After the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear his case, Colorado baker Jack Phillips appeared Thursday on ABC’s The View to explain why he refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple. He told hosts that the bible said marriage was only between a man and a woman. When asked if Jesus would’ve done the same, he said yes.
“I don’t believe that Jesus would’ve made a cake if he had been a baker,” Phillips.
“Jesus would’ve made the cake,” said host Joy Behar.
To make the cake would’ve contradicted his religious beliefs, he argued. Sitting by his attorney Kristen Waggoner, he said he would’ve served other products to the couple, Charlie Craig and David Mullins, but not for their wedding.
The Supreme Court agreed to hear Phillips’ case on Monday. For him, this all about protecting his religious beliefs under the Constitution. From his petition for a writ of certiorari:
The question presented is:
Whether applying Colorado’s public accommodations law to compel Phillips to create expression that violates his sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage violates the Free Speech or Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment.
The case stems from his 2012 refusal to make a wedding cake for Craig and Mullins. The men were going to get married in Massachusetts, where same-sex marriage was already legal.
The couple filed a complaint with the state’s Civil Rights Division, who ruled that Phillips violated the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act. They told him to make cakes for same-sex couples if he also makes these for man/woman pairings.
The Colorado Court of Appeals later agreed, saying Phillips custom cakes were not protected speech, just regular conduct.
Phillips has since stopped making wedding cakes, period, and he wants the Supreme Court to say the First Amendment protects his decision. From the petition [citations removed]:
Phillips’ custom wedding cakes constitute speech, and the state cannot compel an artist like Phillips to create speech. Courts have found many kinds of expression to be speech, from abstract paintings and sculpture to tattoos and custom-painted clothing. … Because such artistic expression inherently involves the “subtle shaping of thought,” … it deserves strong
free speech protection.
The America Civil Liberties Union has taken the couple’s side, and is representing them. From James Esseks, director of the LGBT and HIV project, on Monday:
By granting review in Charlie and Dave’s case, the Supreme Court has placed a spotlight on supposed tensions between equality and religious liberty. But the country has already found the right balance between these two important constitutional interests.
Under the Constitution, we each have the right to our own religious beliefs. We are empowered to act on those beliefs — but not when our actions would harm others. That’s because religious freedom doesn’t give anyone the right to discriminate against or harm other people.
The court will hear Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission as part of the term beginning in October. This case started as more and more states were legalizing same-sex marriage, followed by the Supreme Court approving it nationwide in 2015.
[Screengrab via ABC]