by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Editors at National Review Online argue it’s time for the government to stop bothering Jack Phillips.
Jack Phillips never did anybody any harm. We cannot say the same of the government of Colorado.
In 2012, before same-sex marriage was even legally recognized in Colorado, Phillips declined to make a custom cake for a same-sex wedding, citing his religious objection to endorsing same-sex marriage. That objection was, at the time, in common not just with the law of his state but with the view of the majority of the population of nearly every American state to have voted on the question, as well as with the traditional doctrine of nearly every Christian, Jewish, and Muslim sect going back millennia. But even if his had been an unpopular minority view, this is America: There is supposed to be room for dissenters and for a diversity of thought.
Phillips never refused to serve any individual or group, and nobody has ever offered evidence that his simple refusal to participate in same-sex weddings left anyone without options for a wedding cake. In the eleven years since, Phillips has been relentlessly hounded by the government of Colorado, while he has received hundreds of requests for cakes with “offensive messages, many of them with an intent to set him up,” according to his lawyers. One of those was from Autumn Scardina, an attorney who called the cake shop on the day the Supreme Court took Phillips’s case, asking this time for a cake customized to celebrate a gender transition. Phillips would have been willing to bake the same generic pink-and-blue color-schemed cake for the same person, but not to endorse the message — which is exactly what he was asked to do, and why he was asked to do it.
Phillips is the wronged party in this case. He says that Scardina had been after him for five years, berating him and requesting, among other things, another custom cake that depicted Satan smoking a marijuana joint.