The Supreme Court sided with the Colorado baker who refused to make a custom cake for a same-sex wedding in a narrow ruling Monday. "The Civil Rights Commission's treatment of his case has some elements of a clear and impermissible hostility toward the honest religious beliefs that motivated his objection", Justice Kennedy wrote.
Justice Kennedy referenced comments that commissioner made which read in part: "freedom of religion has been used to justify all kinds of discrimination throughout history, whether it be slavery, whether it be the holocaust". While gay marriage was not legal in Colorado at the time, the state's anti-discrimination laws included sexual orientation as a protected category, allowing the couple to file a complaint. Ginsburg stressed that there "is much in the Court's opinion with which I agree", but she "strongly" disagreed with the idea that the same-sex couple "should lose this case".
The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the baker in a case that has, for years, been the avatar of anti-GBTQ+ discrimination.
The Trump administration intervened in the case on Phillips' behalf, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions praised the decision.
The gay couple at the center of the story, David Mullins and Charlie Craig, were married legally in MA, but wanted the cake baked for their wedding reception in Colorado in 2012.
Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed sued Stutzman in a case that went to the state Supreme Court, where justices ruled that Baronelle Stutzman of Arlene's Flowers in Richland violated the state's anti-discrimination law and the Consumer Protection Act.
Mr Phillips argued "creative artists" have a right to decide what they sell.
In 2012, Phillips had declined to make a wedding cake for two gay men citing his religious opposition to same-sex marriage. The Supreme Court's ruling found the commission - and a Colorado appeals court that also ruled in favor of the gay couple - had erred.
"The clearest signal of the court in the Colorado case, the Masterpiece Cake shop is that the government can't bully and harass people and push them out of marketplace, simply because they want to live a life that's consistent with their religious beliefs about marriage".
"What matters is that Phillips would not provide a good or service to a same-sex couple that he would provide to a hetereosexual couple". 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. Specifically, it referred to three cases in which bakers were asked to create a bible-shaped cake that explicitly states "homosexuality is a sin".
In her dissent, Ginsburg writes the long process in which the case was reviewed by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission and appealed to the Colorado Court of Appeals should abrogate any concerns about religious liberty.
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