Can a business argue religious reasons to prevent serving the LGBT community? According to a recent Supreme Court decision, the precedent was made possible.
On Monday, June 04th, 2018, the Supreme Court ruled on Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission in a 7-2 decision favoring a Colorado baker who refused to make same-sex couple Charlie Craig and Dave Mullins a wedding cake.
Masterpiece Cakeshop, owned and operated by baker Jack Phillips, refused the couple’s request of a wedding cake in 2012, citing his religious beliefs as cause. The couple took the issue to Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The Court’s decision was finally given six years later.
After many years of waiting, Justice Kennedy gave the Opinion of the Court. He said that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission’s “hostility was inconsistent with the First Amendment and that our laws be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion.”
The Bible is a very intricate piece with many verses to adhere to, though one stands out when thinking of this case, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets,” (Matthew 22: 37-40).
Phillips claims his religion as Christianity, and therefore practices the teachings in the Christian Bible. Phillips stated that if he were to make the same-sex couple a wedding cake, it would have been a “personal endorsement and participation in the ceremony and relationship they were entering into,” that he would be using his creativity to design a wedding cake for an issue that goes against his freedom of religion right.
While taking this into consideration, Phillips can support and “love thy neighbor as thyself” regardless of their sexual orientation. Phillips does not have to agree with same-sex marriage, but this should not hinder his ability to bake a cake.
Passages such as Leviticus 20:13 are often used to discredit passages such as Matthew 22: 37-40, though the context is unclear. Leviticus 20:13 states, “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination…” So, the question remains, what does “lie” mean? Homosexuality, or just physically lying next to each other? We don’t really know.
Phillips is guaranteed his First Amendment rights as anyone else, but if he is unable to do his job because of his beliefs, should he be employed as a baker?
Should a cashier be able to refuse to sell wedding décor to a same-sex couple? Should a catering company refuse service to a same-sex couples’ wedding, too? Where is the line drawn? This decision has set a negative precedent for same-sex marriage services for the future.
Bethany is a fun-loving yoga enthusiast and cosplayer from Newark, NJ. She also serves up a mean game of Overwatch on the weekends!