The Continued Persecution of Masterpiece Cakeshop

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

A man once refused to custom design a wedding cake for a same-sex wedding. Activists got the Colorado state government to essentially shut him down, and his case went all the way up to the Supreme Court.

In a 7-2 ruling, the Supreme Court sided with Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop but narrowly: It wasn’t a victory for his right to practice his faith in his work, but it was an acknowledgment that the government agency that was trying to shut him down did so with “clear and impermissible hostility” to Phillips’ faith.

LGBT activists, either unaware that there are multiple bakers in Colorado or trying to get Phillips shut down, tried to get him to decorate a cake to celebrate a gender transition. Once again, he refused, and once again, he is being taken back to court this week.

A Colorado baker who won a partial victory at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018 for refusing to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple went on trial Monday in yet another lawsuit, this one involving a birthday cake for a transgender woman. Autumn Scardina attempted to order the birthday cake on the same day in 2017 that the high court announced it would hear baker Jack Phillips’ appeal in the wedding cake case.

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In opening arguments, a lawyer representing Phillips, Sean Gates, said his refusal to make Scardina’s cake was about its message, not discriminating against Scardina, echoing assertions made in his defense in the legal battle over his refusal to make a wedding cake for Charlie Craig and Dave Mullins in 2012. With Phillips getting media attention since then, he could not create a cake with a message he disagreed with, Gates said.

“The message would be that he agrees that a gender transition is something to be celebrated,” said Gates, who noted later that Phillips had objected to making cakes with other messages he disagreed with, including Halloween items.

Before filing her lawsuit, Scardina filed a complaint against Phillips with the state, and the Colorado Civil Rights Commission found probable cause that Phillips had discriminated against her. Phillips then filed a federal lawsuit against Colorado, accusing it of waging a “crusade to crush” him by pursuing the complaint.

Many Christians practice their worship through work, and forcing those Christians to accept things that violate the basic pillars of their faith has been a growing trend among LGBT activists.

The Supreme Court will be forced to answer this question as Phillips’ case inevitably makes it to the highest court to be settled. Does a state agency have the ability to force someone to violate their political beliefs? The First Amendment would suggest that no government has the ability to do that, but that depends on your interpretation of “prohibiting the free exercise” of religion. In a perfect world, people would understand that your rights do not mean you can infringe on someone else’s. Even the freedom of speech has limits, as the Supreme Court has ruled time and again.

The freedom to celebrate a same-sex wedding and the freedom to be accepted as any gender regardless of your biological designation should not encroach on the practice of someone else’s exercise of religion.

Jack Phillips, who exercises his faith through his work, is not discriminating against the LGBT community by refusing to make a custom cake for a same-sex wedding or a gender transition. He offered to sell a pre-made wedding cake to the same-sex couple. He was not providing one of his services on religious grounds. There are other bakers, and there wasn’t irreparable harm done to these customers.

He is being targeted for his beliefs, not because he is intolerant but because others are intolerant of his beliefs, and when the government sides with the latter, it is directly infringing on his First Amendment rights.