many still think it is.) Their publicity campaign took them all the way to The View, a wise choice. After all, nothing can make an unethical position seem more persuasive than when it is being attacked by idiots, and idiots of the left-wing persuasion are pretty much what ABC’s “Six Opinionated Female B and C List Celebrities Sitting Around Slamming Conservatives” daytime show has to offer. (To be fair, the show usually has one even dumber right-wing idiot on hand to make the left-wing idiots seem astute by comparison.)
Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Kristen Waggoner had just told the panel that “The same laws that force Jack to design custom expression will force you to speak messages that you don’t want to speak. ” Well, not really, since the “custom” message that the couple wanted had nothing to do with gay marriage, was their message, not the cake-maker’s, would not and could not reasonably be attributed to the cake-maker, and thus was not forced expression. Sign makers can’t refuse to make “Wedding here!” signs for gay couples when they sell the same sign for heterosexual couples—no, even if he uses pretty calligraphy to do it. Caterers can’t refuse to cater a gay wedding by arguing that their canapes are “artistic expression.” Phillips is a bigot who thinks he’s found a loophole, just like Kim Davis, the clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky, who claimed that her Christian faith barred her from authorizing same-sex marriages, even though they are now legal, even though authorizing them was part of her job.
Ah, but once Joy Behar, the most smug knee-jerk progressive and ignorant of The View’s ladies, weighed in, Phillips and Waggoner almost made sense.
“Oh come on. Jesus would have made the cake, ” she said. “Jesus, that’s a deal breaker. Jesus is going to make the cake.”
I’m sure that’s the basis on which the Supreme Court justices will rule, Joy. Their intimate knowledge, after definitive evidence is produced, that Jesus Christ would have made a customized wedding cake for this couple, despite the fact that he didn’t make cakes, wasn’t in business, wedding cakes were unheard of, gays couldn’t get married, and there were no public accommodation laws. “Jesus would agree with me” is the ultimate appeal to authority.
This is a legal issue now, not an ethical one. Though Phillips refuses to admit it, the ethical thing would be to treat these customers like any other customers: his actions are unethical, and Joy, you dolt, would be unethical whether Jesus would agree with him or not. What he and the lawyer are asserting is that the government can’t make him write a generic wedding message on a cake for a gay couple when he would happily accept the money of a conventional couple to write the exact same thing. There is an important principle involved, and that principle and the definitions it requires to be applied—like what is art, what is expression, and what is a public accommodation—have nothing to do with Jesus whatsoever.
But this another reason why so many Americans are ignorant and devoid of critical reasoning skills people who they assume know what they are talking about because they are on TV reduce complex issues to simple-minded nostrums, like “what would Jesus do?”