In March, I wrote about the mythical conflict between religious liberty and the spurious freedom to non-discrimination. There, I cited the case of a Christian baker in Colorado, US, who was found to violated the state’s anti-discrimination laws.
This week, an appeals court affirmed an order from the Colorado Civil Rights Commission that Jack Phillips had breached the Anti-Discrimination Act, and ruled in effect that a bakery owned by a Christian could not lawfully refuse to bake wedding cakes for homosexual couples. Todd Starnes writes:
As it stands – Jack will be required by the government to make wedding cakes for same-sex couples. If he denies anyone service, he will be required to explain why. He is also expected to retrain his staff in the state’s anti-discrimination policies – including his 88-year-old mother.
The decision was legally and logically incorrect – there is no doubt on the facts that Phillips was motivated by a religious objection to the wedding itself, and not the sexual orientation of the complainants, which the law ‘protects’.
More concerning is what the decision is indicative of. As in Victoria, religious freedom around the world is increasingly being seen as a subsidiary right, and rights to non-discrimination – with the accompanying coercive power of the state – are taking priority.