The U.S. Supreme Court is now set to hear a case on the general right of businesses to refuse certain types of service on religious and free speech grounds. The owner of a cake shop in Colorado refused to produce a custom made cake for two potential clients because of his religious opposition to the idea of same sex marriage. He was sued for violation of the state’s discrimination statutes and sought to appeal. His lawyers argued that constitutionally he should not be forced to create a custom made product which conveyed a message contrary to his own beliefs; on the basis of both religious freedom and the right of free speech. The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled against him stating, “Masterpiece [bakery] does not convey a message supporting same sex marriages merely by abiding by the law and serving its customers equally.“
This is a circular/ nonsensical argument. It could be used to justify the existence of any law that violates free speech by compelling speech. It claims that the person’s conscience is not actually violated because they are only acting in order to comply with the law itself, not on the basis of personal conviction . But laws which violate free speech are not laws which magically sieze control of an individual’s conscience; they are precisely laws which tell him what he must and must not say regardless of what his conscience dictates.