By Addie Mae Villas | USA
The Supreme Court is currently taking on the Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case, where Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, is arguing that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission violated the first amendment and the free exercise clauses. The issue with the ruling of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission is not in the fact that they truly are violating the freedom of religion, but the fact that the business ought to have the right to discriminate. Many jump to the conclusion that by supporting business’ right to run their companies as they wish immediately means that you are a bigot or racist. But, by supporting a business’ right to choose, you are supporting the true values of the free market and freedom. This case can be boiled down to two main things to consider, the first amendment rights of Jack Phillips and his business, and a business’ right to discriminate.
Let’s first look at the first amendment side of this issue. This case started in 2012, two years before gay marriage was even legal in the state of Colorado when David Mullins and Charlie Craig went into Masterpiece Cakeshop wanting a wedding cake. Phillips denied their request to make the cake for their ceremony, on the basis of religious convictions, but stated that he would be more than happy to provide goods for any other occasion. Many are racing to make this issue into one of gay rights, but by requiring a business to provide a service that has a moral obligation against in not moral in any shape or form. Phillips said that “I’m being forced to use my creativity, my talents and my art for an event — a significant religious event — that violates my religious faith.” In this case, we are satisfying the wants of one side, but sacrificing the values of another. Diving deeper into this problem, we can look to the violation of the Free Exercise Clause that states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” meaning that the government can not make a law that requires one to follow a religion, religious ritual, as well as protecting one’s religious beliefs and actions of those beliefs. So, when Colorado implemented statute § 24-34-601, they violated the Free Exercise Clause by requiring a business to serve to anyone regardless of moral obligations. Although this statute doesn’t directly violate the clause, by requiring companies to sell to a group that does not believe in is going against our values of freedom. By forcing these companies we are also harming our free market values, which leads to the next side of this issue.
The right to discriminate is tough to protect, but it is just as vital as all our other rights. When a company chooses to not do affairs with a group of people, it should be their choice and their choice alone. When a company makes the choice to discriminate, it is at their own risk. The denial of the right of discrimination can be traced back to the Civil Rights Acts. Rand Paul has been an avid proponent of the right to discriminate but has been under fire many times because of this. Senator Paul stated that he would have voted for nine out of the ten titles of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but would have opposed the title relating to how private business can discriminate on the terms of race. This title restricted the freedom of companies by stating that they can not deny service based off of race, color, religion, or national origin. Although this is something that almost all agree on, it still should be left to the individual to decide who they will sell to. The beauty of the free market is that it is consumer based, and relies on serving the public and providing them with goods. This simply means that if a company decides to discriminate, they will miss out on a group of consumers, but also will receive the backlash that comes with discrimination. If we want to stand for the liberties of the individual, we must stand by the fact that business shall run the way that they want, even when it may be hateful or derogatory.
When standing with the freedoms of the company, it does not mean standing for their principles. By supporting the right to discriminate we must understand that we are not standing for racism, sexism, bigotry, etc. but rather supporting liberty. What it all comes down to is if you don’t agree with a companies’ principles, don’t do business with them, and let them suffer because of it. It’s as easy as that.