Three Colorado appeals-court judges endorsed Thursday a lower court’s decision to force a Christian baker, already labeled by a state official as a Nazi, to violate his faith and provide wedding cakes to same-sex couples.
The state’s plan also includes indoctrinating bakery workers regarding the treatment of homosexual customers.
The state Court of Appeals opinion by Judge Dan Taubman was joined by Alan Loeb and Mike Berger.
They rejected constitutional arguments raised by Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys who represented baker Jack Phillips and his Masterpiece Cakeshop.
Phillips was targeted by homosexuals who explained they were getting married in another state but wanted a cake in Colorado, where same-sex marriage at the time was not legal. The court opinion notes Phillips said his bakery accepts customers regardless of sexual orientation but does not make cakes for same-sex wedding ceremonies.
Nevertheless, the homosexual duo, Charlie Craig and David Mullins, filed a complaint with the state, which ruled against the bakery. One official compared Phillips and his cakeshop to Nazis.
That was when Diann Rice, a member of the state civil rights commission, said: “I would also like to reiterate what we said in the hearing or the last meeting. Freedom of religion and religion has been used to justify all kinds of discrimination throughout history, whether it be slavery, whether it be the Holocaust, whether it be – I mean, we – we can list hundreds of situations where freedom of religion has been used to justify discrimination. And to me it is one of the most despicable pieces of rhetoric that people can use to – to use their religion to hurt others.”
ADF had argued to the Colorado Court of Appeals: “Such alarming bias and animus toward Phillips’s religious beliefs, and toward religion in general, has no place in civil society. At least one commission member holds such beliefs. And her comment suggests that other members of the commission may share her view that people who believe marriage is only between a man and a woman are comparable to those who committed the Holocaust. This anti-religious bias undermines the integrity of the commission’s process and final order.”
The appeals court judges ignored the bias charge.
And while the court admitted the case “juxtaposes” the rights of the homosexuals to those of Phillips, it concluded that Phillips’ rights are secondary to the rights of homosexuals to buy a wedding cake wherever they choose.
The state commission ruled that Masterpiece discriminated inappropriately and ordered Phillips to stop. The state also demanded he “take remedial measures, including comprehensive staff training and alteration to the company’s policies.”
Further, the state is requiring him to file reports for two years proving his compliance with the state-endorsed homosexual advocacy.
ADF spokesman Jeremy Tedesco said: “Americans are guaranteed the freedom to live and work consistent with their faith. Government has a duty to protect people’s freedom to follow their beliefs personally and professionally rather than force them to adopt the government’s views. Jack simply exercised the long-cherished American freedom to decline to use his artistic talents to promote a message with which he disagrees. The court is wrong to deny Jack his fundamental freedoms. We will discuss further legal options.”
The appeals court judges adopted the lower court’s determination line by line.
Specifically, the court said the concern that the bakery would be viewed as endorsing homosexuality was negligible. Taubman said Phillips case differs from another in which the state of Colorado allowed a bakery featuring sexually explicit products to refuse to create two “Bible-shaped cakes inscribed with … ‘homosexuality is a detestable sin. Leviticus 18:2.'”
Taubman argued the other case centered on “offensive” messages inscribed on the cake, unlike the Phillips case.
“We recognize that a wedding cake, in some circumstances, may convey a particularized message celebrating same-sex marriage and, in such cases, First Amendment speech protections may be implicated,” Taubman wrote.
But he said that issue would not be addressed now.
The Masterpiece business, Taubman said, “is not sufficiently expressive to warrant First Amendment protections.”
He likened objecting to the promotion of same-sex relationships on biblical grounds to racism.
“As one court observed in addressing a similar free exercise challenge to the 1964 Civil Rights Act: ‘Undoubtedly defendant … has a constitutional right to espouse the religious beliefs of his own choosing, however, he does not have the absolute right to exercise and practice such beliefs in utter disregard of the clear constitutional rights of other citizens. This court refuses to lend credence or support to his position that he has a constitutional right to refuse to serve members of the Negro race in his business establishment upon the ground that to do so would violate his sacred religious beliefs.'”
The court claimed the law is neutral, generally applicable and “does not impose burdens on religious conduct not imposed on secular conduct.”
Phillips attorneys argued their client “did not decline to design and create complainants’ wedding cake because of their sexual orientation, but because of the message about same-sex marriage they wished to convey, which is deeply at odds with his religious beliefs.”
“Phillips does not object to, nor does he refuse to serve, homosexuals.”
“Each one denied us service, and even used deviant insults and obscenities against us,” he said.
“One baker even said that she would make me a cookie with a large phallus on it just to insult us because we are Christian. We recorded all of this in a video that will stun the American people as to how militant and intolerant the homosexual bakers were,” said Shoebat.
Shoebat said that after the experiment, he received “a ton of hate messages saying that we were ‘hateful’ for simply giving them a taste of their own medicine.”
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2015/08/court-rules-in-christian-bakers-same-sex-marriage-case/#CSuURyd4BaTF8FCu.99