The state of Colorado has relentlessly waged war against a Christian baker for ten years now.
In 2013, Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Denver was accused by Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission (CCRD)—which enforces the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA)—of discriminating against a homosexual couple because—based on his religious beliefs—he refused to bake them a cake for their “wedding.” Two state courts affirmed the Commission’s charge of discrimination.
(It should be noted that in 2014 when a man requested from three different Colorado bakeries that they make him an anti-gay-marriage cake with Scripture verses on it and they refused, the CCRD found that the bakeries did not discriminate based on the man’s religious beliefs.)
A petition for a writ of certiorari was filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016, and was granted in 2017. The Court, in the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission (2018), ruled in favor of Phillips because “the Commission’s actions here violated the Free Exercise Clause.”
After the decision, a man who wanted to be a woman requested that Phillips bake him a “gender transition” cake that was pink on the inside and blue on the outside to celebrate his birthday and seventh anniversary of his “gender transition.” When Phillips refused, because doing so would violate his religious beliefs, another discrimination complaint was filed with the CCRD. After Phillips countersued, he and the state of Colorado mutually agreed to drop their lawsuits. But then the trans woman filed a civil suit in state court and won the case. Phillips was fined $500 and appealed.
Now a Colorado Court of Appeals (CCOA) judge has ruled against Phillips:
Turning to the constitutional issues presented, the division concludes that the act of baking a pink cake with blue frosting does not constitute protected speech under the First Amendment.
Additionally, the division concludes that CADA’s prohibition against discrimination based on a person’s transgender status does not violate a proprietor’s right to freely exercise or express their religion.
There are two problems here: Freedom of speech and religion have nothing to do with it.
The First Amendment reads as follows:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The First Amendment grants no rights. Rather, it prohibits Congress from interfering with the freedom of speech and the free exercise of one’s religion.
The first problem is that decorating a cake or not decorating a cake has nothing to do with freedom of speech. Government decrees and Supreme Court rulings have made unwarranted speech distinctions because they misconstrue the nature of the First Amendment. Cake decorating is not a form of speech. The ability to speak is not a prerequisite to being able to decorate a cake. A deaf mute can decorate your cake.
The second problem is that decorating a cake or not decorating a cake has nothing to do with freedom of religion. Once again, government decrees and Supreme Court rulings have mandated or permitted (depending on the circumstances) businesses to grant or receive religious accommodations. But if something should be illegal, then it shouldn’t be legal just because someone says he is exercising his religion.
In a free society, every business should have the right to refuse service—to any individual, to any group, on any basis, and for any reason. Speech has nothing to do with it. Religion has nothing to do with it. Freedom of conscience and property rights have everything to do with it.
Homosexual and transgendered couples have the right to discriminate, legally, against any bakery that is owned by a Christian
The libertarian position on discrimination is simply this: Since discrimination of any kind is not aggression, force, coercion, threat, or violence, the government should never prohibit it, seek to prevent it, or punish anyone for doing it. Freedom of speech and religion have nothing to do with it.
Anti-discrimination laws are an attack on property rights, freedom of association, the free market, and freedom of thought.