When is making a cake protected by First Amendment?

first_imgPhotography is inherently a creative, expressive art, so photographers have a strong case against compulsory documentation of ceremonies at which they must be present.Less clearly but plausibly, florists can claim aesthetic expression in floral arrangements, but their work is done before wedding ceremonies occur.Chauffeurs facilitate ceremonies, but First Amendment jurisprudence would become incoherent if it protected unwilling chauffeurs from their supposedly expressive participation in ceremonies to which they deliver actual participants.It is difficult to formulate a limiting principle that draws a bright line distinguishing essentially expressive conduct from conduct with incidental or negligible expressive possibilities.Nevertheless, it can be easy to identify some things that clearly are on one side of the line or the other.So, regarding Phillips’ creations:A cake can be a medium for creativity; hence, in some not-too-expansive sense, it can be food for thought. Phillips was neither asked nor required to attend, let alone participate in, the wedding.Same-sex marriage was not yet legal in Colorado, so Craig and Mullins were to be married in Massachusetts.The cake was for a subsequent reception in Denver.But even if the cake were to have been consumed at a wedding, Phillips’ creation of the cake before the ceremony would not have constituted participation in any meaningful sense.Six decades ago, the civil rights movement gained momentum through heroic acts of civil disobedience by African-Americans whose sit-ins at lunch counters, and other challenges to segregation in commerce, produced the “public accommodations” section of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.It established the principle that those who open their doors for business must serve all who enter.That principle would become quite porous were it suspended whenever someone claimed his or her conduct was speech expressing an idea, and therefore created a constitutional exemption from a valid and neutral law of general applicability. (He also refuses, for religious reasons, to make Halloween cakes.)To be compelled to do so would, he says, violate his constitutional right to speak freely.This, he says, includes the right not to be compelled to contribute his expressive cake artistry to a ceremony or occasion celebrating ideas or practices he does not condone.Well.The First Amendment speaks of speech.Its presence in a political document establishes its core purpose as the protection of speech intended for public persuasion.The amendment has, however, been rightly construed broadly to protect many expressive activities. Many, but there must be limits. However, it certainly, and primarily, is food.And the creator’s involvement with it ends when he sends it away to those who consume it. Phillips ought to lose this case. But Craig and Mullins, who sought his punishment, have behaved abominably.To make his vocation compatible with his convictions and Colorado law Phillips has stopped making wedding cakes, which was his principal pleasure and 40 percent of his business.He now has only four employees, down from 10.Craig and Mullins, who have caused him serious financial loss and emotional distress, might be feeling virtuous for having done so.But siccing the government on him was nasty.center_img Categories: Editorial, OpinionWASHINGTON — The conversation about a cake lasted less than a minute but will long reverberate in constitutional law.On Tuesday, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear 60 minutes of speech about when, if at all, making a cake counts as constitutionally protected speech and, if so, what the implications are for the Colorado Civil Rights Commission’s contention that Jack Phillips violated the state’s law against sexual-orientation discrimination.Phillips, 61, is a devout Christian and proprietor of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colo., where he works as — his description — a cake artist.Charlie Craig and David Mullins entered his shop to order a cake to celebrate their wedding.Phillips said that although he would gladly make cakes for gay people for birthdays or other celebrations, he disapproves of same-sex marriage on religious grounds, and so does not make cakes for such celebrations. Denver has many bakers who, not having Phillips’ scruples, would have unhesitatingly supplied the cake they desired.So, it was not necessary for Craig’s and Mullins’ satisfaction as consumers to submit Phillips to government coercion.Evidently, however, it was necessary for their satisfaction as asserters of their rights as a same-sex couple.Phillips’ obedience to his religious convictions neither expressed animus toward them nor injured them nor seriously inconvenienced them.Their side’s sweeping victory in the struggle over gay rights has been decisive, and now less bullying and more magnanimity from the victors would be seemly.George Will is a nationally syndicated columnist who writes for The Washington Post.More from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationlast_img read more

Time has come for park in Clifton Park

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionOn Dec. 5, residents of the Shenendehowa School District have a chance to make a difference. By voting “yes” for Proposition No. 1 in the referendum at Gowana School, 37 acres of land in the heart of Exit 9 of the Northway will be preserved for present and future generations. This is the only sizable vacant land left in this highly developed commercial area. It’s now or never to create a central park in Clifton Park for all the residents of southern Saratoga County and beyond to enjoy. Jim RuhlBallston LakeMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationPolice: Schenectady woman tried to take car in Clifton Park hours after arrest, release in prior the…Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?last_img read more

All Americans are entitled to opinions

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionIn the “Your Voice” on Feb. 15, Mr. Vincent Belardo states “… liberal Democrats: You don’t know what it is to suffer for this great country of ours.” He is a disabled veteran.Mr Belardo, I’m not a liberal nor am I a conservative. I’m a human being with good and bad points who knows right from wrong. Like you, I served in the military. I was a rifleman in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1964 to 1972. Unlike you, I don’t consider it a sacrifice, but my duty.In my view, you’re like the moron we have in the White House. Your letter only talks about your sacrifice. Not once did you mention those who made the supreme sacrifice.Joseph GibsonBallston LakeMore from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationPolice: Schenectady woman tried to take car in Clifton Park hours after arrest, release in prior the…last_img read more

Blinn shows way on trust and peace

first_imgThe students always knew that Diane was an advocate for them and they could count on her to not breech their confidence. To breech their confidence meant she could no longer fulfill her responsibilities to them or anyone else in the community.I’m constantly thinking: “What would Diane do?” I concluded she would continue to do what she does best. Diane would make doubly sure she reminds students they can trust her with the most delicate issues they share, no matter what.Diane is the glue that keeps Mohonasen a peaceable place — telling students that training teachers to carry and use weapons appeals only to more irrational thinking that will simply lead to more violence. The solution to the problem of school  violence is hiring more Diane Blinns. It’s a complicated  problem that requires thoughtful, disciplined planning and execution. We have a shortage of those qualities in Washington (and Rotterdam).Nick CoupasSaratoga SpringsMore from The Daily Gazette:Schenectady, Saratoga casinos say reopening has gone well; revenue down 30%EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homes I retired from Mohonasen High School in June 2010. Until then, I had the privilege of working closely with Diane Blinn, who is the school/district social worker.There were daily disagreements among all groups: students, teachers, parents and administrators. Some problems were trivial and some as serious/life threatening as disagreements could possibly be.There was always a line of students at Diane’s door, and she could solve just about every problem she faced. Sometimes, she would take a student home for a meeting with the parents. Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinionlast_img read more

Land Registry home goes to Rotch

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Dunsford headhunted by Hamptons to set up new City office

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British Land drop hits sector

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Chartwell and Henderson make key appointments

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Henderson UK buys former hospital site in Exeter for £25m

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Options for coping with PI insurance premiums

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