Free Speech and Discrimination in the Cake Wars

In David Boonin, Katrina L. Sifferd, Tyler K. Fagan, Valerie Gray Hardcastle, Michael Huemer, Daniel Wodak, Derk Pereboom, Stephen J. Morse, Sarah Tyson, Mark Zelcer, Garrett VanPelt, Devin Casey, Philip E. Devine, David K. Chan, Maarten Boudry, Christopher Freiman, Hrishikesh Joshi, Shelley Wilcox, Jason Brennan, Eric Wiland, Ryan Muldoon, Mark Alfano, Philip Robichaud, Kevin Timpe, David Livingstone Smith, Francis J. Beckwith, Dan Hooley, Russell Blackford, John Corvino, Corey McCall, Dan Demetriou, Ajume Wingo, Michael Shermer, Ole Martin Moen, Aksel Braanen Sterri, Teresa Blankmeyer Burke, Jeppe von Platz, John Thrasher, Mary Hawkesworth, William MacAskill, Daniel Halliday, Janine O’Flynn, Yoaav Isaacs, Jason Iuliano, Claire Pickard, Arvin M. Gouw, Tina Rulli, Justin Caouette, Allen Habib, Brian D. Earp, Andrew Vierra, Subrena E. Smith, Danielle M. Wenner, Lisa Diependaele, Sigrid Sterckx, G. Owen Schaefer, Markus K. Labude, Harisan Unais Nasir, Udo Schuklenk, Benjamin Zolf & Woolwine (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Philosophy and Public Policy. Springer Verlag. pp. 317-328 (2018)
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Abstract

In 2012, baker Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop refused to create a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, citing religious beliefs. Colorado Public Accommodations law prohibits business owners from denying the “full and equal enjoyment” of their services on the basis of sexual orientation, and Phillips refused to sell the couple the very same items he would sell to a heterosexual couple. But Phillips, who fashions himself as a “cake artist,” argues that applying the law here would interfere with his free-speech rights. Moreover, he argues that he is not actually discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation but on the basis of a particular understanding of marriage; he is happy to sell Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people a wide range of other items. In this chapter, I evaluate both arguments. In the postscript, I briefly explain the US Supreme Court's June 2018 ruling on the case.

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John Corvino
Wayne State University

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