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A Gay Couple, a Wedding-Cake Baker & a Supreme Court Decision--What It Taught Us!

Updated on June 20, 2018
Deborah McCoy profile image

Deborah McCoy is president of the American Academy of Wedding Professionals and is the author of bridal-reference books.


The Baker & the Gay Couple End Up at the Supreme Court. How Did This Happen?

It all starts in Colorado where a baker by the name of Jack Phillips refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple named David Mullins and Charlie Craig. He cited his religious beliefs as the reason. He is a Christian.

The state law of Colorado "...bars businesses from refusing service based on race, sex, marital status or sexual orientation."* And so Mullins and Craig took this baker to court where he was convicted. Phillips, however, fought back and the matter ended up at the Supreme Court, where this decision was overturned.


Put Yourself in the Baker's Shoes and Let's Analyze

What happens if a gay couple walks into your bakery and wants to buy a chocolate cake that's displayed in your case. You say, "No, I can't sell to you because you're gay and I'm a Christian." Now that is blatant discrimination and you are denying this couple "service" based on "sexual orientation" (as the law states).

But what if this couple asks that you bake them a wedding cake, specifically custom, designed for them (as all wedding cakes are), and you refuse based on your religious belief? Now, that's a different cup of tea.

No one can compel you to do something that in your heart, and due to your religious conviction, is against what you believe and honor. That is not the American way.

It is one of the reasons that America was founded.


A 7-2 Decision in Favor of the Baker...

The Supreme Court decision was 7-2 in favor of the baker and was not close. In fact, two liberal justices sided with the conservatives on the panel--with two dissenting.

What was determined, in a nutshell, was that the state of Colorado, where the original decision was handed down against the baker, did not take into consideration the baker's "rights" and showed "hostility toward his religious beliefs."*

In a nutshell: You cannot be compelled to do something against your will and/or your religious belief.


A Win-Win for the Baker and the Gay Couple... What We Learned

The Supreme Court "concluded that the commission violated Phillips' religious rights under the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment."*

The lawyer for Phillips said, "...the decision makes clear that the government must respect Jack's beliefs about marriage."*

The lawyer for the couple said, "the high court made it clear that businesses open to the public must serve everyone."*

And so, in the end, everyone wins.

Note: If you're a wedding vendor who's asked to do something by a client that violates your religious beliefs (and not just the gay issue), be aware that you do have rights, protected by the United States Constitution.

If you are a couple about to marry, respect others religious beliefs. If one vendor says "no" there are so many others who will say "yes".


Deborah McCoy


(c) 2018, Deborah McCoy, AAWP. All rights reserved.


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