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06/05/2018

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Sean Martin

"As Kennedy said, we would respect the right of a rabbi, minister or priest to decline to officiate a same-sex marriage on the grounds of their religious viewpoint."

A false equivalency, sorry. A rabbi's religious viewpoint is directly tied to his job as a rabbi: people come to him for religious guidance and expect him to act according to the dogma of his faith. Somehow I dont remember a cake as being anywhere near close to mentioned in any of the holy texts as the inviolate word of Whatever One Calls God. Nor do people generally go to bakers for daily prayers.

We can tap dance around the narrowness of the decision, but the simple fact remains that the Court gave its blessing to discrimination that violated Colorado's state laws. Yes, I realize that federal law trumps (excuse the pun) state law, but supposedly when it comes to civil rights, governments are all supposed to be in there together. "Religious freedom" simply means no one's going to arrest you for merely *being* a Christian, and no one going to tear down your church as a social entity merely because one does not agree with its tenets (and even then, the US has real trouble with the concept of that, but we'll let it pass for the moment). "Religious freedom" does not give you the right to say to someone "I wont provide a product or service to you because I find you a lesser human being than I am." This baker can believe any fool thing he wants, but when he opens his doors to business, he loses the right to say "No, you're not good enough for me."

The fascinating thing is how many people also refuse to see this as a replay of the civil rights struggles in the 1960s, because in thier minds the tint of one's skin is different than one's inborn sexual preferences. The US still clings to that concept that one's sexual identity is "a choice" and leverages that into, as we see right here, discrimination. Of course, we'll ignore that one's faith is very much a choice, and by this logic should have no legal protections whatsoever — in which case the Court's decision is doubly wrong.

Mike Peterson

Not at all a "false equivalency" because he didn't hold it equivalent -- in the next sentence he says that it isn't and that in most cases, we can't allow the exception.

Read the decision. As I summarized it, they (except Thomas) basically felt that, had the Commission given him a fair hearing before turning him down, they'd have agreed.

And as I said, if someone brought a cleaner case, I'm pretty sure nondiscrimination would win.

Although the issue of how "custom" the cake is remains interesting. I don't think it would have been decisive, had the commission not blown the hearing.

Sean Martin

A "fair hearing"? He violated state law. That's it. The commission did what the law says it's supposed to do. It's not like this guy's claiming extenuating circumstances, like a speeder trying to fight a traffic ticket by claiming he was trying to get his wife to the hospital: instead, it was "my love for Jesus that made me turn away those awful sinners to precent them from eating my divine cake!" I mean, c'mon, Mike: had this case revolved around anything other than LGBTQ folk, the court would have begrudgingly gone along with the state, with perhaps a wrist slap on the baker. But because the US still has "issues" with sexual minorities, we'll see legal contortions like this that, narrow as they may be, just embolden the Religious Right into pushing it further and further. Already, in North Carolina, there's been talk on certain conservative boards that now it's okay to up signs that say "We reserve the right to refuse service to blacks and gays" because of this ruling. And they will, if questioned, get the best lawyers possible to make the case that they are no different from a baker in Colorado whose religious freedom was infringed. And this totally not unsurprising precedent will be embraced and expanded and made into policy — and you know it as well as I. It's the 1950s all over again, just trading out one minority for another.

Dave from Philadelphia

As someone who is an employment attorney (thus having experience in discrimination law), a library attorney (thus having experience in public accomodation law & constitutional law) and the father of a lesbian (thus being primed to condemn this decision) ... I concur with Mike's digest of the case. The Colorado Commission was incredibly disrespectful of the baker's arguments about his motivations. The majority of the Supreme Court wanted to send a *clear* message that such will not be tolerated. I concur with the majority opinion.

Dave from Philadelphia

And I also agree that, reading tea leaves, unless the membership on the Court changes, it appears in a clean case it will rule in favor of the couple.

Dave from Philadelphia

That all said, Sean, I agree that a significant percentage of the country still believes being gay/transgender is a choice rather than a biological component of who they are. ::sad:: But, by a 5-4 split, currently the Supreme Court does not.

Mike Peterson

Here's the upcoming case to watch, which may provide the ruling that Masterpiece Bakery did not:
http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/arlenes-flowers-inc-v-washington/

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