Personal Liberty Poll
When government creates special rights for one group, it inevitably does so at the expense of the natural rights of the majority.
Such is the case with abortion, where the courts created out of whole cloth a “right” for the mother at the expense of the unborn child’s right to life. And such is the case with gay marriage and a recent judge’s ruling in Colorado that will require the owner of a bakery to serve homosexual couples over his religious objections.
Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips declined to bake a cake for Charlie Craig and David Mullins when he learned it was to celebrate their “gay” marriage. Colorado doesn’t recognize gay marriages, but the men had “married” in Massachusetts.
Phillips opposes homosexuality on religious grounds, and he decided that providing a cake for the couple would violate his conscience.
Administrative law judge Robert N. Spencer ruled Masterpiece Cakeshop discriminated against the men “because of their sexual orientation by refusing to sell them a wedding cake for their same-sex marriage.” He ordered the shop to “cease and desist from discriminating” but did not impose fines in the case. However, he made it clear that businesses will face penalties if they turn away gay couples for religious reasons.
Masterpiece Cakeshop’s attorney Nicolle Martin said the judge’s order puts Phillips in the impossible position of going against his Christian faith.
“He can’t violate his conscience in order to collect a paycheck,” she said. “If Jack can’t make wedding cakes, he can’t continue to support his family. And in order to make wedding cakes, Jack must violate his belief system. That is a reprehensible choice. It is antithetical to everything America stands for.”
This case echoes a recent case in Washington State where a florist was sued by the State Attorney General for refusing to provide flowers for the wedding of two men. Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers & Gifts, has since countersued the State.
In a similar case, the New Mexico Supreme court ruled in August that a Christian couple could not refuse to photograph a lesbian commitment ceremony. Gay marriages are not legal in New Mexico.
In 2006, Elane Huguenin, owner of Elane’s photography, cited her Christian beliefs as a reason to decline to photograph a ceremony for Vanessa Willock. The U.S. Supreme Court has been petitioned to hear Huguenin’s appeal.
Note that there was no evidence in any of the cases that the businesses refused to serve the customers on the basis of their sexual preferences. In fact, in two of the cases the customers had bought items from the businesses on several occasions. And in each of the cases nothing the businesses did prevented the homosexual couples from holding their ceremonies, but the courts still ruled against the 1st Amendment rights of the business owners.
A common refrain from supporters of gay marriage legalization is that laws allowing gays to marry won’t affect anyone outside the couple. Clearly, this not the case.