While many astute political commentators worried that the Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling would not be enough to protect religious liberty in the long-term, the short-term benefits are still undeniably significant and the Supreme Court clearly intended the case to set a new standard in the standoff between LGBT activists and Christian business owners. The latest example of this comes in the form of more good news for Christian bakers. From the Christian Post:
The United States Supreme Court vacated a ruling against a Christian couple forced to pay $135,000 for refusing to make a gay wedding cake. In an order released Monday morning, the high court vacated an earlier ruling against Aaron and Melissa Klein, a Christian couple from Oregon who lost their bakery and were ordered to pay $135,000 in damages for refusing to make a cake for a same-sex wedding in 2013.
The Supreme Court sent the case back to the Court of Appeals of Oregon “for further consideration” due to the 2018 decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. In Masterpiece, the court ruled 7-2 that Colorado had shown an unconstitutional anti-religious animus toward Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop when it punished him for refusing to make a cake for a gay wedding.
“To describe a man’s faith as ‘one of the most despicable pieces of rhetoric that people can use’ is to disparage his religion in at least two distinct ways: by describing it as despicable, and also by characterizing it as merely rhetorical—something insubstantial and even insincere,” wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy for the majority in Masterpiece.
“This sentiment is inappropriate for a Commission charged with the solemn responsibility of fair and neutral enforcement of Colorado’s anti-discrimination law—a law that protects discrimination on the basis of religion as well as sexual orientation.” Last October, the Klein family filed an appeal with the Supreme Court, arguing that they were wrongly punished by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries for refusing for religious reasons to bake a cake for the wedding of Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer.
The Bureau fined the Kleins $135,000 for refusing to make the cake, forcing them to close their bakery Sweetcakes by Melissa. The Oregon Court of Appeals upheld the BOLI order while the Oregon Supreme Court refused to hear their appeal.
Anthony Kennedy intended to enshrine his grand compromise into law before he turned his seat over to a battered Brett Kavanaugh: Same-sex marriage is legal, but religious liberty is protected. LGBT activists, of course, are having none of this: They want total cultural victory and the submission and humiliation of their perceived enemies. Thus, Kennedy’s final compromise will not hold out for long. Radicalized courts will continue to send Christians, hat in hand, to the Supreme Court until the Court decides to either succumb to the LGBT blitzkrieg or deliver a ruling that protects religious liberty far more explicitly than the Masterpiece Cakeshop case does.
In the meantime, good news finally for Aaron and Melissa Klein. What LGBT activists have done to this family for years has been simply disgusting.
For anyone interested, my book on The Culture War, which analyzes the journey our culture has taken from the way it was to the way it is and examines the Sexual Revolution, hook-up culture, the rise of the porn plague, abortion, commodity culture, euthanasia, and the gay rights movement, is available for sale here.