No, he doesn’t have to ‘bake that cake’.
The paradox of civil rights legislation was that in the name of providing civil rights, it destroyed the civil rights of small business owners, landlords and any number of other people. What was an emergency response to a pervasive problem that had been created by the government essentially upended the Bill of Rights and provided governments with unlimited authority of a scope that had never been contemplated before.
And we’re still living with the fallout.
Before the rise of the LGBTQ movement, the clashes had been local and hadn’t affected a group whose rights were clearly protected by the First Amendment.
Since then, civil rights has run into religious freedom like a freight train into a brick wall most famously in the ‘bake a cake’ case in which a Christian baker was harassed for refusing to make cakes for assorted LGBTQ events. Unlike restaurant segregation, these cases tended to target people in creative professions, such as cake makers, florists, wedding photographers and web designers, making this not just about religious freedom, but freedom of speech.
Can the government force someone to engage in speech supportive of something they oppose?
The Supreme Court has, more forcefully than on previous occasions, stepped in on the side of religious freedom against a civil rights overreach that now demands compelled speech from a wedding website designer.
Ms. Smith seeks to engage in protected First Amendment speech; Colorado seeks to compel speech she does not wish to provide. As the Tenth Circuit observed, if Ms. Smith offers wedding websites celebrating marriages she endorses, the State intends to compel her to create custom websites celebrating other marriages she does not.
…If she wishes to speak, she must either speak as the State demands or face sanctions for expressing her own beliefs, sanctions that may include compulsory participation in “remedial . . . training,” filing periodic compliance reports, and paying monetary fines. That is an impermissible abridgement of the First Amendment’s right to speak freely.
Under Colorado’s logic, the government may compel anyone who speaks for pay on a given topic to accept all commissions on that same topic—no matter the message—if the topic somehow implicates a customer’s statutorily protected trait… Taken seriously, that principle would allow the government to force all manner of artists, speechwriters, and others whose services involve speech to speak what they do not believe on pain of penalty.
The decision checkmakes the ‘common carriers’ measures of civil rights law which treated everything as a public accommodation. Speech cannot be a public accommodation.
“This Court has also long recognized that no public accommodations law is immune from the demands of the Constitution.”
It goes on to note that our voice belongs to us… not to the state.
“As the Tenth Circuit saw it, Colorado has a compelling interest in ensuring “equal access to publicly available goods and services,” and no option short of coercing speech from Ms. Smith can satisfy that interest because she plans to offer “unique services” that are, “by definition, unavailable elsewhere.” … But that hardly means a State may coopt an individual’s voice for its own purposes.”
“A rule otherwise would conscript any unique voice to disseminate the government’s preferred messages in violation of the First Amendment.”
That’s the fundamental issue here. Do our voices belong to us to the state?
The Left believes that our voices belong to the state. The Supreme Court has restored our voices to us.