Today is the day that Masterpiece Cakes gets its day in court.
Nevermind that the plaintiffs, a gay couple who seeks to force a Christian baker to decorate a custom cake for their wedding. The case is about the baker and a business owner’s right to practice their faith through their work. I am no expert on the law.
I am at best a moderate Christian. I’m fairly liberal on LGBT issues. But, this isn’t about discrimination against the LGBT community. This is about where the government ends and a person’s right to practice their faith begins.
At issue is whether or not a person’s faith and their devotion in their professional life supersede so-called discrimination laws in states. A baker in Colorado was asked by a gay couple to make a custom cake for their wedding. The baker, a Christian, said he would gladly sell a pre-made cake, but because of his faith, he could not make a custom one, as it would violate his belief in traditional marriage.
The gay couple took it to Colorado’s civil rights board, who agreed that it was discrimination, and ever since, the baker’s very livelihood has been completely trashed by media, activists, and the government itself.
Now, keep in mind the precedent set here should the Court say you can’t refuse to do work for somebody something based on your faith. Those implications are not just for Christians, but it can apply to anyone of any belief for just about anything. In essence, the plaintiff’s victory means the government has complete control over when you can and can’t produce, should it choose to act on it.
The case has made it all the way to the Supreme Court, who will hear the oral arguments today. It is absolutely a fool’s game to predict how the nation’s highest court will go, but you should pay careful attention to the questions asked by Anthony Kennedy, who is very likely (once again) the Court’s swing vote.
If I were foolish enough to bet on the case, I’d look with cautious optimism at the Hobby Lobby case from a few years back. The Court ruled that a private business had the right to choose whether or not their insurance covered certain things. That bodes well for Masterpiece Cakes, but it is impossible to fully determine whether or not the Court will extend the Hobby Lobby precedent all the way to providing services.
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