Does a business owner have the right to refuse to make a wedding cake for a gay couple because the baker, based on his religious beliefs, does not approve of same-sex marriages?
This is the thorny issue facing our U.S. Supreme Court justices. It’s a discrimination case that resulted from a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. At issue is the baker’s First Amendment claims of artistic freedom against the discrimination arguments.
The court isn’t expected to make a decision until June 2018.
What we are seeing here is a balancing of “rights” by the court in its deliberations. What about the rights of the business operated by the baker, who already has gotten out of the wedding cake business? What about the rights of the same-sex couple who ordered the cake?
The federal law does not protect the gay couples from discrimination, but more than 20 states do have laws to protect them. States and local governments outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation, as they forbid bias against customers for reasons of race, sex, religion, disabilities and other attributes, according to The Wall Street Journal.
In the cake case, the legal dispute began in 2012. The couple filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division. An administrative judge and the seven-member commission determined that the bakery must offer wedding cakes to same-sex couples on the same terms as other customers. A state appellate court upheld the commission’s decision and the baker quit selling wedding cakes.
The case raises the legal question of whether the cake is speech under the Constitution. The baker’s lawyer said he is an artist and with expressive rights equal to asculptor or painter and he can refuse to bake a cake as ordered by a gay couple. The attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union argued that to side with the baker would undermine broad antidiscrimination laws, including those passed to protect African-Americans, The Journal reported.
We have too many laws that were passed to protect “rights” that actually destroy other rights, which actually limit freedoms. We do understand that many laws do restrict our freedoms, but are needed for the protection of citizens. A sound argument can be made, for instance, for traffic laws as necessary to protect not only the motorist, but other people. A businessman should have the freedom to reject selling his product to anyone as long as it does not endanger the safety of other people.
Is there such a thing as the right to discriminate as long as it does not endanger the safety of others? The gay couple could go elsewhere for a cake. They were not damaged.
What about freedom to express religious beliefs?
It seams as if this case is making a legal mountain out of a piece of cake!