Court Monitor

Icing on the Cake

Like most states, Colorado defines marriage as between a man and a woman, but that did not stop two Colorado men from traveling to Massachusetts to be married, and then demanding that a baker in Colorado provide a wedding cake for them with two men atop the cake.

Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, is a devout Christian who declined to make a same-sex wedding cake. "My issue is that I don't want to be forced to participate in a same-sex wedding," he said. He added that he would bake a birthday cake for a gay person; it was participation in a same-sex wedding that was the problem. "We would close down the bakery before we would complicate our beliefs," Phillips added.

That may be the result, because the Colorado Civil Rights Commission unanimously ordered him to start making wedding cakes for same-sex customers. Mr. Phillips was also ordered to provide anti-discrimination training to his employees, and to submit quarterly reports to Colorado state authorities about any customers he refuses to serve. All this despite the fact that same-sex marriage is not recognized as valid in Colorado.

Masterpiece Cakeshop and Jack Phillips are not the only victims. In Oregon, a shop called Sweet Cakes by Melissa, owned by devout Christians Aaron and Melissa Klein, was fined by Oregon's Bureau of Labor and Industries for not making same-sex wedding cakes. That was supposedly unlawful discrimination based on sexual orientation, although Oregon's state constitution declares that "only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or legally recognized."

In New Mexico, which also did not recognize same-sex marriage, Elane Photography and its owner Elaine Huguenin were fined for refusing to participate in a same-sex marriage ceremony. The fine was upheld by the state supreme court.

Earlier this year, the Arizona legislature enacted and submitted to the governor a law that would have broadly protected those who place their religious faith above demands made by the same-sex marriage movement. The Arizona statute would have expanded the definition of a religious person to include any legal entity, including businesses, and expanded rights of religious freedom broadly to include the practice or observance of religious tenets.

A firestorm of opposition erupted in the media against the Arizona legislation, causing the governor to veto it. Evidently the ability to file lawsuits asserting discrimination by Christian businesses is a key part of the gay agenda.

Meanwhile, federal district courts, from Pennsylvania to Texas to Wisconsin to Oregon, have been striking down state laws that prohibit same-sex marriage. Those cases are on appeal, and are likely to reach the U.S. Supreme Court within a year or two.

But the political forces behind the same-sex marriage movement are not waiting, and religious schools could be the next target. The Archdiocese of Cincinnati, after being stung by some costly lawsuits, has rewritten the contract for its 2,200 teachers in Catholic schools to call every teacher a "minister" who must therefore comply with Church teachings. In addition, the Archdiocese recently required every teacher to agree in writing not to engage in or publicly support certain conduct that is contrary to Church teachings.