According to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a Christian baker in the state violated Colorado laws when he refused to bake a cake for a gay wedding. But in a new ruling today, bakeries that refused to make a cake for a Christian who wanted “anti-gay” Bible verses written on them in frosting are in the clear. Excerpt:
Last week, the Colorado Civil Rights Division ruled that Denver’s Azucar Bakery did not discriminate against William Jack, a Christian from Castle Rock, by refusing to make two cakes with anti-gay messages and imagery that he requested last year.
The dispute began March 13, 2014 when Jack went to the bakery at 1886 S. Broadway and requested two cakes shaped like bibles. He asked that one cake have the image of two groomsmen holding hands in front of a cross with a red “X” over them. He asked that the cake be decorated with the biblical verses, “God hates sin. Psalm 45:7” and “Homosexuality is a detestable sin. Leviticus 18:2”, according to the Civil Rights Divisions’ decision.
On the second bible-shaped cake, Jack also requested the image of the two groomsmen with the red “X”. He wanted it decorated with the words “God loves sinners” and “While we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Romans 5:8.”
He told the civil rights agency he ordered the cakes with the imagery and biblical verses to convey that same-sex marriage is, in his words, “un-biblical and inappropriate.”
To be clear, I think that the bakeries in this dispute have every right to decline to bake those cakes. But then, I think the baker who didn’t want to bake a gay wedding cake had the same right.
I see absolutely no meaningful distinction between these cases. The first baker believed that baking a cake for a particular ceremony was an act of expression he did not wish to participate in because it violated his conscience. So did the second set of bakers. The only difference I can see is that the Colorado commission privileges expression with which it agrees.