On Monday, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Colorado baker who denied a gay couple a wedding cake over his deeply held religious conviction.
In 2012, the baker, Jack Phillips, cited his Christian beliefs as the reason he denied the gay couple, Charlie Craig and David Mullins, services for a wedding cake.
“It’s not about turning away these customers, it’s about doing a cake for an event — a religious sacred event — that conflicts with my conscience,” Phillips later said, per Fox News.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) June 4, 2018
The case generated national attention as the couple’s legal team offered an equal rights argument that services cannot be denied to a gay couple. The baker’s legal defense argued that the Constitution’s First Amendment protected his decision under the Freedom of Religion.
Supreme Court: “The government, consistent with the Constitution’s guarantee of free exercise, cannot impose regulations that are hostile to the religious beliefs
of affected citizens”
— Jack Posobiec🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) June 4, 2018
As Fox News reports, the 7 to 2 decision overruled a Colorado court decision against the baker. The Supreme Court decision, however, stopped short of deciding principally whether a Christian business (or the deeply held beliefs of other religions) can refuse to serve gay people over convictions.
As Politico reports, the two dissenting votes came from Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, two of the court’s more liberal justices. The two voiced that the state’s decision against Phillips was initially correct.
— FOX Business (@FoxBusiness) June 4, 2018
Here’s more from the Fox News report:
At the time, Charlie Craig and David Mullins of Denver visited Masterpiece Cakeshop to buy a custom-made wedding cake. Phillips refused his services when told it was for a same-sex couple. A state civil rights commission sanctioned Phillips after a formal complaint from the gay couple.
The battle has since developed into perhaps the most closely watched appeal so far this term before the high court.
Mullins has described their case as symbolizing “the rights of gay people to receive equal service in business … about basic access to public life.”
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that the state of Colorado violated Phillip’s freedom of religion in showing open “hostility” towards the baker.
“The Commission’s hostility was inconsistent with the First Amendment’s guarantee that our laws be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion,” Kennedy wrote, per Politico. “Phillips was entitled to a neutral decisionmaker who would give full and fair consideration to his religious objection as he sought to assert it in all of the circumstances in which this case was presented, considered, and decided.”
“This sentiment is inappropriate for a Commission charged with the solemn responsibility of fair and neutral enforcement of Colorado’s anti-discrimination law — a law that protects discrimination [sic] on the basis of religion as well as sexual orientation,” Kennedy added.
I am not surprised by the SCOTUS Masterpiece decision, but I am surprised by how strongly worded the rebuke is to the “hostility” toward religions people’s viewpoints from the state of Colorado.
— Russell Moore (@drmoore) June 4, 2018
As Fox News reports, the Trump administration has vocalized support for Phillips and said the consequences and penalties he has received for sticking to his Christian values was saddening.
Here’s even more:
By wading again into the culture wars, the justices had to confront recent decisions on both gay rights and religious liberty: a 2015 landmark opinion legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide and a separate 2014 decision affirming the right of some companies to act on their owner’s faith by refusing to provide contraception to its workers.
The Trump administration agreed with Phillips’ legal claims to a large extent. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in October issued broad guidance to executive branch agencies, reiterating the government should respect religious freedom, which in the Justice Department’s eyes extends to people, businesses and organizations.
Supreme Court holds that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission violated a Christian baker’s rights under the free exercise clause. #MasterpieceCakeshop https://t.co/yM0qDohtap pic.twitter.com/hpqiyJKWS2
— Nick Short 🇺🇸 (@PoliticalShort) June 4, 2018