The Sept 14. editorial “Let them eat cake” described the Justice Department as “go[ing] out of its way” to support cake artist Jack Phillips in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, but going out of its way is what the department would have had to do to remain silent.
Masterpiece Cakeshop is one of the most prominent cases in the Supreme Court’s upcoming term and addresses artistic, expressive and religious freedom at a time when those freedoms are increasingly controversial.
While the editorial described Mr. Phillips’s artistic freedom as “a constitutional right to discriminate against gay customers,” elsewhere it conceded that all he declined was a request to custom-design a cake that would celebrate a same-sex wedding in conflict with his faith. Indeed, Mr. Phillips offered to sell the couple anything in his store or design cakes for them for other occasions. As the Justice Department brief explains, Mr. Phillips’s custom wedding cakes are visual art in the context of an event that he and countless others from varying faith traditions consider sacred, and that implicates the First Amendment.
Creative professionals should be free to create art and other expression consistent with their beliefs — in this case, a belief about marriage that the Supreme Court said is “decent and honorable.”
Michael Farris, Washington
The writer is president, chief executive and general counsel of Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents Masterpiece Cakeshop and Jack Phillips.