RightNation.US
News (Home) | Righters' Blog | Hollywood Halfwits | Our Store | New User Intro | Link to us | Support Us

RightNation.US: Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission - RightNation.US

Jump to content

-----
Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission

Yesterday, December 5th, oral arguments were made before the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) regarding the case Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. (SCOTUSblog) Although I'm interested in this case (and similar cases), I haven't posted much about it. Tonight, I want to organize my thoughts without trying to guess what the outcome will be.


A cake is just a cake; it's not a "message" until you write something on it

Or put images or symbols on it; otherwise, it's just food. At least in the eyes of the law. (I'm using "write" as shorthand for explicit messaging.) The pragmatic "purposes" of a wedding cake are: To have a pleasing appearance, to be large enough that everyone can have a slice, and to taste good. That's it. Yes, the "end users", the couple and their guests, may assign some emotional significance to it but I think that's a result of the context and the moment. I've attended plenty of weddings, and most of them had cakes, but I don't remember one of them. It's dessert.

From a business perspective, it's a product; and the manufacturing of that product is a service. No matter how pretty, fancy, or "custom" it may be (or how expensive), if you're a professional cake-maker then it's business. If you're in the business of making and selling cakes to the public, then you have to play by the same rules as everyone else.

Now, if potential clients want you to write something on a cake, and you disagree with that message, then you shouldn't be forced to write it. However, that doesn't mean you should refuse to make the cake. See the distinction I'm making here? If Phillips had said: "I'll make a wedding cake for you but I won't write the names of two men on it; you can do that yourself", then I don't think he'd be in the situation he's in now. And there's precedent for that:

An anti-gay activist, who was apparently trying to "make a point", went to a bakery and requested a cake in the shape of a book (I.E.: The Bible), and wanted it inscribed with anti-gay messages. The proprietor said she would make the book-shaped cake but declined to attach those messages. He filed a complaint with the Civil Rights division of the Department of Regulatory Agencies (yes, this also occurred in Colorado), and the baker won the case. See, she didn't unilaterally refuse his request (as Phillips did), she just drew the line at the "message" aspect.

A cake is not a message until you explicitly make it so.


The SCOTUS case is about more than just a cake

Both sides of the public debate, for or against the baker, acknowledge the potentially far-reaching ramifications of a SCOTUS ruling on this case. It's really not about just a cake anymore; when SCOTUS "speaks", that's precedent.

My opinion, delineated above, makes clear my hope that SCOTUS does not try to carve out a "narrow" ruling in favor of the baker (which is what his legal team has argued). Such "religious liberty" arguments can just as easily be applied to other situations (services, accommodations, etc.), and against other groups. Although religious beliefs and practices are constitutionally protected against unnecessary government interference or proscription, that doesn't mean that subjective faith beliefs supersede all civil law. "I think God said so" does not excuse all behaviors, especially when such actions cause harm to others. You can believe whatever you like, and practice your faith as you see fit, so long as you don't tread on the rights of others, because then the government has a compelling interest to intervene.

A ruling against Phillips would mean that he (and others) must observe the same rules as everyone else when conducting business in the public marketplace. A ruling in favor of Phillips would embolden all sorts of invidious behaviors.


Other possible outcome

Justice Kennedy made note of comments by a member of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, who likened Phillips' use of religious belief to slavery and the Holocaust, and referred to rhetoric supporting him as "deplorable". Kennedy rightly wondered whether Colorado had given Phillips fair hearings. So, a possible outcome is that SCOTUS will punt this back to state, essentially saying: "You didn't do it right; try again".

Although anti-climactic, that wouldn't bother me. I want this case to be excruciatingly correct; and if there's any reasonable question about treatment, then it needs to be resolved. It doesn't necessarily mean that Colorado would change its ruling, just that the process would be more inarguably fair.


Speaking of fairness

It's only fair that I mention my dislike of Phillips' legal team, notably the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). I'm very familiar with this group, they feature prominently in what I call the "Anti-Gay Brigade" (AGB); and based on their actions, the SPLC has designated them as an anti-LGBT hate group.

None of that matters before the bench, and courts must rule based on the arguments and evidence presented. If judges were to make decisions based on their opinions of the ideological leanings of legal representatives practicing before them, then none of us could be guaranteed a fair trial.
0
  Like

8 Comments On This Entry

Businesses used to lose business if they didn't discriminate (e.g. some white people who didn't want to eat around "colored folk" wouldn't go to the diner if they'd be eating in a mixed-race environment). So some people though anti-discrimination laws were the only way to force integration. Nowdays business lose money if they do discriminate. Are laws still needed, or should we allow people the freedom to do business or not do business with whoever they want and let society figure things out with out the force of the government butting in?
0
To a Christian, a marriage is a sacrament between a man and a woman before God. Forget that people and governments have put their paws all over the institution because that is secondary to the religious commitment of the couple before God.

In that case, a "Wedding Cake" already has meaning. Period. Through it's very purpose...to be served at a wedding...it has meaning. This was not some couple who came in to buy a cake that they would then serve at a wedding. The came in to special order, i.e. contract for, a "Wedding Cake" to be made specifically for their...wait for it...wedding.

The baker did not want to make them a "Wedding Cake" because of his religious convictions on what constitutes marriage. He chose not to enter into a contract to custom produce that cake specifically for them and their WEDDING. He did not refuse to simply sell them a cake, which is what you are disingenuously implying.

We used to be free in this country. Every time a homosexual activist decides that he (or they) are simply incapable of going to another service provider and lunatic courts uphold their complaints, we become less free.

Way to go!!
0

imposter, on 09 December 2017 - 08:56 AM, said:

Businesses used to lose business if they didn't discriminate (e.g. some white people who didn't want to eat around "colored folk" wouldn't go to the diner if they'd be eating in a mixed-race environment). So some people though anti-discrimination laws were the only way to force integration. Nowdays business lose money if they do discriminate. Are laws still needed, or should we allow people the freedom to do business or not do business with whoever they want and let society figure things out with out the force of the government butting in?



I think society has “figure[d] things out”; it has been collectively decided that everyone should be equitably treated in the public square. Our elected representatives began passing non-discrimination ordinances; and those (when carefully crafted) have repeatedly passed judicial/constitutional muster. What do you think would happen without these laws; there are reasons why they were passed.
0

JerryL, on 11 December 2017 - 07:11 AM, said:

To a Christian, a marriage is a sacrament between a man and a woman before God. Forget that people and governments have put their paws all over the institution because that is secondary to the religious commitment of the couple before God.

In that case, a "Wedding Cake" already has meaning. Period. Through it's very purpose...to be served at a wedding...it has meaning. This was not some couple who came in to buy a cake that they would then serve at a wedding. The came in to special order, i.e. contract for, a "Wedding Cake" to be made specifically for their...wait for it...wedding.

The baker did not want to make them a "Wedding Cake" because of his religious convictions on what constitutes marriage. He chose not to enter into a contract to custom produce that cake specifically for them and their WEDDING. He did not refuse to simply sell them a cake, which is what you are disingenuously implying.

We used to be free in this country. Every time a homosexual activist decides that he (or they) are simply incapable of going to another service provider and lunatic courts uphold their complaints, we become less free.

Way to go!!


Jerry, I don’t think I was disingenuous at all. It’s sparklingly clear that Craig and Mullins went to Masterpiece to purchase a WEDDING cake, and that Phillips refused to serve them in that context. They didn’t even get to the point of discussing the design or message; once Phillips knew he was facing a gay couple, he refused to sell them that kind of cake. That was the catalyst for this case.

I don’t mean to challenge anyone’s religious beliefs, or Phillips’ reasoning for refusing this couple. (True, I don’t think a wedding cake is in any way sacramental.) My opinion is that he would have been better off if he had agreed to make the cake but declined to “message” it in a manner that offended his faith. Had Phillips done that, I would be on his side.

Finally, I agree that the state allowing religious leaders to solemnize civil marriages sends a mixed message. It would be better to have the civil aspects completed before going on to have one’s marriage sanctified. That way, everyone is the same under the law, and those who desire a religious ceremony are satisfied as well.
0
Actually you are and you not being honest in your response, either.

Phillips didn't have "wedding cakes" to sell or to serve. The couple was free to purchase any cake that he did have on sale, but they wanted to enter into a contract for Phillips to custom make them a "wedding cake." He chose not to enter into that contract. You are deliberately trying to make this sound as if a homosexual couple came into his bakery and they were refused service. That is untrue. One.

You don't have to "message" a wedding. The wedding cake IS the message. It says so right in the name, "Wedding Cake." He did not want to participate in a ceremony that goes against his religious beliefs. For him, custom making a wedding cake for them would have been doing that. Two.

Besides that, I saw a small clip on this guy and his family and the bakery. The name of the bakery is based on a Biblical concept. There are Bible verses and Christian references all over his bakery. This couple came in with the express purpose of becoming butthurt media drama queens and pursuing a lawsuit. In other words, they came in with the intention of trying to destroy a Christian if he followed his values and beliefs. No way they chose this bakery at random and without an agenda.
0

JerryL, on 20 December 2017 - 06:40 AM, said:

Actually you are and you not being honest in your response, either.

Phillips didn't have "wedding cakes" to sell or to serve. The couple was free to purchase any cake that he did have on sale, but they wanted to enter into a contract for Phillips to custom make them a "wedding cake." He chose not to enter into that contract. You are deliberately trying to make this sound as if a homosexual couple came into his bakery and they were refused service. That is untrue. One.

You don't have to "message" a wedding. The wedding cake IS the message. It says so right in the name, "Wedding Cake." He did not want to participate in a ceremony that goes against his religious beliefs. For him, custom making a wedding cake for them would have been doing that. Two.

Besides that, I saw a small clip on this guy and his family and the bakery. The name of the bakery is based on a Biblical concept. There are Bible verses and Christian references all over his bakery. This couple came in with the express purpose of becoming butthurt media drama queens and pursuing a lawsuit. In other words, they came in with the intention of trying to destroy a Christian if he followed his values and beliefs. No way they chose this bakery at random and without an agenda.


Masterpiece does indeed have a wedding cake “gallery”; see their website. I’m not sure why you said: “Phillips didn't have ‘wedding cakes’ to sell or to serve”; but he clearly did. And the couple clearly wanted to purchase a wedding cake from Phillips. I consider this inarguable, and the references I provided support it. I did not say, and did not mean to imply, that Phillips refused to sell them anything; he refused service in the same specific regard that brought the couple to his shop.

We disagree about cake and message, and that’s okay. I detailed what I meant by “message” above. Since this is a court case, I’m looking at it from a civil law perspective, and think I see a way for SCOTUS to “split the difference” between belief and actions.

In everything I’ve read about this case, the couple’s “express purpose” was to buy a wedding cake from Phillips. If you can provide objective evidence that “they came in with the intention of trying to destroy a Christian”, I’d like to see it.
0

MADGestic, on 02 January 2018 - 09:16 PM, said:

JerryL, on 20 December 2017 - 06:40 AM, said:

Actually you are and you not being honest in your response, either. Phillips didn't have "wedding cakes" to sell or to serve. The couple was free to purchase any cake that he did have on sale, but they wanted to enter into a contract for Phillips to custom make them a "wedding cake." He chose not to enter into that contract. You are deliberately trying to make this sound as if a homosexual couple came into his bakery and they were refused service. That is untrue. One.You don't have to "message" a wedding. The wedding cake IS the message. It says so right in the name, "Wedding Cake." He did not want to participate in a ceremony that goes against his religious beliefs. For him, custom making a wedding cake for them would have been doing that. Two.Besides that, I saw a small clip on this guy and his family and the bakery. The name of the bakery is based on a Biblical concept. There are Bible verses and Christian references all over his bakery. This couple came in with the express purpose of becoming butthurt media drama queens and pursuing a lawsuit. In other words, they came in with the intention of trying to destroy a Christian if he followed his values and beliefs. No way they chose this bakery at random and without an agenda.
Masterpiece does indeed have a wedding cake “gallery”; see their website. I’m not sure why you said: “Phillips didn't have ‘wedding cakes’ to sell or to serve”; but he clearly did. And the couple clearly wanted to purchase a wedding cake from Phillips. I consider this inarguable, and the references I provided support it. I did not say, and did not mean to imply, that Phillips refused to sell them anything; he refused service in the same specific regard that brought the couple to his shop. We disagree about cake and message, and that’s okay. I detailed what I meant by “message” above. Since this is a court case, I’m looking at it from a civil law perspective, and think I see a way for SCOTUS to “split the difference” between belief and actions. In everything I’ve read about this case, the couple’s “express purpose” was to buy a wedding cake from Phillips. If you can provide objective evidence that “they came in with the intention of trying to destroy a Christian”, I’d like to see it.

Yes, Masterpiece had a "Gallery" of Wedding Cakes. You do know what a "Gallery" is, right? It shows things that have been done and created there. It is not a catalog nor are the items made and sold daily. The "Gallery" showed previous CUSTOM cakes that had been made. You did notice that the page you linked to specifically states that they are no longer taking CUSTOM ORDERS for Wedding Cakes? Funny that I don't find the link to the regular (not custom) wedding cakes on that page. Could it be because they did not and do not exist? You are implying that wedding cakes were just sitting around ready to be sold and he refused to sell one to the homosexual couple. This is dishonest and false. You can consider it "inarguable" all you want but your link doesn't even support your assertion.

That we do, disagree about the cake. Splitting the difference is nothing more than code for homosexuals AGAIN forcing their will on the people at the expense of individual freedom. But whatever floats your boat.

You know, MADG, sometimes I have to wonder if you truly believe the things that you post, if you are willfully ignorant, or if you simply don't care if you are unobjective as long as it pushes your agenda. You have NEVER, that I have seen, sided against the SJW actions, or any other actions, of a homosexual. Having seen the track record and MO of homosexual activists, having seen a report on this cake shop and the owner, it is clear to me that they and he were targeted. No amount of evidence would ever make you believe that.
0

JerryL, on 03 January 2018 - 05:39 AM, said:

(snip for brevity; see above)
Yes, Masterpiece had a "Gallery" of Wedding Cakes. You do know what a "Gallery" is, right? It shows things that have been done and created there. It is not a catalog nor are the items made and sold daily. The "Gallery" showed previous CUSTOM cakes that had been made. You did notice that the page you linked to specifically states that they are no longer taking CUSTOM ORDERS for Wedding Cakes? Funny that I don't find the link to the regular (not custom) wedding cakes on that page. Could it be because they did not and do not exist? You are implying that wedding cakes were just sitting around ready to be sold and he refused to sell one to the homosexual couple. This is dishonest and false. You can consider it "inarguable" all you want but your link doesn't even support your assertion.

That we do, disagree about the cake. Splitting the difference is nothing more than code for homosexuals AGAIN forcing their will on the people at the expense of individual freedom. But whatever floats your boat.

You know, MADG, sometimes I have to wonder if you truly believe the things that you post, if you are willfully ignorant, or if you simply don't care if you are unobjective as long as it pushes your agenda. You have NEVER, that I have seen, sided against the SJW actions, or any other actions, of a homosexual. Having seen the track record and MO of homosexual activists, having seen a report on this cake shop and the owner, it is clear to me that they and he were targeted. No amount of evidence would ever make you believe that.


In the context of a commercial website (trying to attract customers), I think the “gallery” acts as a catalogue; IOW: “This is what we can do for you”. It is similar to (or even the same as) what they would show to walk-in or referred clients. And yes, Masterpiece used to make CUSTOM wedding cakes; I have not disputed that, and I don’t think it’s relevant to the court case. Making cakes (including custom wedding cakes) is the service they have been selling to the public. I apologize for not understanding why you think this is significant.

Philips has stated that he sells various item to gay folks and couples, and I have no reason to disbelieve him. Yet he still violated the non-discrimination ordinance in this case; and yes, that is inarguable.

Jerry, I really don’t want our discussion to devolve into ad hominem tit-for-tat, and I do not question your belief in your arguments. I’m not as much of an “activist” (SJW or otherwise) as you seem to believe, and have taken many positions (and made many arguments) that show it. You clearly do not agree with my distinction between the cake and the “messaging”, and I’m okay with that.
0
Page 1 of 1