Baker wins Supreme Court case over gay wedding cake

Supreme court rules in favor of baker in same-sex wedding cake case

The narrow ruling does not grant Christians a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people, but instead is tailored to specifically address the case that was in front of the court.

Kennedy also noted that the Colorado Civil Rights Decision, which investigates discrimination claims, had ruled for three bakers who refused to bake cakes that conveyed disapproval of gay marriage.

In doing so, the commission violated his religious rights under the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

Jack Phillips objected to baking a cake for the couple on religious grounds.

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 case dates back to 2012, when, according to the ACLU, Charlie Craig and David Mullins attempted to purchase a custom wedding cake to celebrate their union. Phillips was told that he must make wedding cakes on an equal basis, but he chose to suspend this part of his business. Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jake Phillips refused the order, citing his religious beliefs and that Colorado did not, at that time, recognize same-sex marriages. "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. "This is a huge win for religious freedom!"

Arguments were heard on December 5. The couple won in state and appeals courts as well before the decision was reversed by the SCOTUS. The court ruled 7-2 in favor of the baker.

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The decision went on to say the "broader issue must await further elaboration". Justice Anthony Kennedy authored the majority opinions in both cases.

Rather, the court found that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had acted improperly when it said that the owner of the Masterpiece Cakeshop in suburban Denver could not refuse to make a same-sex wedding cake because the body "showed elements of a clear and impermissible hostility toward the honest religious beliefs motivating his objection", and therefore did not act with "the requisite religious neutrality".

"I see no reason why the comments of one or two commissioners should be taken to overcome Phillips' refusal to sell a wedding cake to Craig and Mullins", Ginsburg writes.

Presumably, Kagan and Breyer would have ruled differently if the court had opined on the more weighty Constitutional question.

"Our State Supreme Court unanimously agreed that I have the authority to bring this case as did a trial court judge in Eastern Washington", said Ferguson.

Last year, President Donald Trump's administration weighed in on the side of Phillips, as the Justice Department filed a brief arguing that his First Amendment right of free expression had been violated.

This was really the issue that Kagan was getting at; not that Phillips was necessarily justified in denying service to a gay couple, but that the State of Colorado was just plain wrong in how they handled the matter.

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