US Supreme Court rules for baker over same-sex wedding cake

Marsha Scott
June 5, 2018

The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a Christian baker from Colorado who, on religious grounds, had refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple. His religious beliefs are based on homophobia and just because he looks like a nice man and doesn't swing slurs at the gay couple or engage in aggressive hateful actions it doesn't make it not hurtful and bigoted against the people he is refusing to serve.

Yet the case does provide a tantalizing hint that Kennedy might provide the fifth vote to strike down the travel ban.

Kennedy also made an important distinction with this case, noting that while other cases have since gone in favor of bakers, and future cases might be decided differently depending on their facts, the Commission was in the wrong here because of how they treated Phillips' situation. "For that reason the laws and the Constitution can, and in some instances must, protect them in the exercise of their civil rights". Only Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor voted against.

"Freedom of religion and religion has been used to justify all kinds of discrimination throughout history, whether it be slavery, whether it be the holocaust".

Phillips had refused to make a wedding cake for David Mullins and Charlie Craig in 2012. In their decision posted on Monday, the justices ruled the Colorado Civil Rights Commission didn't maintain religious neutrality when it ruled against Phillips.

"While I realize the court was balancing religious liberty with the rights of gay people to be free from discrimination in the public sphere, the court got this one wrong".

Pro-family and pro-LGBT advocates were closing watching the case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, as it will have enormous ramifications for the implementation of same-sex "marriage" in the US three years after the Court imposed it on the country. The Colorado Supreme Court denied Masterpiece Cake's request for further review. Colorado state courts upheld the determination.

"Phillips too was entitled to a neutral and respectful consideration of his claims in all the circumstances of the case", the court said.

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In other words, the Court didn't believe that the commission looked at the case fairly, and as such, they couldn't trust the outcome of the decision.

"This is a victory for the baker", NBC News' Pete Williams reports, "but what the Supreme Court says here is because of the peculiarities of his specific case, he wins but the court doesn't answer the larger questions here". The First Amendment prohibits governments from discriminating against citizens on the basis of religious beliefs. This, Kennedy said, amounted to a violation of the free exercise of religion.

Applying antidiscrimination laws to a baker simply because he violated those laws, the Court said, might be constitutional (depending on whether that violates the Free Speech Clause, a matter on which the majority did not opine).

A number of justices raised concerns about where to draw the line as to which types of speech are protected.

The commission defended the imposition of massive fines on the bakery saying that it had to safeguard gay residents from hostile and discriminatory forces by those who continue to oppose gay marriage.

The intense interest in the case was reflected in the overflow crowd outside of the high court on argument day as well as by the outpouring of supporting briefs on each side.

Refusing to bake any same-sex wedding cakes, as Phillips did, is equivalent to having a discriminatory policy, the dissent argues.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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