Supreme Court Already Ruled In Favor Of Christian Bakers – Here’s Why


What does a wedding cake have to do with free speech and the freedom of religion?

It sounds like the precursor to a silly punchline, but a Supreme Court case involving a wedding cake could have serious ramifications on the First Amendment.

Jack Phillips, a devout Christian, declined to create a custom cake for a gay marriage between Charlie Craig and David Mullins. Craig and Mullins filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, who found in favor of the gay couple. Phillips appealed the decision, and now Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission sits in front of the high court.

Supporters of Craig and Mullins have urged Christian bakers like Phillips to just “bake the damn cake,” but the case raises a chief question about the tension between anti-discrimination laws and the rights to free expression and freedom of religion.

Sexual orientation is often included as a protected class in non-discrimination laws, so the surface answer here is that Phillips should be punished for refusing to serve a gay couple.

But Phillips did not refuse to serve the couple–he only refused to make a custom cake for the wedding. He even offered the couple a pre-made cake that he had on display. In fact, Phillips said he often serves other types of cakes to gay couples, and has also previously declined to make cakes with anti-gay messages or cakes promoting Halloween.

So the correct framing of this case is not that Phillips discriminated against a gay couple. He didn’t refuse to serve them the cake because they are gay. He declined to serve him the cake because the message they wanted him to convey–support of a same-sex marriage–was at odds with his religious sensibilities.

When the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in the Obergefell case, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote opposition to same-sex marriage is held “in good faith by reasonable and sincere people here and throughout the world.”

Roberts continued, “many who deem same-sex marriage to be wrong reach that conclusion based on decent and honorable religious or philosophical premises, and neither they nor their beliefs are disparaged here.”

As The Heritage Foundation’s Ryan Anderson explains, the Supreme Court indicated in that decision that opposition to same-sex marriage is not a discriminatory position. Many Americans oppose same-sex marriage, not because they are discriminatory bigots, but because they have sincere faith-based reasons for doing so.

If Phillips were compelled to make the cake, the government would be discriminating against his religious beliefs under the guise of “non-discrimination.” The Court must recognize that Phillips is not an anti-gay bigot, but a Christian with a sincere desire to honor God with his bakery creations.

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of


About Author


Amber Athey covers media and breaking news for The Daily Caller and is a columnist for Prior to joining TheDC, Amber reported on instances of liberal bias and abuse for Campus Reform and was a member of the 2016-17 Koch Associate Program. She received a Bachelor's Degree in Government and Economics from Georgetown University in 2016. While in school, Amber chaired the GU College Republicans and the Club Field Hockey team. Follow her on Twitter @amber_athey.


  1. I feel like there are some major contradictions in your argument. If it is true that the act of making a cake is heavily artistic, and therefore an act of speech, your argument that he offered them a pre-made cake as some sort of equivalency doesn’t really make sense. If this is about speech and artistry, obviously there’s a big difference between a pre-made cake and a custom made cake.
    I remain confused by the argument that cake making is artistic, but a chef preparing a wedding dinner is not engaged in artistic expression.
    I think there needs to be a middle ground compromise here. No doubt the baker is sincere in his beliefs. But at the same time, I think a pretty clear argument can be made that the consumers are facing discrimination based on their religious beliefs. If the baker’s participation in a civil wedding is a religious belief, then the couple’s participation in their own wedding is also a religious belief.
    I think that you’re losing sight all too soon that those you disagree with are entitled to the same access to belief in the public sphere.

    • The baker isn’t compelling his customers to act against their beliefs, but the customers do seek to compel the baker to act against his beliefs.

      • Bingo, Greg. The customers aren’t being prevented from participating in their wedding by being denied a cake. Especially considering they were given alternative solutions to getting a cake (go to a different bake shop, buy a pre made cake, etc.)

        • With all due respect, the same argument could be made with racial discrimination. You can’t eat here, but no one is preventing you from eating. That invalidates the Civil Rights Act.
          Again, I see that you are addressing the needs of the baker, which I agree with. But I don’t understand why the religious beliefs of the customers don’t deserve equal protection.

          • Not the same.

            A lunch counter is not equivalent to a contract for specific goods and services.

            What customers’ religion dictates that they have a cake, decorated as they specify, from one certain baker and no one else?

      • Yes, I believe I stated I agreed with the first part of your statement. Can business owners discriminate against customers based on the religious beliefs of the customers?

        • Here’s a hypothetical.

          Same baker.

          An Episcopalian couple (TEC supports SSM) wants to order the wedding cake for two friends of theirs who are getting married-a gay couple.

          The customers’ religion affirms SSM, but the baker’s does not, and the baker here, as we know, views this type of thing as his work being a corollary to the service or whatever.

          They cannot resolve it and no contract is made for goods/services, but not on the basis of the cusomers’ faith.

    • The consumer, here, wants a specific good and service for a specific purpose. The state is not supposed to compel people to enter contracts. Contracts are at-will arrangements by both parties.

      If a baker has cakes sitting on the shelf, he sells them to anyone.

      If someone wants to contract the baker for a specific cake, then it’s not the same as something sitting on the shelf.

      • Are you agreeing, then, that a business owner can discriminate against a customer based on the customer’s religious beliefs?
        I’m at a loss to understand how the production of a custom cake is somehow more of a religious belief than the beliefs of the couple getting married.

        • No.

          The objection here was that the baker did not want to violate his own beliefs.

          No person nor couple has a religious belief that specifies that Baker X, and ONLY Baker X, make them a cake to their specifications.

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