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Taking the cake: Supremes consider compelled speech

EDITORIAL
December 06. 2017 12:21AM


If it is illegal to refuse to sell a cake to a gay customer, is it also illegal to decline to design a cake for his wedding?

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments yesterday in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd.. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. At issue is whether bakery owner Jack Phillips can be compelled to design a wedding cake for a same-sex couple despite his religious objections.

Phillips also closes his business on Sundays, and won’t make cakes with alcohol, or for Halloween or divorce parties.

The case has largely been argued on religious liberties, but the broader point is that no one should be forced to express ideas contrary to their own beliefs.

The owner of a tattoo parlor need not have a religious objection to refuse to create a swastika tattoo. An artist should not be forced to create a painting or sculpture.

State and federal antidiscrimination laws prevent business owners from refusing to serve customers because of race, religion, or sexual orientation. A black man or a gay couple have the same right to public accommodations as anyone. But government goes too far when it overrides a citizen’s right to disagree. That’s not tolerance. It is oppression.

The court has found a right for same-sex couples to marry. Nowhere in the Constitution do these couples have a right to force others to participate in their weddings.


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