Published: Tue, June 05, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Supreme Court Sides With Anti-Gay Baker

Supreme Court Sides With Anti-Gay Baker

Liberal justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan joined the conservative justices in the outcome. I'll have more to say on that debate later, and I'll also discuss the religious discrimination arguments as well, especially the weight given to Colorado cases involving William Jack, who has now been proved to have produced a tactical masterstroke. LGBT activists have, since then, been targeting Christian businesses in an effort to obtain court rulings that accommodations for LGBT activists trump the Constitution's protection of religious 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.

Jack Phillips speaks to the media after leaving the Supreme Court which heard the 'Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, ' on December 5, 2017, in Washington.

They pointed out that no one would expect that a "member of the clergy who objects to gay marriage on moral and religious grounds" could be "compelled to perform the ceremony without denial of his or her right to the free exercise of religion".

Twenty-one states, including Colorado, now have anti-discrimination laws protecting people from being refused service on the grounds of sexual orientation. Phillips appealed, but the Colorado Court of Appeals upheld the original decision, and the Colorado Supreme Court would not hear his case.

Barronelle Stutzman, the owner of Arlene's Flowers in Richland, was found guilty of discrimination under Washington state law after she refused to provide flowers for a gay couple's wedding, citing her religious beliefs.

The verdict criticized the state's treatment of Jack Phillips' religious objections to gay marriage, ruling that a civil rights commission was hostile to him.

Ginsburg agreed with Kennedy's assertions that same-sex couples should be spared "indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market".

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Ginsburg and Sotomayor wrote that they believe "a refusal to sell any wedding cake to a gay couple should occasion affirmance of the Colorado Court of Appeals' judgment" against Christian bakers. NBC, Reuters, Politico and NPR all called the court's decision "narrow".

Kennedy wrote that the question of when religious beliefs must give way to anti-discrimination laws might be different in future cases.

In the wake of the marriage ruling, conservative religious-rights advocates led by the Alliance Defending Freedom sought to establish a right to refuse to help celebrate a same-sex marriage. The larger issue of refusing service to the gay couple must "await further elaboration" in the courts.

After the baker, Jack Phillips, refused to make the cake for the couple, David Mullins and Charlie Craig, they complained to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

The disputes have developed since the Supreme Court created same-sex marriage in the United States a few years ago.

"The government, consistent with the Constitution's guarantee of free exercise, can not impose regulations that are hostile to the religious beliefs of affected citizens and can not act in a manner that passes judgment upon or presupposes the illegitimacy of religious beliefs and practices", the opinion continued.

Craig and Mullins complained to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

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