A conversation that lasted less than two minutes sparked a four-year court trial concerning freedom of speech/expression, religious liberty, and discrimination. Multiple sources including New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times have reported on this controversial issue and expressed their views. This initially started when a gay couple walked into Jack Phillips bakery requesting a wedding cake. Mr.Phillips politely declined since he feels gay marriage is not permitted in his Christian faith. He then informed the couple that he would be delighted to sell them other items like birthday cakes, cookies and more. The couple, Charlie Craig and David Mullins felt unsettled and lodged a complaint with the state civil rights commission. The Colorado baker has the right to refuse a cake to the couple because of his First Amendment rights, ethical beliefs, and judgment made by the supreme court.
Jack Phillips’s First Amendment rights allow him to refuse to create a cake celebrating something he does not agree with. “Freedom of speech encompasses not only spoken and written word, but also all kinds of expression (including non-verbal communications such as sit-ins, arts, photograph, films, and advertisements)” stated by constitutioncenter.org. Phillips feels his cakes are an art and form of expression. His right to express himself through his cakes is protected by the First Amendment, the same as a filmmaker has the right to express a message through a film. Demanding Jack to make a cake for the couple completely ignores his rights and is unconstitutional. In an article by washigntonpost.com, they expressed that, “Forcing Phillips to create expression for and participate in a ceremony that violates his sincerely held religious beliefs invades his First Amendment rights.” The government agrees with the message expressed byo this article. His cakes are his form of expression and he can not be pressured to create a cake for what he does not believe. Phillips had the right to refuse to make a cake for the couple: forcing him to would disregard his First Amendment rights.
This baker refused to make the cake on account of his ethical beliefs. He is a devout Christian that greatly values his religion. In an article by nytimes.com, he explains,”I’m being forced to use my creativity my talents and my art for an event- a significant religious event- that violates my religious faith.” In the Christian community marriage is an event of much importance. Phillips’s would have to ignore his ethical beliefs and values to make this cake. He should not be obliged to this in his bakery, “As a creative professional and a businessman, I shouldn’t have to give up my freedom-my religion- when I open a bakery.” (denverpost.com) The cake for the same-sex wedding would be celebrating something contrary to his understanding of biblical teaching. His religious beliefs would not allow him to do anything to do with same-sex marriage. His freedom of religion and ethical beliefs would be flouted upon if he is forced to create this cake.
The judgment made on this case gives Jack Phillips the right to make the cake for Charlie Craig and David Mullins. The Supreme Court sided with Jack as shown in an article by nytimes.com. “But the supreme court has in recent years been exceptionally receptive to free speech arguments, whether pressed by churches, corporations,...And it has ruled that the government may not compel people to convey messages they do not believe.” Many smaller courts have heard this case, nonetheless, the Supreme Court has the final ruling. It was argued that Jack violated Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Law however, he often declined cake offers. ”Phillips regularly declines opportunities to create cakes for events that violate his convictions including Halloween cakes, Anti-American cakes, adult-themed cakes, and more.” This illustrates he was not discriminating towards them. The Judgement made by the Supreme Court allows him to refuse to make the cake.
In the United States individual’s several rights are guaranteed and protected to us unlike places like North Korea, Libya, and Cuba. When an issue arises concerning an individual’s rights it starts a conversation. The dispute concerning the Colorado baker sparked controversy since some view his actions as discriminating while others felt his rights were going to be infringed upon if. He had the right to refuse because of the First Amendment, ethical beliefs and the judgment made by the Supreme Court. In this case, it would be unconstitutional to make him use his art form to express a message he does not agree with. It is very important to protect the freedoms of individuals that this great nation is known for.