Jack Phillips, the stubborn Christian baker who owns Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, is being sued again, this time because he refused to make a custom cake celebrating a clients’ gender transition. In 2012, the baker refused to bake a custom cake for a same-sex wedding and was accused of unlawful discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
In Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission (2018), the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 for Phillips overturning the decision of the Commission on the grounds that it was obviously biased against him as well as devout Christians. One commissioner even compared Phillips’s invocation of his Christian beliefs to justify rejecting the cake design to defenses of slavery and the Holocaust. Yeah, I remember that the Nazis were really unreasonable about cakes. SCOTUS never reached the constitutional question of whether the government can compel people to create speech or artistic expressions they object to on religious grounds or otherwise.
If a custom cake design is art, then I think the answer to this is easy: no. Similarly wedding photographs, though if you used what we got from our wedding photographer, calling them “art” is a stretch.
With a conservative Supreme Court, the baker wins. And yet…
The first time around, after finally getting all the facts, I held that both Phillips and the gay couple who obviously targeted him to bend him to their will were being jerks. My position hasn’t changed a bit. I wrote here,