Let Them Buy Cake

This piece originally appeared at The New York Review of Books

When David Mullins and Charlie Craig walked into Masterpiece Cakeshop, a bakery in Denver, Colorado, five years ago, they had no inkling that the encounter would take them to the United States Supreme Court. All they wanted was a wedding cake. But as soon as Jack Phillips, the bakery’s owner, realized that the marriage they were celebrating was their own, he cut off the conversation, explaining that he would not make any cake for a same-sex wedding. They never even discussed what the cake would look like or say, because Phillips made it clear that his policy was absolute. The bakery has turned away several other same-sex couples on the same grounds, including a lesbian couple who wanted to buy cupcakes for a commitment ceremony. Phillips claims that because he objects to same-sex unions on religious grounds, and because his cakes are a form of expression, he has a First Amendment right to refuse to sell them to gay couples for their wedding receptions.

When they were turned away, Mullins and Craig brought a complaint before the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which enforces the state’s public accommodations law. That law, which dates back to 1885, requires businesses open to the public to treat their customers equally. (Forty-five states have a similar law, as does the federal government.) Since 2008, Colorado has specifically prohibited businesses from discriminating against customers on the basis of sexual orientation, in addition to disability, race, creed, color, sex, marital status, national origin, and ancestry. The commission found that by selling wedding cakes to straight couples but refusing to sell them to gay couples, the bakery had violated the public accommodations law. The Colorado courts upheld that decision, rejecting the bakery’s First Amendment objections—as have courts hearing similar cases involving florists, banquet halls, photographers, and videographers. In June, however, despite the unanimity among the lower courts, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the bakery’s appeal.

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Dr. Joseph Goebbels

"Let them eat cock": Marie Antoinette circa 1787.


Thats inapropriate


Defining marriage, murder, and discrimination takes belief systems. All law is belief system based. The state is in the religion business.


All religions are belief systems. But not all belief systems are religions. Your syllogism is faulty, your conclusion doubtful.


A artist like the painters you mentioned who opened a commercial store to sell their paintings would not be able to turn away a customer who wants one of the pre-made paintings. However, the customer couldn't force the artist to paint a new picture the artist doesn't want to paint. That's where creativity comes in. The baker has to sell everyone pre-made cakes but the Supreme Court is ruling on whether he can be forced to design and create a cake he doesn't want to use his creative skill to do.


Does the cake maker make a stock item from his repertoire?

In other words, does (as every single commercial baker I have ever encountered) he have a book or page including images of the items he produces, and have a set of things that can be customized to meet the customer's needs?

Since I am most certain that this is the case here, he is NOT CREATING UNIQUE CONTENT of any sort.

Your example is not even close to the same sort of issue. Paintings that you commission are unique, unless they're a reproduction of an existing piece.

And it they're a reproduction, AND that is a normal part of the artist's work, the artist must provide the work because that is what his business is.

What t baker in question is doing, is using his skills to create something that he (if he's any good at all) had made for many other people over the time he has been in business.

In other words a stock item that he, or anyone with the same skills can create in as identical a manner as their skills allow if they have a guide to follow.

He is no different than an automobile manufacturer who takes orders for cars that need to be built to the customers specifications.

And as such, he MUST allow anyone to purchase this items without regard to their personal lives.

It is that simple, and nothing anyone can say can make it less.








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Owen Garner

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