Just a brief note to start a conversation about the case of the baker, Jack Phillips, who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple who had been married in Massachusetts and wanted to celebrate with a party in Colorado. Phillips is a Christian. He does not refuse service to gays in any general way, but did refuse to create a cake for a gay wedding as a matter of conscience. The couple is suing because of the discrimination against them.
Here is the question, can person refuse service to anyone for any reason? Does Phillips have right to deny the service of the baking of a wedding cake simply because of his religious principles and his opposition to gay marriage? He has the right, according to the Colorado constitution, Section 4 on religious freedom:
The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination, shall forever hereafter be guaranteed; and no person shall be denied any civil or political right, privilege or capacity, on account of his opinions concerning religion; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be construed to dispense with oaths or affirmations, excuse acts of licentiousness or justify practices inconsistent with the good order, peace or safety of the state. No person shall be required to attend or support any ministry or place of worship, religious sect or denomination against his consent. Nor shall any preference be given by law to any religious denomination or mode of worship.
Here is another thing, the Colorado constitution bans same sex marriage, though not civil unions since March of this year. No gay marriage in Colorado. Does this mean that state can discriminate in favor of traditional marriage, but an individual like Phillips cannot?
The state can levy a $500 fine and Mr. Phillips can go to jail for a year. Here is another question. What is the state’s interest in whether or not someone bakes a cake for a wedding reception? Whose civil rights are being trampled in this case?
Somebody explain this to me.