When gay couple Charlie Craig and David Mullins entered Masterpiece Cakeshop desiring a wedding cake, they were denied by owner Jack Phillips, an evangelical Christian, and instead left with a bitter lawsuit. The judge should rule Phillips guilty of unlawful discrimination against Craig and Mullins.
Phillips has argued this situation violates his religious rights. The baker is unaware that there is a clear distinction between the right to believe and the right to act. People’s religious rights do not allow for them to use their religion against others — in this case, rejecting the couple service.
People made dubious assumptions that if the baker was to oblige, he endorses gay relationships. If Phillips created their cake, it would not mean participation in their wedding. He is simply making a cake and should not have attached his religious beliefs to his profession.
Even though restaurants are privately owned, they are considered places of public accommodation. The primary purpose is to sell to the general public. Phillips is the owner; however, it does not give him an excuse to refuse service. According to LegalMatch editor Peter Clarke, “The Civil Rights Act of 1964 explicitly prohibits restaurants from refusing service to patrons on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin … (or) extremely arbitrary conditions.”
Philips is guilty because although in this situation he denied only a single couple a cake, he is denying service to an entire community. According to an article by Megan Arellano, “Denver has the ninth-highest population of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual adults” in the 50 largest U.S. metro areas. Phillips denying the couple implies that he will not accommodate to the needs of lesbian and transgender couples, and perhaps he will disregard those in interracial or interfaith relationships, too.
In spite of the fact that Phillips’ religion is a concrete idea to him, it is an abstract idea to those who are not in the same mindset. The baker discriminated against a sexual orientation that he believes his religion deems wrong. The Civil Rights Act ended tolerance of segregation and prohibited discrimination, and is considered “one of the crowning legislative achievements of the civil rights movement,” according to History.com. Americans should endorse the idea of equality and accept evolution instead of reminiscing about the past when equality for everyone was hard to comprehend.
By Tina Nguyen, Thornton