By Stephanie Curry, Policy Manager
What do Bermuda, California, and Colorado have in common?
Even though the media didn’t really cover them, three recent stories were big victories for families—coming from three very different parts of the world.
Last week, Bermuda became the first country in the world to repeal same-sex marriage. Although Bermuda’s Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage last May, the overwhelming majority of Bermudians opposed it. The legislature—the branch of government that should be enacting (or rejecting) laws, not the courts—responded by repealing the judgment! This should stand as a great encouragement and reminder to Americans that the people we elect into office do have the power to uphold the beliefs of the people, even if that means changing the law or fixing a court’s bad decision.
In a surprising show from the California Superior Court, Judge David Lampe ruled that Tastries Bakery could decline to create a custom wedding cake for a same-sex wedding ceremony. Judge Lampe ruled, “The right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment outweighs the State’s interest in ensuring a freely accessible marketplace. . . The right of freedom of thought guaranteed by the First Amendment includes the right to speak, and the right to refrain from speaking. Sometimes the most profound protest is silence.” If the creation of a wedding cake is a form of speech, silence—declining to create the cake—is just as much a protected right under the First Amendment. Judge Lampe even wrote that the creation of a wedding cake is one of the greatest symbolic expressions in our culture and should be adamantly protected.
Finally, in Colorado, a Joint Budget Committee decided to defund the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. Normally, a Senate budget committee decision would be about as exciting as waiting in line at the DMV, but this decision actually is exciting—and matters to families in Colorado and across the country.
You may remember the infamous Colorado Commission from its involvement in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, now at the Supreme Court. The Colorado Commission said that Jack, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, had to design custom wedding cakes for same-sex weddings (regardless of his religious or moral beliefs) or else give up that large portion of his business altogether. The Commission’s decision forced Jack to take his case to courts.
The Supreme Court will likely release its decision in June, and the Court will decide the same question Judge Lampe just decided in California, “Can a baker be forced to create a wedding cake?” We hope and pray that the Supreme Court agrees with Judge Lamp in California and upholds artistic expression as a fundamentally protected right.
So, the Colorado Budget Committee’s decision to cut funding from the Colorado Civil Rights Commission because of how they targeted Jack and his faith is great news! The members of the Budget Committee are elected by Coloradans to represent Coloradans, and Colorado families believe that what the Commission did to Jack was wrong. Thankfully, these Colorado legislators listened to the voice of Colorado families who are fed up with our First Amendment freedoms being trampled. With a vote to strip the Colorado Civil Rights Commission of its funding, Colorado sent a loud and clear message: freedom of religion and freedom of speech are worth protecting.
We hope this “Bermuda Triangle” of great news encourages you as the family of believers. The work of restoring a nation where God is honored is hard work, and the results don’t happen overnight. But, it is work believers are each called to with a unique role to play, and as you can see, partnering together to protect and advance our basic freedoms—life, religion, speech—does make an impact.