Colorado Baker Reacts to 'Big Win' in Same-Sex Wedding Cake Case

Lucy Bush
June 5, 2018

In doing so, the commission violated Phillips's religious rights under the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

Phillips was sued under the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA), which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, and found to be in violation of the law. "The Supreme Court rightly concluded that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission failed to show tolerance and respect for Mr. Phillips' religious beliefs", Sessions said.

Justice Anthony Kennedy's narrow ruling for the baker hinged on the argument that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission did not provide neutral or fair consideration of Phillips' request for religious accommodation.

The court ruled in favor of an appeal by the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, Jack Phillips, in a 7-2 vote, striking down a Colorado court's previous ruling that said the couple had been discriminated against based on sexual orientation.

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Lambda Legal, however, warned that the ruling could invite "discrimination and further efforts to justify withholding service from #LGBTQ people".

The case was one of the most anticipated rulings of the term and was considered by some as a follow up from the court's decision three years ago to clear the way for same-sex marriage nationwide. A reasonable person would assume that the cake expressed the message of the couple, not the baker, the courts said. The Court ruled that the bakers were protected by the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment and that the discrimination rules were not viewpoint neutral for religious believers. "They won't realize, because they will not have scratched the surface of the opinion, that that's not in fact what the Supreme Court has said here today".

The Arizona-based group also is representing Jack Phillips, the Colorado baker.

That's good news for those who feared that the court would deal a death blow to nondiscrimination laws by creating a loophole for anyone who characterizes their wish to discriminate as a moral or religious objection. Kennedy quoted a 1993 opinion from the late conservative justice Antonin Scalia arguing that when determining the constitutionality of a government action, the court should consider "the historical background of the decision under challenge, the specific series of events leading to the enactment or official policy in question, and the legislative or administrative history, including contemporaneous statements made by members of the decisionmaking body". The long-awaited decision in the case.

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While the ruling is certainly painful for the community that had hoped for an LGBTQ+ rights victory, Justice Kennedy's admission that LGBTQ+ individuals should not be "subjected to indignities" when attempting to make the same purchases as cisgender and heterosexual consumers has some weight.

Charlie Craig and David Mullins, the two men who were turned away by Phillips, filed a complaint with the state, and its civil rights commission decided unanimously he had indeed violated the state's law. In addition to florists, video producers and graphic artists are among business owners who say they oppose same-sex marriage on religious grounds and don't want to participate in same-sex weddings.

"Government hostility toward people of faith has no place in our society, yet the state of Colorado was openly antagonistic toward Jack's religious beliefs about marriage".

The conservative Christian argued "creative artists" have a right to decide what they sell.

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Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a concurring opinion in the case. The couple won in state and appeals courts as well before the decision was reversed by the SCOTUS.

Other reports by Info About Network

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