SCOTUS Sides With Colorado Baker In Same-Sex Wedding Cake Case

SCOTUS Sides With Colorado Baker In Same-Sex Wedding Cake Case

The court's four most conservative justices, including Chief Justice John Roberts, concurred with the decision offering different rationales for the future.

"The reason and motive for the baker's refusal were based on his honest religious beliefs and convictions", Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion.

"Gay people, who were justifiably terrified that the case could undermine their right to equal service, get a reaffirmation of their 'dignity and worth, '" legal analyst Mark Joseph Stern wrote in an essay in Slate.

The Colorado case started when same-sex couple Charlie Craig and Dave Mullins visited Phillips' Masterpiece Cakeshop in suburban Denver for a wedding cake.

In 2012, Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig were planning a celebration after they were married in MA.

The high court said the Commission's treatment of Phillips violated the First Amendment mandate not to base laws or regulations on hostility to religion. Colorado state courts upheld the determination. But the critical question of when Phillips' right to exercise his religion can be limited had to be determined, Kennedy emphasized, in a proceeding that was not tainted by hostility to religion.

That same sentiment coursed through his opinion on Monday (local time).


In the majority opinion, written by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, he said "religious beliefs need not be acceptable, logical, consistent or comprehensible to others in order to merit First Amendment protection". Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented while Breyer and Kagan, considered to be liberal-leaning, joined the more conservative justices in a majority ruling. "There is much in the court's opinion with which I agree", Ginsburg wrote of Kennedy's repeated references to protecting the rights of gay people.

"Today, the Supreme Court took a stand for religious liberty against the unconstitutional demands of an oppressive bureaucracy", Senator Ted Cruz said in a statement.

When arguments were held before the court in December, President Donald Trump's administration spoke in support of Phillips.

"The Bible says, 'In the beginning there was male and female, '" Phillips said. A Colorado civil-rights agency ruled that Phillips had violated the state's antidiscrimination laws and told him that, if he wanted to make cakes for opposite-sex weddings, he would have to do the same for same-sex weddings.

Waggoner and Esseks disagreed about the ruling's effect on Phillips' wedding cake business.

Kennedy reasoned that Phillips, in refusing to create a same-sex wedding cake, had good reason to believe he was within his rights. The bakeries' refusal to make Jack cakes. scarcely resembles Phillips' refusal to serve Craig and Mullins: "Phillips would not sell to Craig and Mullins, for no reason other than their sexual orientation".

Scattered across the country, florists, bakers, photographers and others have claimed that being forced to offer their wedding services to same-sex couples violates their rights. If a similar case does reach the Supreme Court again - and if Kennedy doesn't retire after this term - he will again be the one to watch.

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