The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Locals divided on baker issue

‘I think it’s a two-way street,’ student says


June 5, 2018

CLOVIS — What is the boundary between discrimination and the exercise of First-Amendment freedoms? That was a topic Monday for eastern New Mexico, which along with the rest of the nation had the opportunity to again consider the rights of a business owner to refuse service to a potential client on religious grounds.

Nationally, the answer is not as straightforward as it may seem, as evidenced by recent debates on the rights of certain assemblies in public spaces or speakers at college campuses. Even the U.S. Supreme Court could not reach a unanimous decision, with a 7-2 ruling Monday in favor of a Colorado baker who in 2012 refused to make a cake for a gay couple’s wedding celebration.

The Courts’ decision did not set a strict precedent for similar cases to come, but instead specified that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had acted inappropriately and with “hostility” to the religious beliefs that purportedly motivated the baker Jack Phillips’ decision.

“I think it’s a two-way street,” said Ashlynn Mason, a student at Eastern New Mexico University. “They (the couple) might feel they’re being discriminated against, but he (Phillips) probably feels like he is also being forced to do something (if he is not permitted to refuse them service).”

Clovis native Jacqueline Adkins said she felt conflicted on the issue, but ultimately sympathized with Phillips’ stated religious objections to supporting a same-sex ceremony.

“Personally, I’m kind of in the middle, but I kind of side toward the baker,” she told The News.

Meanwhile, the president of Eastern New Mexico University’s student LGBT+ club said he was disappointed with the ruling, especially since he didn’t think the couple were requesting anything too compromising of the baker.

“I think it’s sad. It definitely made me sad to see that,” said Steven Strong, an ENMU junior. “I think it’s a good reminder that these things are still happening and our fight for equality is far from over.

Regarding the Phillips case, Strong said he believed the issue was less about freedom of expression and more about simple equality — or inequality.

“They weren’t asking him, ‘oh hey, make this rainbow cake and write ‘gay’ all over it,” he said.

Clayton Franse said he also found the situation sad — for the baker. He didn’t think the Supreme Court needed to be involved in the first place.

“The government shouldn’t have got involved at all,” he said. “If they want to limit their customer base, which is sad, I believe they have a right to do so, especially if it goes against their faith.”


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