The Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission has ordered a suburban Denver baker named Jack Phillips to make wedding cakes for same-sex couples, finding that his religious objections do not supersede the state’s anti-discrimination statutes. Because if the Constitution should be subordinate to anything it’s the local thought police and nuptial pastries.
Raju Jaram, one of the reprehensible commissioners– whose contact information is nowhere to found on Colorado’s government site – apparently said: “I can believe anything I want, but if I’m going to do business here, I’d ought to not discriminate against people.”
No, you can’t. Because Jack Phillips isn’t discriminating against gay Coloradans. Gay customers, as far as all the news stories have suggested, are free to shop in the bakery and purchase (at the same price) any of the cakes, cookies, pastries they like without ever being asked by anyone who they love or what the gender equation is in their sex life. Public accommodations, fine. But the fact is that Phillips does not want to participate in a specific ceremony because he holds authentic, well-documented, age-old religious objections to such an event in the same way that a Hasidic Jew or orthodox Muslim may not want to participate in a ceremony that proclaims Jesus our Lord and Savior. Maybe if we begin forcing atheists to party plan baptisms the point would become clearer.
Though you, and I, may find Phillip’s objections lacking in merit or even objectionable, according to the blueprint of the American Founding, religious concerns should take precedent over any “civil rights” of cake seekers. Forcing Americans to violate their religion should be avoided unless there is a clear and undeniable compelling interest. Is there no other establishment that bakes cakes in all of Lakewood, Colorado? Because I found at least a dozen other bakeries in the town and surrounding areas. Two years ago, the president of the United States agreed with Phillips, yet today the latter is being run out of business for failing to evolve quickly enough. All this, when capitalism provides gay Coloradans with a bunch of pro-gay businesses they could support less than a mile away.
It is unclear what power the Colorado Civil Right Commission has to enforce its ruling. Does it fine Phillips until he’s out of business? In an earlier ruling, an administrative law judge ruled that Phillips could not turn away gay couples seeking cake, but did not impose fines in the case. Perhaps the National Guard – as Ron Fournier once implicitly suggested – should be called in to insure that all the egg whites are properly separated from the yolks? Or perhaps the president should chime in with, “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”?