7 to 2: No Cake for You, Faggot

Masterpiece Cakeshop LTD. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission…

The United States Supreme Court has just ruled that it is LEGAL for the owner of a private business, otherwise open to serving the public, to refuse to serve a gay (queer, trans, etc) person based on the business owner’s religious beliefs.

There’s a lot more legal analysis that has to be done by Constitutional law experts before more definitive legal determinations can be made. But the really scary part about this decision is that it was a 7 to 2 decision by the Supreme Court, 7 ruling in favor of the homophobic business owner, 2 against. Which means that it’s not even close to being overturned by a subsequent court case. If anything, it signals the opposite: that subsequent cases are likely to be decided in favor of religious rights over human rights for queer people.

This case is not just limited to the rights of gay people…what it says is that the religious beliefs of a business owner are privileged over other human rights; that the religious beliefs of a business owner must be taken into consideration when deciding whether it is legal for him or her to discriminate against a customer, even if that customer asserts human rights based on another legally protected status, such as gender, ethnicity or other religious beliefs.

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11 thoughts on “7 to 2: No Cake for You, Faggot

  1. I don’t fully understand the ins and outs of the American legal system, but I do wonder if the ruling does give a vendor the right to discriminate simply because the customer has a sexual orientation or religion the vendor does not approve of. Isn’t it more a case of a vendor having the right to determine how his product or service can be used? For example I would refuse to decorate a cake to celebrate the 100th anniversary of a KKK chapter. Likewise I’d refuse to sell glue to someone who I believed was a solvent abuser, and refuse to sell a kitten that would be sacrificed as part of an occult ceremony. The difficulty lies in where to draw the line, but I think it wiser to leave it up to the discretion of the vendor.

    1. What about a cake vendor who doesn’t want to write ‘Allahu Akbar’ on the wedding cake of an Islamic couple, because it’s against his religion as a Christian?

      1. It really doesn’t matter whether he’s Christian, atheist, Jew or Muslim, if he doesn’t want to write ‘Allahu Akbar’ on a cake or ‘Trump: President for life’, then he shouldn’t be required to do so.

      2. Go back and read the US Supreme Court decision. The ‘narrow’ decision was that the Boulder CO Human Rights Commission did not sufficiently take into account the cake-bakers ‘religious beliefs.’ People are interpreting this as a decision about the cake-bakers ‘freedom of expression’ as an artistan, but the actual decision is about his ‘religious beliefs.’

      3. According to a post over at Amusing Nonsense: “SCOTUS held that the commission was required to exercise neutrality towards litigants with regards to the free exercise of religion. Because a commissioner was allowed to make non-neutral remarks against the baker in its decision, this neutrality was not present. As a result, the commission’s ruling was reversed.

        Questions about free exercise of religion, free speech, freedom from discrimination and even rights of private citizen verses business owner have been avoided in the decision. But clearly what it does not do is to grant the right to businesses to discriminate against an individual on the grounds that they don’t approve of the individual’s lifestyle. So I still believe that your original assertion that “The United States Supreme Court has just ruled that it is LEGAL for the owner of a private business, otherwise open to serving the public, to refuse to serve a gay (queer, trans, etc) person based on the business owner’s religious beliefs” is incorrect.

      4. Majority opinion
        The Court issued its ruling on June 4, 2018, ordering a reversal of the decision made by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The majority opinion was written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, and joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, and Justices Samuel Alito, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Neil Gorsuch. The opinion stated that although a baker, in his capacity as the owner of a business serving the public, “might have his right to the free exercise of his religion limited by generally applicable laws”, a State decision in an adjudication “in which religious hostility on the part of the State itself” is a factor violates the “State’s obligation of religious neutrality” under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution.[22] Kennedy’s opinion stated that the Commission’s review of Phillips’ case exhibited hostility towards his religious views. The Commission compared Phillips’ religious beliefs to defense of slavery or the Holocaust. Kennedy found such comparisons “inappropriate for a Commission charged with the solemn responsibility of fair and neutral enforcement of Colorado’s anti-discrimination law”.[23] Kennedy’s opinion also cited the three exemptions the commission previously granted for the non-discrimination law arising from the William Jack complaints. The opinion also noted differences in handling previous exemptions as indicative of Commission hostility towards religious belief, rather than maintaining neutrality.[24] Kennedy’s opinion noted that he may have been inclined to rule in favor of the Commission if they had remained religiously neutral in their evaluation.[25]

      5. Concurring opinions[edit]
        Justice Kagan wrote a concurring opinion, joined by Breyer, taking particular notice of the narrow grounds of the ruling.[26] Justice Gorsuch also wrote a concurring opinion, joined by Alito. Both Kagan’s and Gorsuch’s concurrence considered how the Commission handled Masterpiece differently than prior exemption requests. Kagan and Gorsuch concurrence agreed the Commission exhibited hostility towards Phillips’ religious beliefs and concurred with the reversal. Kagan cited as significant differences between prior Commission exemptions and the instant case. She posited the Commission could have ruled differently in the two situations if they had stayed religiously-neutral. Gorsuch indicated the Commission should maintain consistency among similar cases.[27]

        Justice Clarence Thomas wrote another opinion, concurring in part and concurring in judgment, joined by Gorsuch. Thomas found that the Majority opinion did not consider the free speech, free exercise or anti-discrimination implications of the case, despite significant attention during oral arguments.[28][29] Thomas opined support for Masterpiece, both on grounds of free speech and free exercise

      6. From Health Law News:
        On June 4, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission and ruled in favor of Jack Phillips, a Colorado baker who refused to create a wedding cake for a same-sex couple due to his religious opposition to same-sex marriages. The Supreme Court held that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission (“Commission”), when it applied the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (“CADA”) and determined that Phillips could not refuse to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple if he baked wedding cakes for opposite-sex couples, showed an animus towards Phillips based on his religious beliefs that was not consistent with the First Amendment’s guarantee that laws be applied in a manner that is neutral to religion.

      7. This is a direct, word-for-word quote from the ACTUAL DECISION by the US Supreme Court:

        Held: The Commission’s actions in this case violated the Free Exercise Clause. Pp. 9–18.
        (a) The laws and the Constitution can, and in some instances must, protect gay persons and gay couples in the exercise of their civil rights, but religious and philosophical objections to gay marriage are protected views and in some instances protected forms of expression. See Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U. S. ___, ___. While it is unexceptional that Colorado law can protect gay persons in acquiring products and services on the same terms and conditions as are offered to other members of the public, the law must be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion.

        (b) That consideration was compromised, however, by the Commission’s treatment of Phillips’ case, which showed elements of a clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs motivating his objection.

        (c) For these reasons, the Commission’s treatment of Phillips’ case violated the State’s duty under the First Amendment not to base laws or regulations on hostility to a religion or religious viewpoint. The government, consistent with the Constitution’s guarantee of free exercise, cannot impose regulations that are hostile to the religious beliefs of affected citizens and cannot act in a manner that passes judgment upon or presupposes the illegitimacy of religious beliefs and practices.

        https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/17pdf/16-111_j4el.pdf

        Note: the short form ‘free exercise’ always and only refers to the “free exercise of religion” clause of the Constitution, while ‘free speech’ is always ‘free speech.’

        For those of you who don’t know, the word “HELD” designates the Supreme Court’s decision. When you want to know EXACTLY what the Supreme Court decided, you look for the word “HELD”. What follows after that is the Court’s decision. The ‘Discussion’ section goes through all the ‘whys and wherefores’, prior cases, arguments for and against, etc. but it’s the HELD section that tells you EXACTLY what the Supreme Court decided.

      8. “but RELIGIOUS OBJECTIONS and philosophical objections to GAY marriage are PROTECTED VIEWS.”

        I’m so glad you made me do this because the wording of the ACTUAL DECISION is far worse than the press makes it out to be. It says OBJECTIONS to GAY marriage for RELIGIOUS reasons are PROTECTED VIEWS.”

        Does that sound like ‘free speech to write what you want on the cake as an artisan cake-baker (including not writing anything)? NO it sounds like OBJECTIONS TO GAY MARRIAGE ON RELIGIOUS GROUNDS IS A PROTECTED VIEW UNDER THE FREE EXERCISE OF RELIGION CLAUSE.

        It’s about the cake-baker’s religious views on GAY marriage.

        And by the way I happen to be a graduate of CUNY Law School, a Lawyer and a Member of the Massachusetts Bar.

      9. “cannot impose regulations that are hostile to the religious beliefs of affected citizens.” So if your religious belief is that you won’t serve GAY people or GAY marriage, then the government cannot impose a regulation that is HOSTILE to (i.e. OPPOSES) that belief.

        The word “hostile” is a legal term of art that means something different than “saying mean things” about your religious beliefs, in common language. It means enacting a law (or a legal decision) that is directly opposed to your beliefs. ‘Directly opposed’ can be something as plain as “you cannot discriminate against X persons for religious reasons.” That is considered “hostile” under the law.

        This case is ONLY about the cake-baker’s religious beliefs, it has NOTHING TO DO with freedom of speech. This case is ONLY about the cake-baker’s RELIGIOUS OBJECTIONS TO GAY MARRIAGE AS A PROTECTED VIEW. PERIOD.

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