Why does the Supreme Court care so much about wedding cakes?

How bakery case at Supreme Court will frame future religious freedom debates.

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  • DAB NL, 00
    Oct. 8, 2017 8:45 p.m.

    @unrepentant progressive – you wrote: “Some of us have lost perspective on what really matters. If the baker in Colorado has to make cake for a same sex wedding, no one is going to die. Yet, if we don't deal with the other issues mentioned above, someone will. … focus your energies on life/death consequences.”

    The suffering and death of people affected by the events you mentioned are indeed tragic, and we should absolutely do all we can to alleviate their suffering and put measures in place to reduce the likelihood of recurrence. I haven’t seen any suggestions in this thread that we should ignore those issues in favor of this one, and suspect that many of the religious people in this thread are equally as focussed on saving people physically as well as spiritually.

    For those who believe life goes on for eternity after physical death, and that our choices in this life will affect our quality of life for the eternities to come, the consequence of how we live weigh just as heavily (if not more so), as when or how we die. For such, pleasing God is far more important than trying to please all people, and having an eternal perspective IS what really matters.

  • DAB NL, 00
    Oct. 8, 2017 7:33 p.m.

    @FJSL - you wrote: “The difference isn't the event. They're all weddings. For the baker, it's the gender of the couple that determines whether or not he has an objection.”

    As has been pointed out multiple times, this baker has and still does create all sorts of cakes for homosexual customers. Therefore, the baker clearly does NOT simply discriminate based on gender or sexual preference. The difference here IS absolutely the event: an event celebrating a ceremony which the baker believes offends God (i.e. same-sex marriage) v.s an event that celebrates a ceremony that the baker believes does not offend God (i.e. opposite-sex marriage).

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    Oct. 3, 2017 7:02 a.m.

    With all the challenges of today and the future, one has to wonder what it is that makes a very loud, vocal minority in this country become so unhinged when the subject of same sex marriage arises.

    Really, debating wedding cake when so many got killed in Las Vegas? Or the nuclear threat of North Korea? Or healthcare for all? Or environmental disasters in the Gulf Coast?

    Some of us have lost perspective on what really matters. If the baker in Colorado has to make cake for a same sex wedding, no one is going to die. Yet, if we don't deal with the other issues mentioned above, someone will.

    We get it. You don't like same sex marriage. Fine, don't get same sex married. Otherwise focus your energies on life/death consequences.

  • Misty Mountain Kent, WA
    Oct. 2, 2017 3:08 p.m.

    JoeCapitalist writes,

    If someone in the KKK went to a gay baker and demanded that he make them a cake for one of their private 'rallies' that had all kinds of derogatory words and images about homosexuals on it that went against everything that baker believed; should he be required to make it?

    Joe, that question has been answered a half dozen times already in just this set of comments. The usual question is "Should the Jewish caterer have to serve pork?" But here it is again:

    The answer is: It depends. You need to answer Yes to both of the following questions.

    Is the KKK a protected classification?

    Does the baker make this product, with these particular words and images, for other people, but refuses to make it for the KKK?

    Unless both of these answers are Yes, then the baker can legally turn down the order. In Phillips' case, both answers were Yes, but his lawyers are arguing that somehow the First Amendment means it doesn't apply to him.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    Oct. 2, 2017 1:55 p.m.

    If someone in the KKK went to a gay baker and demanded that he make them a cake for one of their private 'rallies' that had all kinds of derogatory words and images about homosexuals on it that went against everything that baker believed; should he be required to make it? Should he be driven out of business just because he was willing to bake cakes for other private parties where the cake did not personally offend him?

    I think that gay baker should be able to tell the KKK customer to leave and never come back. In most likelihood, the Klan specifically targeted that baker in order to take him to court when he refused; but even if that was not the case, he should have the right to refuse service with zero consequences (other than the loss of some business from the KKK).

  • Common Sense Guy Richfield, UT
    Oct. 2, 2017 1:38 p.m.

    If a business would not serve me for any reason. I would find another business. I would not sue them. This wedding cake stuff is just outright ridiculous. In Lakewood Colorado there are other bakers. I would allow him to have his beliefs and try another business. Some people don't like me or what I stand for. I have never tried to sue them. Even a boycott and telling all your friends about the horrible service seems to be a bit extreme. You know I went to lunch the other day and the food was not good, I didn't come back to the office and make sure everyone knew where I ate, and that the food was horrible. I just won't order that again if I go back. Going through anything in the court system is expensive and very time consuming. Is someone not willing to write what you want on a cake really worth a court battle for an average American? What is the intent of this lawsuit? What harm did the business owner inflict on these customers? I don't think it was emotional. I don't think they were embarrassed since they have taken out to the entire world. I don't think it was financial, apparently they have money to burn on a lawsuit. Civility
    encouraged!

  • Lone Eagle Aurora, CO
    Oct. 2, 2017 1:30 p.m.

    Fred44 this has nothing to do with republican/democrat. It is a fundamental freedom question that transcends party affiliation. Maybe you missed it?

  • Lone Eagle Aurora, CO
    Oct. 2, 2017 1:26 p.m.

    Discrimination is practiced all the time. I discriminated against all other women when I married my wife. I discriminate against all other religions when I choose to practice what I believe.

    The right for the BSA to determine its qualifications of admission was affirmed by the SCOTUS. (BSA has since bowed to public pressure, not the SCOTUS, and changed their qualifications for admission.)

    How is it different for this baker (or anyone else) to decide against a particular message the customer wants to send?

    What if the customer wanted to use sexually explicit wording or images on a cake for a private party? Would the baker be justified in refusing to honor that request?

    Too bad we don't live in a perfect society.

  • FJSL Houston, TX
    Oct. 2, 2017 1:05 p.m.

    @ DAB

    "There is BIG difference between..."

    The difference isn't the event. They're all weddings. For the baker, it's the gender of the couple that determines whether or not he has an objection.

    @ Woohoo

    "99 out of 100 times they are going to be served THAT wasn't the case with the whole 'separate but equal' argument."

    This was the set of facts in at least one lunch counter case in the early 1960's. The business owner would let black people shop in his store and use the bathrooms, but he wouldn't serve them in his restaurant. Imagine the lawyer for the store owner arguing, "Your honor, if they never ordered food, there'd be no segregation here!"

    The Civil Rights Act of 1964 took care of this nonsense.

  • taatmk West Jordan, UT
    Oct. 2, 2017 12:29 p.m.

    If someone refused to bake a cake for me, I really couldn't care any less I'd simply take my business somewhere else.

  • U. C. Professor ,
    Oct. 2, 2017 11:01 a.m.

    Read all of the comments. All of them.
    You will easily see how easy it is for otherwise law abiding Americans to resent and demonize LGBTQ People, claiming that they are not deserving of the same Constitutional Rights as Blacks, Latinos, the handicapped and.......Mormons.
    It really comes down to precisely this......do you think that your beliefs give you the right to categorize and exclude ANY group of Americans for discrimination? If so, you use the same cleverly bigoted arguments used by the vast majority of Americans, at various times in our national history, to persecute and demonize Quakers, Catholics, the Irish, Baptists, Mennonites, Shakers, Blacks, Latinos......the list goes on and on of the Americans who were and still are persecuted on wholly religious grounds. Are we forgetting the "deeply held religious beliefs" for persecution against LDS Americans for over a century? Who is next to be excluded?

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    Oct. 2, 2017 9:04 a.m.

    Daedalus, Stephen: 'Puerto Rico is experiencing a human catastrophe that will require weeks if not months of massive assistance and support to prevent 100,000 or more deaths. And DN runs yet one more puff piece on Colorado cake "artist".'

    I'm sure that you are equally outraged when the main stream media totally ignores some really important story so that it can focus on some minutia that supports its far-left political agenda as well. Right?

  • DAB NL, 00
    Oct. 1, 2017 7:23 p.m.

    @U. C. Professor – You missed the point: this isn’t about refusing to serve or do business with someone because you disagree with their lifestyle or beliefs; this is about declining a business order for a specific customized product because it would associate your name and products with an event that you consider offensive to God.

    There is BIG difference between refusing to serve someone because you personally dislike them, and declining an order that supports an event that you sincerely believe God has proscribed.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Oct. 1, 2017 5:53 p.m.

    Tyrex says:

    "In a disagreement such as this, where is the greater harm? A person being told by the state they can't freely exercise their religion? Or a gay couple going to another shop to get a cake?

    (* - this has never been an issue of serving someone who is gay, but participating in a gay wedding EVENT)"

    -- First, the greater harm lies in the person being told to go somewhere else by a business that DOES NOT post a sign detailing which "events" it won't do business for.

    Second, you blithely separate the LGBT couple from their "event" and absolutely refuse to separate the LEGALLY separate business from the individual running it. BTW, businesses have no beliefs to violate since they're non-living, non-thinking entities.

    @truebeliever;

    Marriages existed long before "the bible" was even a twinkle in the various author's eyes.

    @windsor;

    You are offended by being compared to gays because of "choices". Well, bigotry is also a choice (as is religion).

    @Yorkshire;

    Couldn't care less if you accept us, but you must treat us just like everyone else. That's what we ask.

  • U. C. Professor ,
    Oct. 1, 2017 11:34 a.m.

    Picture it.
    The Supreme Court rules that any American, because of "deeply held beliefs" can refuse service to anyone they have a moral or religious objection to. Anyone.
    A Baptist can refuse to do any business with any Mormon, because Mormonism is a Cult. Yes, they really believe that.
    Jews can refuse to sell stocks, open a bank account, or sell a Pastrami sandwich to anyone who is not "the Chosen People," or eats pork. That is very clearly an abomination.
    Any American Businessperson, who is a Presbyterian, United Methodist, Unitarian, Nazarene, Episcopalian or Calvinist, or any other Main Stream American Protestant Denomination that has officially and openly declared that "discrimination, in any form, is sin" will be refusing business to those who commit, or even defend, the sin of discrimination.
    Anyone can now ask you who and what you are, thanks to the Supreme Court decision. Did you think this would only apply to minority Christian beliefs?
    After all, the Constitutional right to refuse service or merchandise to anyone, because of "deeply held religious or moral beliefs" cannot be limited to just one sin, or just one religious precept. Can it?

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    Oct. 1, 2017 9:25 a.m.

    Reading some of the letters from people who oppose same sex marriage, you can sense a palpable fear. The overwhelming majority of writers are not wedding vendors, but they seem to believe that if SCOTUS votes against Phillips, they will lose something. And indeed, they have already lost it--"it" being the right to be openly contemptuous of their LGBT neighbors--and not be criticized.

    Logical reasoning has no effect. There are plenty of people in the US (of all religions and of no religion) who think that it is just fine to discriminate against a mixed race couple. And asking them if they think it's OK to use the "religious freedom" excuse to discriminate against Mormons is useless; living in Utah, they can't imagine that ever happening.

  • Woohoo Somewhere, ID
    Oct. 1, 2017 4:11 a.m.

    @Karen

    "I have yet to hear an argument from the pro-baker side that doesn't lower gay couples to second class while elevating religious vendors to a special class."

    Second class..when it comes to forcing others to celebrate something they disagree with on religious grounds which I am fine with being second class as well on there's PLENTY of bakeries in this country!

    Is it really "separate but equal" if they are not really being separated? If they never ordered a wedding cake at this bakery your whole argument goes poof!

    99 out of 100 times they are going to be served THAT wasn't the case with the whole "separate but equal" argument. Soooo you've got some holes to fix in your argument if your going to keep pushing the whole "separate but equal" angle.

    Tolerance doesn't seem like a thing that the left understands too well.

    @Silo

    "The Baker discriminated against a protected class (at least in colorado)."

    Nope they we refusing to make a cake for an event that they disagreed with. I'd imagine they'd refuse anyone who came in asking for a cake celebrating SSM whether the person were LGBT or not.

  • FJSL Houston, TX
    Sept. 30, 2017 9:17 p.m.

    @ Tyrex

    Everything I can find on taxi services and service dogs says that it's a violation of the American Disabilities Act to refuse to serve someone with a service dog. No religious exceptions. So if a cab driver believes this would be too grave a violation of his conscience to bear, then he needs to find another form of employment.

    Religious freedom was included in the Bill of Rights because of religion's history of being used as a tool of persecution, including in the original 13 colonies. Madison and Jefferson recognized that a secular form of government was needed if freedom of conscience was to be protected. (Think about that: Religion doesn't protect freedom of conscience. Left alone, it's a threat to it. It's secularism that affords the protection.)

    "To those who don't embrace faith...you don't understand."

    Do you understand the faith of those whose religion doesn't condone mixed-race marriage? Are you fighting for their right not to have to violate their consciences and sell wedding cakes to mixed-race couples? If not, why not? What is the distinction you see?

  • vern001 Castle Rock, CO
    Sept. 30, 2017 4:05 p.m.

    Should evangelicals be allowed to turn away Mormons? Can a white supremacist refuse to serve a black customer? I mean, where does it stop?

    Maybe if we just followed Christ's teachings and helped everyone, and let God do the judging, we'd be better off.

  • Tyrex Austin, TX
    Sept. 30, 2017 12:10 p.m.

    I recently heard someone express surprise that an observant Jew, had never tasted bacon. The individual responded that although he heard bacon was awesome, his beliefs were more important. Several years ago while on an overseas business trip, I was had dinner with a group that included an Indian man. We knew this man was a faithful Hindu and with a language barrier tried to communicate to the restaurant that he couldn't eat beef. When his dinner arrived there was beef in his meal. He didn't want to make a fuss and chose not to eat. Of course we insisted he receive another meal. His willingness to avoid eating altogether impressed me. Especially considering other Hindus I worked with had no problem eating beef.

    There are the Muslim cab drivers who refuse patrons with service dogs, an accommodation the law allows, because it would conflict with their religion.

    To those who don't embrace faith, a large, vocal segment of our population, it is hard to understand why some people do or don't do things that might be trivial to you and me. If you believe religion is merely a choice, you don't understand. There is a reason the framers enshrined the freedom of religion first and foremost.

  • truebeliever Columbus, OH
    Sept. 30, 2017 9:18 a.m.

    The Supreme Court cares about wedding cakes because it knows that it made a gross error when it created marriage equality law from nowhere.

    Religious Liberty IS in the Constitution, but Marriage is not in the Constitution; it's in the Bible.  So either way you look at this the baker enters the ring already injured by the SCOTUS homosexual wedding decision which interfered in religious law causing an undue burden of conscience for the baker, and the fact that the baker was targeted and discriminated against by homosexuals who wanted to force him to violate his faith.  The baker should win this case if the court rules in favor of justice.

    So ding ding ding, the bell has sounded and the first round of briefs are being submitted. I believe the Oral Arguments portion of the legal proceedings should be televised so We The People can see what's going on.

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    Sept. 30, 2017 8:36 a.m.

    Two thousand, four hundred, and fifty three words in this "in depth"
    article...going on and on and on with the variations of the "compelled speech" argument...

    but not *one* word explaining the position of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

    And not a single word--let alone a couple of sentences--quoting the judges who ruled against Phillips.

    The Colorado Civil Rights Commission ruled against him.

    The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled against him.

    The Colorado State Supreme Court ruled against him.

    How "in depth" is an essay when you leave off fifty percent of the story?

    Phillips didn't lose at the three courts because he forgot to show up. He lost because his after-the fact argument was specious and full of holes. He lost because America heard the same arguments in Newman vs. Piggie Park--over fifty years ago--and rejected them then.

  • FJSL Houston, TX
    Sept. 30, 2017 8:01 a.m.

    @ Tyrex

    "...where is the greater harm?"

    Bakers who don't believe in mixed-race marriage for religious reasons can't freely exercise this belief. Mixed-race couples aren't asked to find another shop. Your solution would effectively treat the religious belief about SSM as more important than the one about mixed-race marriage. Do we really want government making such a call?

    Every day in the marketplace we ask people, religious and nonreligious, to accommodate the law over their beliefs because it benefits all in a diverse society (and that's just one reason). If I'm a judge, I'm going to want to know why we should undermine this endeavor for the sake of one specific belief. And one specific religious belief at that. Because your solution doesn't protect the nonreligious person who doesn't believe in SSM. That person would be compelled to serve the gay couple because his belief isn't an exercise of religion.

    So I don't agree with your conclusion re: harm. Your solution creates a "more equal" class. That's the idea our ancestors died fighting against 240 years ago.

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    Sept. 30, 2017 7:27 a.m.

    If the faith of the baker is so important to him/her, and his belief that even a hint of complicity would endanger his soul, then why not stop baking wedding cakes for anyone? Problem solved, no religious beliefs compromised, and a law satisfied.

    As an analogy, LDS eschew caffeine but don't make it against the law to sell it in their restaurants. And I am sure there are still more real life examples with a more dire religious consequence.

    Such a simple choice, he can still make cookies and birthday cake.

    Seems to me he wants to eat his cake and have it too. Grandma taught me long ago that this is no way to conduct oneself.

  • Fullypresent Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 30, 2017 12:02 a.m.

    How does Jack Phillips go about removing pedophiles, rapists, Atheists, domestic violence abusers, child abusers, Satanists, Buddhists, Pagans, Muslims, neo-Nazi's, criminals, and all others who might conflict with his Christian religious beliefs?

    Does he have a questionaire he has all customers complete so he can determine who he wants to serve or if their beliefs or lifestyle are in conflict with his? How far does one go to make sure they are only serving those that are in line with all of their religious beliefs?

  • Tyrex Austin, TX
    Sept. 29, 2017 5:01 p.m.

    Why would a gay couple* want to hire a baker, who believed gay marriage was wrong, to create a cake celebrating gay marriage? Even if the baker were reluctantly willing. Especially when scores of other like-minded bakeries would happily take the business?

    How can those of us who disagree with same-sex marriage not see this as a punitive act meant to punish a person engaging in wrongthink? How is this not an example of using the force of government to penalize someone for a deeply-held religious belief while forcing a state-sanctioned belief upon others (contra 1st amendment)? Should a belief that same-sex marriage is wrong be outlawed? Isn’t that is what is being argued by the state of Colorado?

    Certainly we recognize we live in a diverse community with people who think differently than us? Why would we want the government to compel someone to provide us a service against their will?

    In a disagreement such as this, where is the greater harm? A person being told by the state they can't freely exercise their religion? Or a gay couple going to another shop to get a cake?

    (* - this has never been an issue of serving someone who is gay, but participating in a gay wedding EVENT)

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    Sept. 29, 2017 1:45 p.m.

    @ PortLibertad

    Thank you for the generous compliment.

    "I would assert, that is okay, because the choices gay people make to live a life style that is so contrary to what many believe is natural..."

    What I hear you saying is, "It's okay because of how deeply we believe it's wrong." I do get this and respect that it makes the baker's position very difficult. I just don't think we should hold others responsible for our feelings or freely chosen beliefs.*

    I also don't think the fact that the feelings/beliefs are religious in nature warrant special treatment. To treat them as such imply that the feelings and perspectives of non-religious folk are somehow less worthy.

    Finally, we do give the government the right to constrain some forms of religious exercise, thus compelling the believer to accommodate society's best interests rather than vice-versa.

    *I'm even more opposed if the evidence strongly suggests that the basis of the belief is mistaken (which is the case with homosexuality; everything we now know points to "natural, normal, no more or less healthy than heterosexuality").

  • truebeliever Columbus, OH
    Sept. 29, 2017 12:22 p.m.

    Masterpiece Cake Shop vs. the State of Colorado will be the earthly deciding case as to whether competing rights of the inalienable religious freedom will win over non-discrimination civil right. This issue is so important for the baker because it also has eternal consequences. Spiritually speaking, what will be the deciding factor of eternal life will be the truth vs. the lie with regard to God, marriage and family.

    Marriage is religious (Genesis 1:26; 2:24, Matthew 19:4), designed in a creative capacity, IN THE IMAGE OF GOD. This is scripture and the baker cannot look at it any other way. For the Christian, a marriage law that contradicts the biblical law is a counterfeit. THIS IS THE BURDEN OF CONSCIENCE FOR THE BAKER. If someone wanted to marry their computer and asked the baker to bake the cake, he would decline because it would counterfeit the Image of God in marriage.

    I believe Sister Lucia of Fatima was correct when she revealed a secret of Mary that the final battle between God and Satan will be about family.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Sept. 29, 2017 10:48 a.m.

    To "jeclar2006" so, then using your logic, if a baker does not offer same sex wedding cakes, then they would not have to provide same sex wedding cakes.

  • jeclar2006 Oceanside, CA
    Sept. 29, 2017 10:31 a.m.

    If a person or business provides a service to the public, then that means all of the public, not a specific segment of the public. The Baker by providing a public offering, has implicitly accepted that the public may include individuals that may have philosophical or religious differences. If The Baker wanted to only cater to a segment of the general public, he could have made his business a private club baking business, and issued club memberships as he saw fit.

    Some have mentioned a number of situations such as 'what if a Jewish baker was asked to put a swastika on a cake'... well if a 'swastika' was on the menu/list of greetings, by all means the Jewish baker offering such services for such a design would be 'compelled' to offer that to all, regardless of their political inclinations.

    Since a Jewish baker would not be offering such a design, the baker could decline such a request.

    And speaking of religious convictions... no one is born with any religious convictions at all. This are all taught, and at some point someone has made a choice to be a member one or another religious confession, or none of the above.

    Religion is a choice.

  • PorLibertad Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 29, 2017 9:58 a.m.

    @Karen R:

    You asserted "Otherwise, IMO, these vendors are asking the government to compel gay couples to be treated differently for the sake of the vendor's religious belief. In the public square".

    You may be correct in that observation. I would assert, that is okay, because the choices gay people make to live a life style that is so contrary to what many believe is natural (eg, counter natural anatomical and counter natural physiological sexual activity) and so-forth that it really runs counter to our religious sense of the true nature of God's creative purposes for his children. So yes, some vendors would support the supreme court in allowing some differentiation when it comes to applying their artistic expressive speech in support of same-sex weddings.

    As usual, you ask thought provoking questions that enhance the quality of the dialogue in this forum.

  • Justiciaparatodos Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 29, 2017 9:41 a.m.

    Windor correctly asserted:

    "But don't try to make the behaviors you chose as a gay--and wedding events people you sue for refusing to take part in your SSM--as in any way comparable to my skin color as a black person."

    A truer statement was never made than that!

  • peabody Steamboat Springs, CO
    Sept. 29, 2017 9:04 a.m.

    Query: what if the baker refused to place the Nazi symbol on the cake for a white supremacy couple ? Discrimination under Colorado law or the United States Constitution ?
    Just asking.

  • Pops NORTH SALT LAKE, UT
    Sept. 29, 2017 9:02 a.m.

    The US Constitution is based on the concept of natural rights. The purpose of the document is to empower government with certain limited powers by consent of the governed. For this reason, the Bill of Rights was technically unnecessary, but was agreed upon in the event that people would begin to misinterpret the purpose of the Constitution, to believe that it is the instrument which grants rights to individuals (as appears to be the case today for many people). A couple of the arguments against the Bill of Rights was that it would give the enemies of natural rights traction with which to fight against individual rights, and it might make it appear that any natural rights inadvertently omitted from the Bill of Rights were not rights at all.

    The latter seems to be the case with economic freedom, which we seem to have surrendered with hardly a fight. Yet economic freedom is a natural right, and is the primary meaning of the phrase, "Pursuit of Happiness". It is unfortunate that nobody is using economic freedom as the primary defense in these kinds of cases. It would be nice to get the highest court in the land to acknowledge it as a natural right.

  • windsor City, Ut
    Sept. 29, 2017 9:01 a.m.

    silo said: "When the baker in question stated that he wouldn't make the cake because the customers were gay, it was no different than if he said he wouldn't bake the cake because they were Jewish, or because they were black."

    I know both Blacks and Jews and other groups who hate being compared to being gay.

    What one said was "Being born a Jew or an Italian, or Black or Chinese or anything else is not the same. While it may be true that some are born gay, it is the choices they make that make this comparison to us ridiculous, offensive and insulting. Yes, we may all be born whatever we are, but it is the choices we make that are what matter.
    If someone is born gay, fine.
    But don't try to make the behaviors you chose as a gay--and wedding events people you sue for refusing to take part in your SSM--as in any way comparable to my skin color as a black person."

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Sept. 29, 2017 7:41 a.m.

    To "RanchHand" it is easy to say that a cake is art because it is. A roof is not art because there is only 1 way to properly install a roof. It is either correct or not. There is not 1 single way to decorate a cake, that makes it art.

    To "Laura Bilington" so again, in this case, we had a custom cake being requested. Pure and simple. It was not anything out of a catalog.

    So again, the point is do we ignore religious freedom and freedom of expression and force businesses to take on clients that they don't want?

    To "FJSL" so you are all for slavery. Your ilk decries the crime of slavery at the same time that you want to enslave people. You do realize that this is why your ilk has lost much of its credibility.

  • Yorkshire City, Ut
    Sept. 29, 2017 7:33 a.m.

    unrepentant progressive said: "At the end of the day, the discussion is about two competing goals.Freedom to express your disgust with same sex marriage(and refuse service to these same people)or Freedom from discrimination."

    I would say the two competing sides/goals are:
    1.LGBT who insist same-sex sex & SSM will be forced to be recognized, taught & accepted as completely fine.
    2. And those who do not believe this is the case....who believe LGBT should be treated with kindness & respect as fellow humans, never taunted, bullied, harmed---but that the LGBT wish/goal to have same-sex sex & same-sex marriage be admitted as normal and fine wont happen.

    Just as some say how much they don't like Trump & will never change their position, the same can be said for those who will never change their feelings about/position on same-sex sex & SSM.

    I think from comments about this over the years that we can all say 'we will have to just agree to disagree.'

    LGBT are never going to change some minds. Ever.

    And those who refuse to embrace same-sex sex, with or without 'marriage' are never going to change any LGBT minds. (except recent 2 LDS LGBT who have changed their minds & divorced)

  • DAB NL, 00
    Sept. 29, 2017 5:33 a.m.

    Despite the lawyers having chosen to go down the freedom of speech/expression route, the real issue here is religious conscience. The baker’s reason for declining to accept the order had nothing to do with the sexual orientation of the customers. He has and is still willing to serve homosexual customers.

    What the baker was not willing to do is create a product that celebrates an event he believes is a violation of a religious ceremony instituted by God. Even if the cake were to have had no visible decorations or wording to distinguish it as celebrating a same-sex marriage, (which would have been highly unlikely), the baker believed his willing participation in its creation, knowing what it would be used for, would have constituted support for the event, and thereby he would have offended God.

    Based on this premise I fully support his choice.

    If the tables had been turned, and the baker had been in a same-sex marriage, and someone asked him to create a cake for an event opposing same-sex marriage, then I would also have supported his choice to decline the order.

  • Hope & Faith give us strength Utah County, UT
    Sept. 28, 2017 11:40 p.m.

    Some complain that wedding cakes aren't as important as job creation or helping those suffering in disaster areas.

    1) It matters when the balance of judicial review, state/federal powers, and the right of free speech, religious expression, and religious association, collide with a right that no one seemed to know existed in the constitution until 2015.

    2) I've been asked why a church needs a mall or to own warehouses. I believe the jobs we create and semi-trucks of supplies we send into disaster areas is reason enough. Maybe if those pointing fingers joined us in such causes, they wouldn't have anything to complain about. If everyone in the world joined our Fast Offering program (merely a single program in our faith), world hunger would end today.

    3) If the LGBT or the secular left think it's trivial for the court to tackle whether or not they have the right to force a baker to bake their cake... they shouldn't have started all the court battles in the first place.

    It's one thing to think you're right. It's something else to pick a fight based on it then call your opponent trivial for merely defending themselves. Such self-serving logic isn't all that remarkable.

  • truebeliever Columbus, OH
    Sept. 28, 2017 11:24 p.m.

    Marriage is religious; it's in the Bible not the Constitution. Christians who do business in the wedding industry should not be forced to use their talents in celebration of an event that contradicts and mocks their faith.

  • Shackleford Rusty St George, UT
    Sept. 28, 2017 10:05 p.m.

    I suspect the supreme court will rule narrowly on this but will hopefully give enough clarity to hopefully prevent the onslaught of slight variant copy cat cases.

    Also I will respect the courts decision which every way they go on this.

  • FJSL Houston, TX
    Sept. 28, 2017 9:35 p.m.

    @ Jack

    "Who would want a 'Wedding Cake' made by someone who didn't want to make it."

    So after centuries of being persecuted and harassed and treated as second-class citizen;

    and relative moments after finally, FINALLY being acknowledged as equal before the law (but still the subject of attacks and indignities in many areas);

    gay people confronted by someone breaking the law meant to protect them shouldn't stand up for their rights? They should feel so confident and secure that they can brush it off and head down the street?

    Seems a little unreasonable to expect.

    It also seems unreasonable to expect someone to be respectful of another's position when the person opens with a rejecting statement. Particularly in a public setting.

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    Sept. 28, 2017 9:07 p.m.

    At the end of the day, the discussion is about two competing goals.

    Freedom to express your disgust with same sex marriage (and refuse service to these same people)

    or

    Freedom from discrimination.

    Frankly, I know that I choose freedom from discrmination.

    And besides all that cake decorating may be an "art" to some, but to most of us it is a craft, not unlike cooking or painting. This is all such a ridiculous smoke screen put out there to make religious bigotry the law of the land. I hope that our Judiciary finds the wisdom to come down on the side of righteousness, which in this case the freedom for all to live without fear of discrmination.

  • SillyGander Winnipeg, Canada, 00
    Sept. 28, 2017 8:57 p.m.

    If one is arguing that one should be allowed to discriminate against serving folks based on sexual orientation,
    then how is that different from and should we allow one to discriminate against serving folks based on race and ethnicity,
    and how is that different from and should we allow one to discriminate against serving folks based on sexual gender,
    and how is that different from and should we allow one to discriminate against serving folks based on religious affiliation, and philosophical ideology, and political affiliation,
    and how is that different from and should we allow one to discriminate against servings folks based on socio-economic differences?
    Libertarian-conservatives Barry Morris Goldwater Senior (1909 – 1998) and Ronald Wilson Reagan Senior (1911 - 2004) both opposed enforced civil rights because they both thought that the State had no right telling folks not to discriminate against anybody for any reason what so ever (even though neither one of these two would have personally discriminated against anyone).
    So question that remains is this: should we allow the individual the right to discriminate against anyone for any reason what so ever?
    I say no! What say you?

  • 1Reader Alpine, UT
    Sept. 28, 2017 8:53 p.m.

    How many other bakers are there? And is buying a cake (at any bakery) a core right?
    People have a right to follow their conscience. It is draconian to force everyone to follow a single belief.

  • Thomas in Saratoga Saratoga Springs, UT
    Sept. 28, 2017 7:37 p.m.

    So since it's ok to force a baker to make a cake, can someone point me to a black baker so I can order a Klu Klux Klan cake? Maybe a Jewish baker to make me a Nazi cake? If it's ok to force people to use their talents in a manner offensive to them, I want a gay baker to make me an anti-LGBT cake. Maybe something with a rainbow flag that is burning. If we, as a society, are honestly going to say that it doesn't matter about personal beliefs, where do we draw the line? Can I marry my cat? Seriously. Where's the line? Is there no line? It's ok if I force you to do something - whatever your profession is - that degrades you and your mother? No? They why aren't you affording the same rights to everyone else?

  • twinkleberry67 Layton, UT
    Sept. 28, 2017 6:54 p.m.

    How far is this going to go? The couple could have simply taken their business elsewhere and another baker would have profited by their transaction. I wouldn’t say that the baker had exercised wise professionalism in not taking their business, but isn’t that his call? Wouldn’t the free market make a better judge than the bench in this case? If this guy is in the habit of treating customers in a discriminatory fashion, the business is going to founder and disappear without any help from the judiciary system. On the other hand, it is also being said that the couple knew of the baker’s predilections and targeted his bakery to sue it into submission because they could. It is not possible to legislate curtesy, morality, professionalism, or even a general sense of kindness. The more a government micromanages its citizenry, the worse the divisive kickback becomes. The tsunami of bad karma is getting bigger by the moment.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 28, 2017 6:43 p.m.

    @kaysvillecougar
    A reasonable comparison is anything relating to interracial marriage, the other example in our history of a type of marriage that was banned, but now opened, and frequently opposed because on religious reasons.

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    Sept. 28, 2017 6:30 p.m.

    @RedShirt wrote,

    "That is the difference between Smith's Bakery and their standardized cakes and going to a bakery where the cake decorator is an artist....putting on a roof... is not the same as cake decorating. With a roof, either the job is done correctly or else it is wrong."

    First of all, Red, it doesn't matter if the baker considers himself an artist. Remember, he shows people that book of stuff he already did. He is skilled enough to accurately copy a design (regardless of who originated it). That takes skill but it is copying, not creating.

    But he won't want to make large, tiered, white iced cakes for gay couples, whereas he had no problem making the identical large, tiered, white iced cakes for straight couples. It isn't the product that's different. It isn't the even the occasion that's different. It's the customer.

    And in Colorado, that's against the law.

  • The Rock Federal Way, WA
    Sept. 28, 2017 5:44 p.m.

    @LDS Liberal

    1. Trump was pretty close to my last choice so don't call him "My President" unless you are a mind reader.

    2. Your comment: "Your President is about to start a nuclear WWIII killing millions over being called names. 3.5 million Americans in Puerto Rico are facing a humanitarian disaster and are being ignored by him out of political revenge." Is off topic and has no bearing on this article.

    People who are turned down when trying to buy a wedding cake suffer zero financial harm, no physical harm and only a minor emotional slight. A penalty of over $100K is way out of line.

  • TerraPack Sandy, UT
    Sept. 28, 2017 5:22 p.m.

    Liberals are guilty of intentionally misunderstanding and misrepresenting the facts here.

    Re: the lunch counter down South. Liberals have rewritten history... again.

    The situation there would be exactly the same as the present case, IF... if the proprietor had declared to those valiant blacks challenging racism... that sure, they could keep their seats and order anything on the regular menu, but he, the proprietor, would absolutely not fix them the 42-egg veggie super omelet, which he would only prepare for white people.

    But, of course, that is not the way history ran. Blacks were denied ANY and ALL services, which could be referred to as a "General Accommodation".

    Allowing the proponents of "gay rights" to be able to take people to court who demand the right to withhold only Creative Services, or "Special Accommodations", while still providing a wide range of General Accommodations to every one who walks through the door, means that future government agents will become judges of all creative works.

    Do we want a country in which government will be judging all creative work to decide whether it meets sets of criteria in every area of creative work?

  • UtahEngineer Sandy, UT
    Sept. 28, 2017 5:00 p.m.

    Deseret News, this is a great piece!

    Please develop the resources so that you can put out this level of writing and expertise on a broad range of topics.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Sept. 28, 2017 4:48 p.m.

    RedShirtHarvard says:

    "Again putting on a roof, plumbing, electrical work, etc... is not the same as cake decorating. With a roof, either the job is done correctly or else it is wrong."

    -- Who says, you? Using the logic of this case, any roofer could claim that his work was "custom" and "artistry". Who is going to tell him otherwise? If the baker can use this argument, then why can't others?

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Sept. 28, 2017 4:41 p.m.

    A baker who cannot refuse a custom wedding cake for a homosexual wedding cannot refuse a custom cake for a white supremacist themed wedding. After all, most all white supremacists are white and discrimination based on race is wrong.

    I have to wonder if there is anyone other than ordained ministers that liberals will concede should be allowed to decline to participate in or provide custom goods and services to a homosexual wedding.

    Are wedding photographers recognised as artists? Or would you force a Christian photographer to set up poses and make art of conduct he holds as immoral?

    What of organists and other wedding musicians or DJs? Artists who can decline any job they want? Or mere laborers who must not hurt the feelings of any homosexual couples?

    Custom dress makers?

    And be honest. How many of you would just as soon eliminate the ability for clergy to perform legal marriages if they won't provide equal services to homosexual events as to real, conjugal marriages?

    No one should be denied general goods and services.

    No one should be compelled to support events or messages that offend him.

  • RedShirtHarvard Cambridge, MA
    Sept. 28, 2017 4:40 p.m.

    To "Laura Billington" no that is not splitting hairs. That is the difference between Smith's Bakery and their standardized cakes and going to a bakery where the cake decorator is an artist.

    With the bakery the decorator will show you what they have done, much like a resume.

    Again putting on a roof, plumbing, electrical work, etc... is not the same as cake decorating. With a roof, either the job is done correctly or else it is wrong.

  • kaysvillecougar KAYSVILLE, UT
    Sept. 28, 2017 4:17 p.m.

    It's interesting the can of worms that was opened by approving same sex marriage. This was so predictable. Unfortunately, there will be many more cases like this that will lead to the supreme court being forced to make a decision. I just don't understand how sexual rights which in my opinion are not found anywhere in the constitution, take precedent over religious rights and rights of conscience. I think the comparison of someone coming in to a cake shop asking that a swastika be painted in red and black is a reasonable comparison. Many Americans view gay marriage as reprehensible and no amount of legal cramming it down someone's throat will convince them that it's a good thing.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Sept. 28, 2017 3:56 p.m.

    What the author and others fail to admit is that if religious belief is sufficient reason to refuse services to LGBT customers, then it is also sufficient reason to refuse services to black customers, Mormon customers, female customers, elderly customers, etc.

    If not then why? Who would get to decide which religious beliefs are sufficient reason? The government? The business? If the business, then ANY business could justify ANYTHING using "religious belief". That leads to a breakdown in our civil society.

    Others try to claim that it's about separating out the customer from the event, but then they refuse to separate out the business from the owner - the two are in actuality two separate legal entities!

    All these "amici" ignore the basic reasoning that this is a business, not a religion and that we do actually restrict certain religious practices in our society.

    Public discrimination based on religious beliefs should not be allowed at all.

  • Vanceone Provo, UT
    Sept. 28, 2017 3:54 p.m.

    It's astonishing to me that the left is essentially arguing for slavery here. If I own a business and a gay person walks in the door.... I'm not allowed to refuse him anything, am I? On pain of "Discrimination! Bigot! Hater! You must comply because the gay has more rights than you!"

    We have the 13th amendment prohibiting slavery. But the left is arguing that you must, no choice at all, do whatever the gay person wants or you are "violating their rights!"

    Of course, it is Democrats that would argue that one class of people (blacks in 1856, Christians now) must do whatever the favored, Democrat voting class of people demands (White slaveholders in 1856, LGBT types now). If you don't like it, don't be a black back then or a Christian now, right? Democrats: proposing slavery for centuries.

  • christoph Brigham City, UT
    Sept. 28, 2017 3:50 p.m.

    I charge you $50 grand for a cake, and if you don't like my price, you can freely shop elsewhere, (I must add in court and attorney costs to the price, which companies call passing the cost along to the customer, which happens all the time.) Airlines raise price of first class ticket to keep me out.

  • Moderate Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 28, 2017 3:43 p.m.

    "dress designers were allowed to decline working for Mrs. Trump"
    They were not "allowed to decline". Its all just talk.

    Some designers have SAID they would not work with Mrs. Trump, but we don't have a case where Melania asked and was denied. If actually asked, the designer might relent. If not, she could sue them... just like the gay couple did with the baker.

  • silo Sandy, UT
    Sept. 28, 2017 3:32 p.m.

    @mayfair

    "some bakers etc do not like gays, lesbians and their weddings. So that fills your requirement for justified excusing themselves from being involved."

    Annnnnd no. Not even close. Let's change a couple words in your comment and see if you notice the key issue here.

    "Some bakers etc do not like blacks, hispanics, or Jews, and their weddings. So that fills your requirement for justified excusing themselves from being involved"

    You can't use your religion to discriminate against blacks. You can't use your religion to discriminate against gender. You can't use your religion to discriminate against other religion. And you can't use your religion to discriminate against gays in Colorado. You can try, but you'll likely face the same legal obstacles as this particular baker.

  • Jack from little rock Little Rock, AR
    Sept. 28, 2017 3:30 p.m.

    OK here comes the question . Who would want a "Wedding Cake" made by someone who didn't want to make it. The only reason I can think of is not to get a cake but to force compliance to their way of thinking. While I don't necessarily agree with the Baker, I do believe he has the right to do his "Expressive Art" how he wishes it to be done. On the other hand if he is selling donuts he needs to sell them to everyone.

  • Laura Billington Maple Valley, WA
    Sept. 28, 2017 3:16 p.m.

    @Redshirt, you're splitting hairs trying to distinguish Phillips' cakes as "custom" or "unique artistry". If he has a binder of pictures of cakes he has made--and he does--and you point to the one on page 63 and say, "I want one just like that", then there is no uniqueness, and no artistic expression--you are asking for a copy of a cake he already made for somebody else. It takes skill to make a good copy, certainly. Just like it takes a certain amount of skill for me to put a roof on a house, and have the rows all perfectly parallel and the right distance apart. But it's a roof, not an artistic creation, and if I turned down a job from a church because I disapproved of what they taught, I would, rightly, get hauled into court, and no amount of "religious freedom" argument would prevent me from getting fined.

  • HSTucker Holladay, UT
    Sept. 28, 2017 3:16 p.m.

    @a bit of reality: I just noticed the false racial claim you made that if a "black" (your word) football player takes a knee.

    Race baiting, like all identity politics, is evil.

  • Misty Mountain Kent, WA
    Sept. 28, 2017 3:03 p.m.

    "Phillips' journey to the high court began in July 2012, when a gay couple, David Mullins and Charlie Craig, visited Masterpiece Cakeshop to request a cake for their wedding reception. Phillips declined, explaining that participating in their event would go against his religious beliefs."

    No, Ms. Dallas, that is *not* what happened. In the words of Jack Phillips, himself, from a videotaped interview: After the couple said they wanted a wedding cake, "I said, 'Sorry, guys, I don't make cakes for same-sex weddings.'."

    All the talk about "artistic expression" and "religious freedom" and "participation" came much, much later---after the state investigated and fined Phillips for violating the state nondiscrimination statute.

  • HSTucker Holladay, UT
    Sept. 28, 2017 3:01 p.m.

    @a bit of reality: Yes, many Americans believe that the penalty for millionaire football players disrespecting the flag and the anthem should be that they no longer have the opportunity to entertain us in return for mountains of money. That would be a decision made by a private enterprise, not the government, nor would it be enforced at gunpoint, as the government does (and did).

    I find it interesting and instructive that the left often conflates government and private enterprise.

  • Daedalus, Stephen ARVADA, CO
    Sept. 28, 2017 2:56 p.m.

    Remember the Kitchens case challenging Utah's SSM ban and all the articles, opinion, and analysis that buoyed expectations that Utah would prevail?

    Those articles shaded the facts and legal analysis a bit too optimistically, given the SCOTUS decision in Windsor. That added to the real disappointment and frustration of folks who genuinely believed that the SSM-bans would be upheld.

    The coverage and comments on Masterpiece is like deja vu all over again.

    The dispositive fact in Masterpiece will be how the couple never had a chance to discuss any sort of decoration before being refused service. The baker needs the compelled speech/free expression element, and he just does not have it.

    Other 'bad facts' for the baker: the SSM ceremony would occur well before and 1000 miles away from the "event" where he did not want his cake served for religious reasons. And how he had no religious objection to baking a wedding cake for a dog marriage/

    Lastly, SCOTUS would need to overturn its well established precedent, Employ Div. v. Smith, which controls in states like Colorado that did not pass a mini-RFRA, and create a gaping loophole in all state public accommodations laws.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    Sept. 28, 2017 2:49 p.m.

    @ Billy Bob

    "The determining factor is that the baker does not want to participate in a gay wedding."

    What is the determining factor in making a wedding "gay?"

    @ Redshirt

    Your cite doesn't come close to resembling your claim.

    "They were not denied the cake because they were gay."

    Correct. Technically, they were denied because they're the same gender.

    "He would have created custom cakes for them for anything else."

    Wonder if he'd object to making an anniversary cake. That's a celebration of a same-sex marriage.

    "The only protected class here is religion."

    Phillips isn't claiming religious discrimination because none took place. The law would've applied to a baker of any denomination. The claim is violation of freedom of artistic expression. But again, he has to get past the fact that he WILL make wedding cakes for some, and the reason he won't for others is his freely chosen religious beliefs. He's essentially saying that gay couples should accommodate HIM. Neat trick when you can get other people to bear the consequences of your choices.

  • a bit of reality Shawnee Mission, KS
    Sept. 28, 2017 2:24 p.m.

    @ HSTucker - Holladay, UT

    You said, "@Fred44: No conservative is suggesting that the government should fine football players $137000 every time they take a knee during the national anthem. That's the difference."

    A somewhat influential Republican did in fact say that if a black football player takes a knee during the national anthem, he should be fired from his job. A crowd of Republicans cheered in agreement. In this particular case, that is a much stiffer penalty than a $137,000 fine.

  • RedShirtHarvard Cambridge, MA
    Sept. 28, 2017 1:42 p.m.

    To "Karen R." the article stated "To bolster and expand on these arguments, several of the amicus briefs dedicate pages and pages to religious freedom-related arguments, emphasizing the importance of allowing people like Phillips, who says his faith prevents him from participating in a same-sex marriage, to live out their beliefs."

    Now, if you want to talk protected classes. What about religion. Religion is a protected class.

    But we don't really have an issue with gays. They were not denied the cake because they were gay. He would have created custom cakes for them for anything else. If they wanted a custom retirement cake, he would have made it.

    The only protected class here is religion. Why are you and your ilk seeking to take away the protected class of Religion?

  • Billy Bob Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 28, 2017 1:31 p.m.

    Karen R,

    The determining factor is clearly not gender. He is willing to make a cake for a gay person for a birthday, a work event, a just for the heck of it party, etc, etc, etc. The determining factor is that the baker does not want to participate in a gay wedding. Personally, if I was a baker, I would not refuse to make a cake for a gay wedding even though I do not agree with it. Its business. But it should be up to the business owner whether or not he or she will participate in the event that they disagree with. And to be clear, I would have the same opinion if an atheist or evangelical or whatever baker had refused to make a cake for my LDS wedding reception or my kids baptism or whatever because he didn't agree with the event. I would just bring my business elsewhere. It really is that simple.

  • FatherOfFour WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Sept. 28, 2017 1:16 p.m.

    Go to an area where Mormons are not the majority. Then convince the majority of the landlords there to refuse to rent to Mormons for religious reasons. I'm betting the argument will change as soon as they find out their missionaries have no place to stay and no restaurants that will serve them food.

  • 3grandslams Eagle Mountain, UT
    Sept. 28, 2017 1:14 p.m.

    Clothing designers refuse service to the First lady based on politics. Bakers can certainly refuse service based on religious freedom. Private companies can actually refuse service to anyone for any reason. Employment is a different matter...however, this isn't an employment issue.

    To force the bakeries to cook a cake for an event they religiously oppose is called FREEDOM! The gay couple also has the FREEDOM to take their business to another bakery. The problem arises if the gay couple was forced to go the bakery, which they weren't. Lets go folks, you can't pick up the only one end of the debate, if you cry for freedom, it for all, even private companies.

  • sister GRASS VALLEY, CA
    Sept. 28, 2017 1:01 p.m.

    The Governor of Puerto Rico was on a well-known show Wed., Sept.27 and said "The President called BEFORE the hurricane hit and I have talked to him every day since. He has sent FEMA and other organizations>"

  • Mayfair City, Ut
    Sept. 28, 2017 12:52 p.m.

    silo said: "Designers are free to refuse to do business with Melania because they don't like her"

    Many would say that is exactly the point in this debate--
    that some bakers etc do not like gays, lesbians and their weddings.

    So that fills your requirement for justified excusing themselves from being involved.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    Sept. 28, 2017 12:44 p.m.

    @ Dan Smith

    "The baker was not willing to bake a cake for the homosexual's wedding with the person of the same gender."

    The determining factor in your sentence is gender. Gender isn't an event.

    @ Redshirt

    "It states that EVERYBODY who wants custom items made will be subject to the religious beliefs of the business owner."

    Please cite where this is stated. In any event, this is disingenuous in that it pretends that all are equally impacted, as is the case with Halloween. Not so with weddings and what determines the impact is gender, a protected class.

    @ observator

    The custom/shelf item distinction: Even shelf items are designed, aren't they? So if a baker designed the shelf cakes (apparently the case in the Masterpiece matter), and is willing to sell this cake to a gay couple, it proves what I've noted before: that "celebration" is entirely under an individual's control. It can't be compelled.

  • EscherEnigma Ridgecrest, CA
    Sept. 28, 2017 11:59 a.m.

    @Bluto
    "As to the Florist situation, nobody is suggesting a business can deny service to walk up customers."
    Um, actually... we've had a Michigan auto mechanic say he'll refuse service to any gay customers, a Michigan pediatrician drop a patient because the girl's parents were lesbians, an Ohio baker cancel an order for a birthday cake after e-stalking the customer and finding out she was a lesbian, that Utah judge that refused to approve an adoption by a gay couple because they were gay, gay people fired, evicted, and so-on, and that's before we even talk about parents who kick-out their minor children for being gay.

    And this is before we even talk about what the ADF (lawyers in this case) has said and done over the years. (long story short, they *earned* the SPLC's "hate group" designation)

    So yeah. Lots of folks are 100% on-board with denying all sorts of things to gay people.

  • silo Sandy, UT
    Sept. 28, 2017 11:46 a.m.

    @windsor
    "Anyone disagreeing with this is just showing themselves to be a egregious hypocrite"

    Actually, anyone agreeing with what you wrote is simply demonstrating that, like you, they simply don't get it.

    Designers are free to refuse to do business with Melania because they don't like her, because she's a Trump, because she's a republican, because she's from new York, or any number of reasons.

    They are not free to refuse to do business with her because she's white, nor because of her religion, nor if she was gay.

    When the baker in question stated that he wouldn't make the cake because the customers were gay, it was no different than if he said he wouldn't bake the cake because they were Jewish, or because they were black. The Baker discriminated against a protected class (at least in colorado).

  • RedShirtHarvard Cambridge, MA
    Sept. 28, 2017 11:39 a.m.

    To "Moderate" I don't know what planet you were married on, but I have never heard of somebody going to a wedding cake decorator and just pick one out of a catalog. Every bride I have seen go through the process has requested a custom cake. It may be similar to other cakes that the baker has created, but they request a bunch of custom features.

    But, you also have to consider what the baker shows a bride. Is the baker showing them a catalog or a portfolio. If it is a catalog, then yes, he should sell regardless of the event because it is not a custom item. If it is a portfolio, then the couple is requesting a unique item.

  • Fred44 Salt Lake City, Utah
    Sept. 28, 2017 11:17 a.m.

    HS Tucker,

    You said "@Fred44: No conservative is suggesting that the government should fine football players $137000 every time they take a knee during the national anthem. That's the difference."

    I think there is a reason that they aren't suggesting that the government should fine them, is because the government can't because they are not breaking any laws. I would think suggesting that you fire the SOB's ultimately if carried out has the same effect on the individual, it takes away their ability to make a living as they choose.

    One has been found to be breaking the law as currently written one is not. Which one do the republicans support? I am not unsympathetic to the baker, I just find it interesting that so many on the right want a wide interpretation for the freedom of speech which is mentioned in the article as one of their arguments and such a narrow interpretation when it comes to something that isn't even against current law.

    To say that the left wants to determine what is freedom of speech and what is freedom of religion but being unwilling to acknowledge that the right is doing the very thing for which you complain about is hypocritical.

  • 4601 Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 28, 2017 11:15 a.m.

    Wedding cakes and flower arrangements are not important. However, they have been made important because they are the focal point of the controversy between selling commodities and performing personal services. Can an actor refuse a part in a movie they find morally repugnant?
    Until the courts resolve this issue (The public is now polarized to the exclusion of reason.), both sides will continue in partisan confusion.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Sept. 28, 2017 11:00 a.m.

    What's next America?
    An American version of the Reichszentrale?

    ----

    The Reichszentrale was created on 10 October 1936

    The Reich Central Office for the Combating of Homosexuality and Abortion (German: Reichszentrale zur BekÄmpfung der HomosexualitÄt und der Abtreibung) was the central instrument of Nazi Germany for the fight against homosexuality in Nazi Germany and the fight against abortion.

  • observator east of the snake river, ID
    Sept. 28, 2017 11:00 a.m.

    "We like #321" they say, "except of course the names should say Mary and Jane instead of Mary and John."

    Looking at the pictures in the article, it appears to be much more involved than just changing the names on the cake. Someone is making a one-of-a-kind creation. While Mozart's symphonies have a similar style, they certainly vary by much more than just the key signature.

    To be honest, I'd be happy with cake #321 personally, but somehow folks go out of their way to find someone to make a unique, individual, never before made and never to be replicated article of confectionery. Because if it were only icing the names on the cake I think I'd be with you there, too. But these seem to be a lot more involved than that.

  • windsor City, Ut
    Sept. 28, 2017 10:47 a.m.

    If according to Vogue at least eight designers — including Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, and Philip Lim — have come out to say that they will not design clothes for Melania Trump (because they do not want personally and professionally to be linked in any way to her husband or to the GOP)
    then since they get to refuse on those grounds,
    all wedding industry people who do not want to personally or professionally be involved with a Same-Sex wedding should be allowed out of it as easily and gracefully as these dress designers were allowed to decline working for Mrs. Trump.

    Anyone disagreeing with this is just showing themselves to be a egregious hypocrite.

  • Bluto Sandy, UT
    Sept. 28, 2017 10:43 a.m.

    The Baker is not refusing to bake a cake or even sell one at a brick and mortar store..
    He is refusing the messaging on the cake.

    Let's say I want a cake with a swastika or a hammer and sickle or an anti- Semitic or Anti-Mormon slogan?

    Maybe I want a prohibited pejorative word or slogan for any group, on my cake.
    You know, the A-Z words.

    **Must sell a cake to the public...Absolutely!

    **Be compelled to portray a message, contrary to your own personal beliefs, or lose your license or be fined, absolutely NOT!

    As to the Florist situation, nobody is suggesting a business can deny service to walk up customers. That is not the situation here.

    However, it is an entirely different thing to be ordered to set up floral arrangements at a reception site or, by Govt. edict, you lose your Business License..

    Does a Printer have to print anything that walks in his front door?
    Say, racist, hateful, anti-whatever, violent, or subversive material?
    I think not.

    People have such a lack of understanding of the First Amendment.
    If you don't think so, try having a protest at your place of employment and see what happens.

  • Jimbo Low PLEASANT GROVE, UT
    Sept. 28, 2017 10:41 a.m.

    This is not a discrimination issue. This is a freedom issue. Any business should be able to do business as they see fit. Big Brother needs to stay out of Private businesses. The gay couple that was refused the cake needs to go to counseling and merge with the other snowflakes who have been wronged by society. Hopefully then they can get over the tremendous discriminatory harm that was done to them as clearly they have the right to have any bakery they want to bake their cake the way they want with a proper smile on the baker's face.

  • EscherEnigma Ridgecrest, CA
    Sept. 28, 2017 10:34 a.m.

    @The Rock
    I don't know, why are you trying to reward religious bakers for choosing to be offended by giving then an "opt-out of laws of general applicability free" card?

    Me? I'm not offended, or looking for revenge. I just want an equal playing field. Either we both are obligated to ignore your religious beliefs, or we both are free to consider them. But allowing you to consider your beliefs while I'm legally obligated to ignore them? No dice.

  • Moderate Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 28, 2017 10:32 a.m.

    observator "If they refused to sell cake #321 from their catalog, or any other typical shelf item, I'd be right with you. But that's not what we're talking about. We are talking about a custom-made, one-of-a-kind work."

    But that is exactly how it works. A couple wants a cake. They look up "bakery" and Google shows them a list of businesses. They pick one. The baker (businessman to me, artist to you) shows them a binder of cakes he has made. "We like #321" they say, "except of course the names should say Mary and Jane instead of Mary and John."

    "Mary and Jane? I'm sorry, but #321 with different names makes it a unique creation. I am an artist and refuse to have my art displayed at your marriage."

    The claim to artistry is a sham. It is a business that discriminates, plain and simple.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Sept. 28, 2017 10:29 a.m.

    @The Rock - Federal Way, WA
    Sept. 28, 2017 10:13 a.m.

    I always thought that Stick and Stones could break my bones but names can never hurt me. Clearly names do hurt but only if you allow them to do so.

    =======

    Your President is about to start a nuclear WWIII killing millions over being called names.
    3.5 million Americans in Puerto Rico are facing a humanitarian disaster and are being ignored by him out of political revenge.

    ....and you are worried about a single baker in Colorado - whos' 'religion' which is left un-disclosed - right to bigotry?

  • The Rock Federal Way, WA
    Sept. 28, 2017 10:13 a.m.

    It is interesting to note that the Old Testament required restitution when a crime was committed. If you stole you had to restore it.

    This is a good way of insuring that the penalty fits the crime.
    If you ask some groups the penalty for not baking a cake is a death sentence for their business. Clearly the penalty is way too large.
    Can any couple who had to visit more than one cake shop show they were harmed in any way? Was there physical injury? Financial injury? No to both cases. Were their feelings hurt? Oh yes and they want revenge on those with an attitude that they do not like.

    I always thought that Stick and Stones could break my bones but names can never hurt me. Clearly names do hurt but only if you allow them to do so.

    I was once publicly humiliated in front of more than 100 people and I was offended and angry. I wanted revenge. I though of all kinds of things I could do, to get revenge. When I realized the hate was destroying me. I stopped thinking about it and those feelings went away. It took effort to put it out of my mind. I made the decision to be offended and I made stop being offended.

    Being offended is a decision. Why reward people for that?

  • EscherEnigma Ridgecrest, CA
    Sept. 28, 2017 10:06 a.m.

    @Thomas Thompson
    "On the merits of the cake case, I have to express my surprise that the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case at all."
    Well, the case first came up to the court while it was sitting at 8 members, and they repeatedly kicked the can down the road until after Gorsuch was appointed. So it's safe to assume that prior to Gorsuch, there was exactly three votes to hear the case†. It's pretty easy to guess who those three votes were.

    But you are correct that the court overturns more often then it confirms.
    ________
    †if there was already four votes, they would have already accepted it. If there was only two votes, then there was no point in waiting as the new justice wouldn't change things anyway)

  • EscherEnigma Ridgecrest, CA
    Sept. 28, 2017 9:54 a.m.

    So are any of these folks defending *my* right to refuse service to someone because their holy book literally calls for my death?

    No?

    Well, if I have to ignore everything your holy book says about me, and serve you anyway, I think it's only fair to expect you to *also* ignore everything your holy book says about me, and serve me anyway.

    Or to put it another way... if your beliefs are a good basis to refuse me service, then they're a good basis to refuse you service. So either we both can consider your beliefs, or we both have to ignore your beliefs. But demanding I ignore your beliefs, while you get to consider them? Is not acceptable.

  • TMR Los Angeles, CA
    Sept. 28, 2017 9:50 a.m.

    I compliment Kelsey Dallas and the D-News for an in-depth article on an interesting case that could have far reaching implications. The pics emphasizing artistic expression may be a bit too much, but the point is well taken. I support same-sex marriage, but this issue is a little more complicated and it will be interesting to see how the Supreme Court proceeds.

  • HSTucker Holladay, UT
    Sept. 28, 2017 9:35 a.m.

    @Fred44: No conservative is suggesting that the government should fine football players $137000 every time they take a knee during the national anthem. That's the difference.

  • Dan Smith , AZ
    Sept. 28, 2017 9:33 a.m.

    Karen R

    "So rather than only gay couples being subject to a vendor's religious beliefs, let's agree that EVERY customer must be. The vendor must make a good faith effort with EVERY customer to determine that s/he doesn't violate a belief that the vendor feels s/he can't in good conscience overlook."

    Your approach is flawed and here's why. The Baker was willing to make a birthday cake for a person who was homosexual. The baker was willing to make a promotion cake for a person who was homosexual. The baker was willing to make a retirement cake for a person who was homosexual.

    The baker was not willing to bake a cake for the homosexual's wedding with the person of the same gender.

    Now do you see the difference? It's not discrimination against the PERSON. It's refusing to make a cake for the EVENT.

    So, should the baker be forced to bake a cake for events at a neo-Nazi event? white supremacist event? Black Panther event? Republican Party event? Democratic Party event? The answer is clearly NO. If you say otherwise, please think of the group you least despise and then ask yourself if you would want to be forced to go work for/with them.

  • observator east of the snake river, ID
    Sept. 28, 2017 9:28 a.m.

    " A plumber creates a unique work of art in fixing a leak. An auto mechanic creates a unique work of art in replacing the brakes."

    Not the same thing here. Replacing brakes is a common technical issue. When you can demonstrate that someone out there is putting brakes on a car in a way that is unique to anyone else, maybe we can have a discussion. And, having done my own plumbing, I can tell you that clever piping is not the same as creating a unique, expressive work for a particular event.

    Again, if the bakery closed their doors to a class of people entirely, I'd be right with you. If they refused to sell cake #321 from their catalog, or any other typical shelf item, I'd be right with you.

    But that's not what we're talking about. We are talking about a custom-made, one-of-a-kind work. Suppose John Williams refused to write the soundtrack for a movie because (for whatever reason) he didn't like the movie? And, for argument's sake, let's say the film's director and producer are gay. Is Williams required to write the score, because not doing so will be a discriminatory act?

  • RedShirtHarvard Cambridge, MA
    Sept. 28, 2017 9:27 a.m.

    To "Karen R. " did you read teh article??? It states that EVERYBODY who wants custom items made will be subject to the religious beliefs of the business owner.

    That means the gay couple will be treated equally as the family who wants the Halloween cake as the NAZI's who want and anti-Jewish cake, etc....

    You are getting what you want.

    To "goodnight-goodluck" this is not deciding who can and cannot be served when buying pre-made items. The flamboyantly gay couple can still go into the shop to buy a standard cake.

    To "Moderate" a plumber and mechanic are NOT artists. They are not creating anything. They are repairing existing items. I would worry if a mechanic was "artistic" when replacing an alternator. There is only one way to replace an alternator on my vehicle, and I would hope it is done right.

  • No One Of Consequence West Jordan, UT
    Sept. 28, 2017 9:18 a.m.

    Like it or not there will be dissenting opinions on matters of public policy. You don't change people's minds through legal punishments, though you may change their behavior. Artistic people may abandon their craft out of fear of punishment. Or they may comply, also out of fear coupled with economic necessity. But fear doesn't change hearts; it only causes more division. It's harder to love your neighbor when he/she comes after you with the threat of fines, financial destruction and/or imprisonment, under color of law.

    By declaring that same sex marriage could not be prohibited the court left other questions, like this one, undecided. It is right that they consider the question of compelled artistic expression which some seem to believe stems from their right to marry.

    I thought the Left celebrated Civil Disobedience and diversity. In the immortal words of Rodney King, "Can't we all get along?"

  • jsf Centerville, UT
    Sept. 28, 2017 9:11 a.m.

    "don't think it is ok for professional football players to take a knee during the national anthem because that is not the appropriate time to express their freedom of speech right." Wrong thread. What you are asking is that those opposed to the idea expressed by those taking a knee, is not allowed. The President and on down has the freedom to speak, even when it opposes somebodies actions and free speech.

    The idea continues by liberals that the voice of free speech must only be allowed on one side. Truly a draconian concept of a totalitarian society.

  • 1covey Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 28, 2017 9:00 a.m.

    What if a baker refused to bake a cake that celebrated the ante-bellum South ? What if a Muslim baker refused to do a cake that he/she felt insulted her beliefs ?

  • Moderate Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 28, 2017 8:46 a.m.

    observator - "If a painter is offered a commission for a new painting, is he/she required to accept it?... The question isn't similar to the lunch counter."
    Your example does not reflect the case, and the question is exactly similar to the lunch counter.

    Customers are not going to an artist and asking them to create a cake. They go to a business that advertises wedding cakes. The baker is not accepting commissions, they are selling product. Once they made the decision to sell product, they are required to submit to the regulations of a business. They must serve all.

    To argument "the baker's creation is unique and therefore art" applies to anything. A plumber creates a unique work of art in fixing a leak. An auto mechanic creates a unique work of art in replacing the brakes. The world is filled with "artists" who run a business. Yet none can restrict sales based on lifestyle or race.

  • Fred44 Salt Lake City, Utah
    Sept. 28, 2017 8:35 a.m.

    Just so I am clear, republicans think it is ok to refuse to bake a cake for a paying customer because that is there religious freedom right, but they don't think it is ok for professional football players to take a knee during the national anthem because that is not the appropriate time to express their freedom of speech right.

    Seems a bit hypocritical.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    Sept. 28, 2017 8:19 a.m.

    @Thomas Thompson

    I believe it only takes four justices to grant a petition for a writ of certiorari. If Justice Kennedy is one of those who wants to hear the case, don't expect it to turn out the way the petitioners hope.

  • goodnight-goodluck Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 28, 2017 7:55 a.m.

    I thought this was resolved by the civil rights act of 1964, you don't get to decide WHO gets a seat at your lunch counter, absent maybe no shoes no shirt.
    if you're in business to serve the public serve them.

  • observator east of the snake river, ID
    Sept. 28, 2017 7:31 a.m.

    If a painter is offered a commission for a new painting, is he/she required to accept it?

    If a composer is offered a commission for a new symphony, is he/she required to accept it?

    If we are saying that a baker must create a custom work (not something off the shelf, or a common item, but a unique artistic creation) for any particular reason, without the opportunity to refuse, then we are saying that any artist must create and/or perform for any occasion in support of any message, whether the artist agrees with the message or not.

    The question isn't similar to the lunch counter. No one is being prohibited from entering a store, or purchasing any typical menu item (the baker in this example sold many items to anyone who walked in the door). This is about the right of an artist to accept or reject a commission in support of a specific message, for any reason, or no reason at all.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    Sept. 28, 2017 6:15 a.m.

    I have yet to hear an argument from the pro-baker side that doesn't lower gay couples to second class while elevating religious vendors to a special class.

    But let's say we do want to give special consideration to those whose beliefs are based in a religion. We want them to be accommodated in a way others are not. But we also believe in equality (exception: belief types) and recognize that "LGBT customers can obtain their desired services from many willing vendors..." is really just "separate but equal."

    So rather than only gay couples being subject to a vendor's religious beliefs, let's agree that EVERY customer must be. The vendor must make a good faith effort with EVERY customer to determine that s/he doesn't violate a belief that the vendor feels s/he can't in good conscience overlook. And, of course, the vendor too would be subject to such tests when s/he is a customer.

    Otherwise, IMO, these vendors are asking the government to compel gay couples to be treated differently for the sake of the vendor's religious belief. In the public square.

    That is messed up (IMO).

  • Thomas Thompson Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 28, 2017 6:06 a.m.

    Many thanks to Kelsey Dallas for a very fine article.

    On the merits of the cake case, I have to express my surprise that the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case at all. But very often, when the Court agrees to hear a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari, it is because a majority of the Court disagrees with the lower court and wishes to reverse. The Court of Appeals sided with those who would force the baker to bake the cake. My prediction is that the Supreme Court will reverse (that's not the result I would personally prefer, but it is what I think will happen).

  • Daedalus, Stephen ARVADA, CO
    Sept. 28, 2017 5:23 a.m.

    Puerto Rico is experiencing a human catastrophe that will require weeks if not months of massive assistance and support to prevent 100,000 or more deaths.

    And DN runs yet one more puff piece on Colorado cake "artist".

    Wake up...the real world needs you!