Before I start I want to make sure everyone realizes something about me. I know that this is a very controversial topic. I do not consider myself to be racist, homophobic, misogynistic, or any other description that many people may place upon me because I am a straight white Christian male. I know that I am not a Constitutional scholar nor am I in any way a lawyer. I lean a little to the right of center in my philosophy but am very much a centrist if not left of center on the domestic rights of all humans. I believe in the Constitution. I believe in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and all of the subsequent acts and decisions that have come from it. I firmly believe that each citizen of this great country DOES have certain inalienable rights as Thomas Jefferson and John Adams wrote. I believe that it is the job of the Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution and to uphold the laws of this country. I believe that in the past the Supreme Court has made mistakes, major mistakes and that they will continue to do so in the future. They are just nine human beings and are far from perfect.
Now, for the Baker v the Cake. This is a very difficult situation and we must be able to walk an extremely fine line to whatever decision we come to. I listened to the arguments made before the court three times now and I have a hard time coming to a conclusion that is not extremely narrow. This case could, if decided too broadly, set us on a slippery slope that could undo all that we have accomplished since 1954. We must stay off that slope. There is far too much at stake here.
This case is far more complicated than religious freedom versus discrimination. The decision of the Court could have an immense effect on everyone, particularly those who are considered part of a protected minority group. However, the freedom of religion must not be broached either. So, what should we do?
After listening to the arguments, I feel like the attorneys for the baker took too safe of an attack on the situation. They did not argue for freedom of religion necessarily, but rather freedom of artistic expression. I feel like they did this in an attempt to broaden their argument to the Court.
I did some research and listened to other points of view. One right leaning vlogger, Matt Christiansen, came to the conclusion that a business has the right to decide who they have as customers or not. Starting with the standard "No shirt, no shoes... no service" argument he carries that to the Baker v Cake case via tearing down the majority of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. His reasoning, as far as I could tell, was that a shop owner should be able to discriminate and that by doing so he would put his business at risk because the majority of people would quit going to the business because they are offended by his stance and philosophy as well as his actions.
Then we have the freedom of religion, or more to the point concerning this particular case, the freedom of religious expression. This is highly protected by the Constitution as well and it should be. Now it comes to what qualifies as religious expression. The argument for the baker here was that the couple told him the cake was for a same sex wedding and he refused to bake a cake for that event because it went against his religious views. There was no writing on the cake and as far as I can tell no indication from the decorating of the cake that it was to be used at such an event. The baker would not have known at all what he was baking the cake for if the couple had not told him. If the couple had told him about the event or maybe just asked for certain words to be decorated on the cake or a sculpture be placed on the cake that indicated what kind of event it was going to be, then I think the baker would have the right to refuse baking that cake. It is called "compelled speech". You can not compel someone to create something or be of service to something or say something he does not believe in. If the cake was already made and on display, he would have to sell it to them. I believe if it was a cake that was simply decorated with fancy flowers or such, no harm done. If the couple wanted something on the cake that said "Phil and Craig .. may you have a long life together" or had two men standing under a trellis holding hands, then I believe the baker could then say that he could not go against his religious beliefs in decorating a cake as such and suggest that they may be happier with another baker. I mean, if you compel someone to decorate a cake against his personal beliefs, how good of a job do you think he will do anyway? Not very I don't think. One of the samples that the attorneys tried to give was if a black owned bakery was visited by customers claiming to be members of the KKK and asking for a cake with a cross sculpted on top of it. No one would consider it outrageous if the baker refused to do so. However that same baker seeing a group from a local church come in and asked for the exact same cake, one with a cross sculpted on it, he would have no problem creating that cake for them. For me, I would agree that the baker in this situation has every right to not create a cake for the KKK. No questions asked.
Conclusion... The baker can not deny service based solely on the sexual preference of the couple. If the couple wants a cake already on display, they have the right to purchase it, or if they want a cake created that has no symbols or words depicting anything against the baker's personal philosophy, the couple should expect the baker to create the cake. If, however, the couple requests certain language or symbolism on the cake, the baker can refuse to bake that cake based on his philosophy that baking such a cake would be offensive to him.
This decision that I came up with will not agree with the Supreme Court's. I can almost guarantee it. I do realize I may have stepped on some toes here but that is not my intent. My intent is to keep the Constitution as something that I can believe in. I looked at it from a simple layman's view of the law and common sense and fairness. I want to see our country continue making progress on civil rights for EVERYONE. I want people to be able to do business without compromising their personal religious beliefs. The down side to this is that it could open up numerous other situations along the same lines in future cases. I can see, disappointingly I might add, a case in the future where we may end up seeing Loving v Virginia re-argued under personal beliefs. That would signal that we are in danger of undoing everything that has been accomplished.
I know that this whole writing may sound very simplistic and it is. I am just an average American of average intelligence with an average understanding of the law. There is so much more at stake in this decision, from both points of view, then I can even begin to express or understand.
I do think that it will have to be an extremely narrow scope to protect everyone's civil rights without dismantling all of the progress that has been made since Brown v Board of Education and the 1964 Civil Rights Act. We can not, we MUST not undo all the progress that has been made and continue to make progress in the future.