Everyone can relax: Jake Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop wants you to know that he does not discriminate, even though he refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple and then went all the way to the Supreme Court to appeal his case after the Colorado Civil Rights Division and the Colorado Court of Appeals found that he had illegally discriminated against the couple. I’m relieved, frankly.
The Denver-based baker spoke with Today’s Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb following the Supreme Court’s 7-2 ruling in his favor.
Kotb asked Phillips about his response to critics who believe that he is discriminatory and is comparable to businesses that might not have provided services to an interracial couple 50 years ago.
“I don’t discriminate against anybody,” said Phillips. “I serve anybody that comes in my shop. I just want to say again: I don’t create cakes for every message that people ask me to create.”
Kotb followed up, saying, “So if a gay couple came in and say, ‘We’d like some cupcakes for our wedding—”
“Absolutely,” said Phillips. “I told these two men when they came in my store, ‘I’ll sell you cookies, brownies, birthday cakes, I’ll make you custom cakes. I’ll make you anything.’”
“It’s just the art of the cake,” Kotb clarified.
“This cake is a specific cake. A wedding cake is inherently religious,” said Phillips. “A wedding is an inherently religious event, and the cake is definitely a specific message.”
So there you have it: Phillips has nothing against gay people, it’s just the message that gay people promote. He simply wants to reserve his right not to create sin cakes.
The Supreme Court ruled, in a narrow decision, that the state of Colorado basically didn’t take Phillips’s religious beliefs seriously enough: After David Mullins and Charlie Craig filed a complaint against him, the state concluded that he violated Colorado’s public accommodation law, which bans discrimination from companies that offer public services. On Monday, the Supreme Court declared that, while the state’s interest in protecting LGBTQ rights was valid, its handling of this specific case, and its view of Phillips’ beliefs, was not done in a “way consistent with the requisite religious neutrality that must be strictly observed.”
The high court’s decision doesn’t apply to other cases in which businesses have refused services to gay people on religious grounds, but there’s no doubt that those businesses see the ruling as a glimmer of hope for their day in court.