Devil’s Food Cake: What the Master CakeShop ruling means for the future of religious versus civil rights

gay wedding

gay weddingIn a hair-splitting breakdown, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Master CakeShop owner, Jack Phillips, after a six-year legal battle between himself and Charlie Craig and David Mullins, a gay couple. They were refused service in Phillips’ shop after the proprietor expressed that constructing a wedding cake for the couple conflicted with his religious beliefs.

While a Colorado court previously ruled that Phillips’ refusal to accommodate the couple violated civil rights laws, the Supreme Court reversed this decision in a partisan 7-2, concluding that the legal proceedings in Colorado had shown a hostility toward the baker’s religious views.

Citing both religious exercise and free speech rights, the Court continued in its final opinion that “custom wedding cake[s] [are] not an ordinary baked good; [their] function is more communicative and artistic than utilitarian.”

“Accordingly, the government may not enact content-based laws commanding a speaker to engage in protected expression: An artist cannot be forced to paint, a musician cannot be forced to play, and a poet cannot be forced to write.”

The 7-2 split included liberal justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor’s dissent, as Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan joined with conservatives Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas, and Chief Justice John Roberts in the outcome.

For LGBTQ Community, Hope is Not Lost

While gay rights’ advocates reserve their well-earned right to outrage, as well as the time to recover from the undeniably disheartening results of this difficult battle, most commentators following the case insist that, in the long run, the ruling likely won’t be a total loss for the LGBTQ community.

Phillips’ success, as a ruling alternatively in favor of Craig and Mullins’ arguments would likewise provide, shines a spotlight upon the legal holes and common “pros”, “cons” and emotions that arise when religious accommodation and civil accomodation rights are put in the same kennel. This is all, in fact, invaluable information toward a more productive dialogue in the future as similar court cases arise, now with a solid argumentative basis established.

Since the case’s kindling in 2012, coverage and debate over the validity of the baker’s, and that of the gay couple’s arguments, have already supplied an ample forum to uncover and investigate the limitations of LGBTQ rights that subsist in public spaces and use of allegedly public services—inequities that, many of which, reside from unresolved anti-gay sentiments. Without confrontation, these injustices go unresolved in U.S. legislation and, in many cases, long-standing lawmakers.

That understood, the public should cautiously anticipate a more satisfying resolution in the near future.

Author: justine

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