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

06 June, 2018, 02:05 | Author: Diane Mills
  • HIGH STAKES The U.S. Supreme Court could decide some blockbuster cases today as the term nears its end. AP file

The justices, in a 7-2 decision, said the Colorado Civil Rights Commission showed an impermissible hostility toward religion when it found that baker Jack Phillips violated the state's anti-discrimination law by rebuffing gay couple David Mullins and Charlie Craig in 2012. In 21 states - including Colorado - the law still states that any public accommodation like a public business must serve people of all sexual orientations equally.

But the reality is that nothing in the Supreme Court decision actually changed Colorado law.

A similar "gay cake" row is ongoing in Northern Ireland.

"Our society has come to the recognition that gay persons and gay couples can not be treated as social outcasts or as inferior in dignity and worth", Kennedy wrote.

"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". The narrow opinion largely avoided setting a wider precedent of what discrimination is permissible in the name of religious freedom, though it did find that the actions of the CCRC were discriminatory. But as in the cake case, the order wasn't issued in isolation; it followed public comments that appeared to demonstrate a bias against a religious group.

The two blockbuster cases this term were considered separate until Monday's opinion, when Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is expected to be the deciding vote on the travel ban case, issued an opinion that seemed to link the two cases-and to hint that he may not be sympathetic to the Trump administration's attempt to protect the travel ban.

The couple, David Mullins and Charlie Craig, were married in MA but held a celebration with friends and relatives in Colorado when they returned. During a brief encounter at Phillips' Masterpiece Cakeshop in the Denver suburb of Lakewood, the baker politely but firmly refused, leaving the couple distraught.

Kristen K. Waggoner argued the appeal in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission before the high court in poised and reasoned responses to questions last December.

The State's interest could have been weighed against Phillips' honest religious objections in a way consistent with the requisite religious neutrality that must be strictly observed.

More news: Eoin Morgan hopes to be fit for Australia series

Phillips also noted on Today that he does not make Halloween cakes due to his beliefs.

"The baker won the battle but lost the war", Esseks said. Can I be discriminated against?

The verdict said the commission had shown "clear hostility" and implied religious beliefs "are less than fully welcome in Colorado's business community".

Kristin Wagner, of the Alliance for Defending Freedom, was on the program with Philips, and said that his freedom was compromised by the commission as it was hostile toward him. "He took quite a hit when he gave up making wedding cakes".

"This is a real victory for Jack who has been fighting the courts for several years and nearly went out of business", Hausknecht said.

And while the court's decision strongly affirms the principle that states have a compelling interest in enforcing anti-discrimination laws, including those that cover LGBT people, most states do not have those laws. At the time, gay weddings were not legally permitted in Colorado.

As the day wore on, they started to see some silver linings in the narrow ruling, including that it leaves Colorado's anti-discrimination laws intact.

The ruling comes three years after the Supreme Court made same-sex marriage the law of the land in its landmark Obergefell v Hodges decision. Phillips and others like him who believe that gay marriage is not consistent with their Christian beliefs have said they should not be required to effectively endorse the practice.

The closely watched case before the Supreme Court, which in 2015 legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, pitted gay rights against religious liberty.


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