Christian baker files religious freedom appeal in 'gay marriage' case [CNA]


#1

Denver, Colo., Jan 8, 2014 / 05:29 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A Christian baker in Colorado is appealing a judge’s ruling that he must violate his religious beliefs and bake a cake for a same-sex wedding ceremony.

“Jack simply exercised the long-cherished freedom to not speak by declining to promote a false view of marriage through his creative work,” explained lead counsel Nicolle Martin, who is allied with Alliance Defending Freedom.

“It’s outrageous that the government would turn its guns on Jack and threaten him with a potential jail sentence unless he says and does what the government demands.”

Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colo., declined in July 2012 to make a wedding cake for two men who had recently obtained a civil marriage license in Massachusetts.

Phillips explained that his evangelical Christian faith prevented him from making a cake for a “gay wedding.” In response, the two men filed a discrimination suit.

In December 2013, Colorado Judge Robert Spencer ruled that Phillips' actions constituted discrimination and do not fall under freedom of speech because the requested cake did not explicitly include text supporting “gay marriage.”

Judge Spencer also rejected Phillips claim that he has a right to live out his religious beliefs in his business decisions. The judge said that baking a wedding cake “does not involve an effort by the government to regulate what Respondents believe. Rather, it involves that state's regulation of conduct.”
 
Phillips was issued a  “cease and desist” order that required him to bake wedding cakes for same-sex couples.

He is now appealing that decision, aided by Alliance Defending Freedom, which argued in its summary judgment brief that the baker “did not discriminate 'because of' sexual orientation.”

“It is undisputed that Jack has served homosexual customers in the past, creating all manner of baked goods for a variety of occasions,” the brief explained, adding that Phillips had specifically told the couple that he would bake other products for them.

While Phillips is happy to serve homosexual customers, his faith prohibits him from affirming “gay marriage” ceremonies through his actions, the brief said.

In making this decision, he is exercising his right to live out his religious beliefs, the law group stated. Furthermore, by choosing not to bake a cake, he is refraining from participating and promoting speech and beliefs that he does not hold, a practice that is “both statutory and constitutional” under Colorado law.

In addition to avoiding participation in same-sex wedding ceremonies, Phillips closes his store on Sundays and “does not create baked goods for Halloween because of his deeply held religious beliefs.”

By requiring Phillips to “conform his conscience to their definition of marriage,” the legal brief stated, “Government is unconstitutionally attempting to force (him) to violate his sincerely held religious beliefs and to compel him to speak a message that is contrary to his actual beliefs.”

“Every artist must be free to create work that expresses what he or she believes and not be forced to express contrary views,” explained Senior Counsel Kristen Waggoner.

“Forcing Americans to promote ideas against their will undermines our constitutionally protected freedom of expression and our right to live free. If the government can take away our First Amendment freedoms, there is nothing it can’t take away.”

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Full article…


#2

This whole ordeal is ridiculous and Christians who make excuses for this kind of nonsense should be ashamed and re-examine their consciences more thoroughly. :yup:

This case is nothing more than a witch-hunt by activists who apparently would rather persecute Christians than enjoy their supposed “love” for each other. :mad:


#3

I agree. It’s a shame gay couples like this exist that put a black mark on the entire LGBT community, the vast majority of whom would never in a million years attempt to force someone to accept their wedding as legitimate.

[And before anyone says they are doing so via legalizing gay civil “marriage,” they aren’t. The government recognizing something does not force citizens to affirm it; a major example is the fact that the government does not force the Catholic Church to accept the re-marriages of divorced couples with living spouses. We still must oppose the legalization of gay “marriages” for the sake of their souls, but it is not equivalent to this case.]


#4

While I hear what you are saying - and to a great extent agree in that neither side, in my opinion, look good here - I would point out that this may well be far from a trivial issue to the couple involved. Being asked to move to the back of the bus, or to use a different drinking fountain, or even being called racist or homophobic names, are all also very trivial issues when seen in isolation, but if a person is subjected continuously to such ‘trivialities’ they can add up to a psycholically catastrophic whole.

I would also raise the point that the bakery in question was quite happy to sell cakes to a wedding for two dogs, which admittedly colours my view of the affair! :rolleyes:

I think the best way to look at these issues is looking at what would be a fair and reasonable accomodation between the rights of gay people not to suffer discrimination and those of religious people to act according to their faith. From that point of view simply demanding that religious people be free to discriminate at will even in business strikes me as being just as unfair as simply demanding that religious bakers find another job. :shrug:

The baker had reasonable options, such as politely declining without explicitly telling the gay couple that he felt their marriage to be a sham - e.g. looking at his books and just saying that that order would be very awkward for him (no need to say why) and that much as he hated to lose the custom could he recommend another baker. Alternatively, he could structure his business so that he only sold cakes through the Churches carrying out the wedding, at which point they can legally discriminate on whom they are willing to wed.

So other options exist - and I am not opposed to bringing in other options, such as an opt-out scheme for small businesses who are allowed to clearly declare on all advertising and to all customers that they ‘reserve the right not to serve homosexuals/blacks/women/whatever’ and then do so.

But just demanding that religious people be immune to anti-discrimination law is not, in my view, reasonable.


#5

But there is no shortage of bakeries that would serve a same-sex wedding. So it’s not equivalent, even if acting on same-sex attractions (a behavior) could be considered equivalent to merely the state of having same-sex attractions (a quality). These people were explicitly told they could always come there for any business that did not conflict with the owner’s religious values. If they wanted a birthday cake, the owner would gladly make one for them. So they were not denied for their qualities (their same-sex attractions) but rather their behavior (their entering into a “marriage”).

However, the dog “marriage” was clearly in jest. I think it was significantly more charitable of the bakery owner to deny the cake request than to make a cake in the spirit of jest such a fake “marriage” suggests (as any “marriage” not entered into by two fully willing, potent members of the opposite sex is not really a marriage). Surely you aren’t suggesting he treat their “marriage” the same as a dog’s!

We already have more than a fair and reasonable accomodation. It’s called 90+% of bakeries in Massachusetts would probably make their cake for them. Gay people, in no way, suffer from allowing religious bakers to deny service to specific events, and for people, such as this couple, to argue that they do suffer does grave injustice to the REAL suffering of the LGBT community. The rampant homophobia among parents who kick their gay children out of the house, the murders & violence against gay people in this country, and the constant threat of being harmed or isolated are far more pressing matters than “I can’t force this person to make me a cake! They must be violating my basic civil liberties!”

Are you suggesting that it would be better for religious people to lie to their customers instead of being honest and pleasant? “I love you guys, but you’re forcing me to choose between my religion and my work, and God always comes first.” is worse than “Find another baker. I’m busy.” in your opinion?

Once again, the business did not discriminate against them for their QUALITIES (being their race, their sexual orientation, their gender, etc.) in ANY way. They discriminated based on the event the couple wanted a cake made for. To give a ludicrous example that showcases the difference, suppose a Canadian couple went into a bakery in order to have a cake made for their “Leave the US and become Canadian” party. The bakery owner, in declining out of patriotism, would not be declining due to their qualities (e.g. them being Canadian, a fact they had little control over) but rather their event (advocating those in the US renounce their American citizenship for Canadian citizenship), even though the two items are connected in some way. While this scenario is incredibly unlikely to happen, it demonstrates the same dichotomy found in cases like this.

There is a reason you only see a handful of cases in court, whereas LGB people make up about 3.7% of the country (about 11-12 million people). Most LGB people, even those actively gay, recognize that there is nothing wrong with a store owner declining service to an event, as long as it is not a blanket ban on the customer themselves. And even if it were a blanket ban on the customer (which would be morally wrong, don’t get me wrong), there are significantly more pressing issues to tackle in the LGBT community, from the basic protection of our homeless youth and our physically-endangered youth & adults in homophobic areas to changes in health care, including improving our care of AIDS-inflicted individuals and reducing the high level of cigarette usage in the LGBT community.


#6

Yes, the discrimination is based on their "quality’. They are gay. The baker refused to bake a wedding cake for them because they are gay. That is discriminating against them based on their gayness. Since a heterosexual couple would never have a gay wedding, your argument does not stand.

I am against gay marriage, but I think that saying that a merchant who sells two weddings dresses for a lesbian wedding or a baker who bakes a cake for a gay wedding is engaging in sin is overbroad. People are confusing their culture war position with their religious position. Culture war positions do not get religious exemptions.

There is a reason you only see a handful of cases in court, whereas LGB people make up about 3.7% of the country (about 11-12 million people). Most LGB people, even those actively gay, recognize that there is nothing wrong with a store owner declining service to an event, as long as it is not a blanket ban on the customer themselves.

Why do you say this? Do you have any proof? Can you cite an opinion poll?


#7

So, a particular ShopRite store in New Jersey discriminates against 3-year-olds? Article here

I don’t think there’s any confusion at all - they’re refusing to participate in something that violates their morals. Should Catholic hospitals provide abortions simply because they’re legal?


#8

Apples and Volkswagens. Not sure what this has to do with anything.

I don’t think there’s any confusion at all - they’re refusing to participate in something that violates their morals. Should Catholic hospitals provide abortions simply because they’re legal?

Abortion? What? The Catholic position on abortion is that it is always evil. It is murder. Anyone who cooperates is guilty. There is a long line of thought on direct and indirect cooperation with abortion and what is excommunicable and what isn’t.

There is no such line of thought on baking wedding cakes for gay weddings. A gay wedding is not intrinsically evil in the same vein as abortion. The Church has not said that baking a cake is participating in a gay wedding, and has not said that participating is even prohibited.

So, you are left with, what? A Culture War position. Now, I understand that non-Catholic people can form their conscience in ways that we don’t agree with. But, to raise the objection of not baking a cake to the level of resisting abortion or not paying for birth control is a stretch that with ultimately snap back on us.


#9

I commend this baker 100%. Nobody should have to act against their religious beliefs, just because of anti discrimination laws. I don’t see how this is discrimination, they are not refusing them service because they are gay. I think it is awful, considering the fact that there would have been a lot of bakeries that would have had no problem with this. And besides, where is the “tolerance” they seem to believe. If the government starts taking away our 1st amendment rights, they surely will take away other freedoms as well. :mad:


#10

Pope Francis, the leader and shepherd of of the Catholic Church, described same-sex “marriage” as a “clear rejection of the law of God” and “a move of the Father of Lies who wishes to confuse and deceive the children of God.” That makes the issue pretty clearly “religious,” not simply a “culture war” position, whatever that is.


#11

A second marriage while the first spouse is alive is also a “clear rejection of the law of God” . Jesus himself said so. So, can a baker refuse to bake a cake for a second marriage when the first spouse is alive?


#12

I disagree. I don’t see this as a Catholic issue at all. It’s a conscience issue. Why should a business ‘have’ to perform any service that anyone requests? If I were the baker, i would have told them I’d make it, then I’d put it off, and then I’d just ‘forget’ to make it altogether. I’d say whoops, the ticket got lost -sorry, because I just wouldn’t be able to bring myself to do it… But not as a “Catholic”, but as for my personal conscience.


#13

Of course. If it bothers his conscience he should refuse. It should not be against the law to follow ones own conscience. Should it?


#14

If I was a baker, and somebody asked me to bake a cake depicting pictures of genitalia, for a gay sex party, and I refused -should I also be punished for that through the law?

I think this gay couple should have just gone somewhere else. But no. They want to fight. They want to alter the consciences of others to match theirs. It’s selfish. :cool:


#15

There would be chaos in the marketplace if everyone was allowed to discriminate against whomever they chose for whatever reason they have.


#16

I disagree again. According to the free market system, it’s in the best interest of the company to sell a product… That’s all the incentive needed. :shrug:

…but to enforce these laws is a violation of the dignity of the human person and his conscience.


#17

Exactly, and where is the “tolerance” that the LGBT community is supposed to preach?? I guess freedom of expression and religion are only acceptable if you match what they believe. I have a feeling that this will be happening more often, because of the spread of same sex “marriage”, and us Catholics/Christians have to stand up and say that we will not be silenced from our faith, and we will not give in to endorsing something we find immoral.


#18

Yeah, it’s all good until it’s turned around and you become the victim.

I do not want store owners to be able to discriminate against me because I’m Catholic, because I’m white, because I bank at a particular credit union, because I have four kids, because, because, because.


#19

PaulinVA,

In essence, what you are saying is that a faithful Catholic (who happens to be a baker) must either service everyone (no exceptions at all due to his conscience), or he must not be a baker. That is really what this comes down too–cooperate with something that goes against your faith and morals, or stop being a baker.

Is that really how we want to run things in the USA? Is that really what religious freedom means?


#20

We’ve hashed this out before on other threads.

And I posted this before. Listen to Walter Williams on this explicit point. Private businesses and organizations should be free to discriminate. As he says: “If you believe in freedom of association, you have to accept that people will choose to associate in ways that you find offensive.”

youtu.be/7butJGdUmK0

Watch starting about 7:30 into the video (especially about 9:00).

And so what if I become a victim of said discrimination? I get over it, I move on, and find a business that would be happy to serve me. Victimhood gets you nowhere. Get over your pity party and move on.


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