Cake and the Constitution

Here are some reflections on the case currently before the Supreme Court involving Jack Philips and his Masterpiece Cake Shop in Lakewood. I know the case has brought to the forefront all kinds of issues involving religious freedom and public accommodation for a business. It is unfortunate that a literal “federal case” can be made out of something that in reality lacks merit.

I like the saying, “truth is stranger than fiction.” I wonder if the framers of our constitution ever envisioned a day when a “constitutional crisis” would be triggered over flour and sugar.

It has been interesting to see the “crisis” and handwringing that has resulted with Jack Philip’s refusal to make a wedding cake for a gay couple. All types of issues ranging from public accommodation to religious freedom have been brought into the resulting debate.

However, the reality this is more of a manufactured crisis and controversy than what has merited all the costs involved and personal suffering for Jack Philips and inconvenience for others who would have benefited from his services.

Masterpiece Bakery is located in my old House District. I would on occasion stop and purchase some of the bakery items at Jack’s store. That is what hundreds of other customers have done over the years including the gay couple that claim discrimination and a lack of “public accommodation.”

The proverbial “line in the sand” arose when the gay couple asked for a handcrafted wedding cake. Since Jack viewed that as an endorsement of gay marriage which was a conflict of his personal beliefs, his refused. This was not a rejection of the individuals involved, it was a lack of willingness to participate, in Jack’s view to partner and participate in an “event.”

Jack’s position was that it would be no different than a gay couple attending a church where they were welcomed, but a minister of that church refusing to officiate the wedding ceremony, based on personal and religious conviction.

I find it interesting and somewhat ironic that in Lakewood where Masterpiece is located, right across the street is a bakery that makes and specializes in exquisite custom-made wedding cakes. Those cakes, unlike Masterpiece, are routinely displayed in the window of their business. Instead of walking a few hundred feet away, a couple decides to make a literal “federal case” out of, not a refusal to be served as customer, but a refusal for a cake artist to participate in their wedding event.

I view this as a fabricated “crisis” that has resulted in faulty comparisons to all kinds of discrimination actions in the past and hypothetical and unrealistic comparison in the present. If Jack Philips refused to serve the offended couple as customer, which he did not, it could merit a legitimate case for “public accommodation.”

A realistic examination of the facts reveals the allegations are fictitious and unreasonable and a fabricated civil rights violation. The truth is great pain and financial loss has been inflicted not on a gay couple, but on a business owner who is willing to stand with his principles and personal convictions.

It is unfortunate the Civil Rights Commission and the Courts have been complicate in furthering an issue that should not have been an issue. I trust the Supreme Court will see this case based on truth and not fiction.