A homosexual couple goes into a known Christian bakery and asks for a wedding cake for a same-sex “marriage,” is refused and then files a government complaint or sues. “Intolerance! Bigotry! Equal access!” is the cry. Many Americans have read of such stories in the news. Often the attempted purchase is a set-up, with activist-minded individuals targeting bakers whom they know will decline the request and then be vulnerable to state persecution by zealous bureaucrats.
It’s a new front in the war on faith, legitimate freedom and private property rights. Many point out that it constitutes an unprecedented trampling of religious liberty, and this is true. It also violates the principle of freedom of association, which isn’t explicitly mentioned in the Constitution but should be upheld. But neither of these arguments should be the centerpiece of the fight against the tyranny in question. There is another, far more powerful argument:
Freedom of speech.
Usually missed in the commentary on this subject is that the bakers in question are not refusing service to a type of people — they are refusing to be party to a type of message. This is not debatable. When you put writing on a same-sex “wedding” cake, you’re crafting a message; if you place figurines (of two men, for instance) on that cake, you’re erecting symbols relating that message. Note here that the Supreme Court has already ruled that “Symbolic Speech” — a legal term in U.S. law — is protected under the First Amendment; examples of such rulings would be that pertaining to flag-burning and the Tinker v. Des Moines case.