Supreme Court Rules 7-2 in Favor of Anti-Gay Baker

Only Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor voted against in the narrow ruling.

The United States Supreme Court has ruled 7-2 in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to make wedding cakes for same-sex couples due to his religious beliefs. Only Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor voted against.

The court issued a narrow ruling in favor of Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, who turned away away gay couple Charlie Craig and David Mullins back in 2012, kicking off a legal battle that began with discrimination charges filed against the bakery with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

Jack Phillips
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It sided with Craig and Mullins, as did the Colorado Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case last year.

Arguments were heard on December 5.

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“The laws and the Constitution can, and in some instances must, protect gay persons and gay couples in the exercise of their civil rights, but religious and philosophical objections to gay marriage are protected views and in some instances protected forms of expression,” today’s ruling reads.

It continues that while “Colorado law can protect gay persons in acquiring products and services on the same terms and conditions as are offered to other members of the public, the law must be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion.”

“Still, the delicate question of when the free exercise of his religion must yield to an otherwise valid exercise of state power needed to be determined in an adjudication in which religious hostility on the part of the State itself would not be a factor in the balance the State sought to reach. That requirement, however, was not met here. When the Colorado Civil Rights Commission considered this case, it did not do so with the religious neutrality that the Constitution requires,” it states.

“Given all these considerations, it is proper to hold that whatever the outcome of some future controversy involving facts similar to these, the Commission’s actions here violated the Free Exercise Clause; and its order must be set aside.”

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“The court reversed the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision based on concerns unique to the case but reaffirmed its longstanding rule that states can prevent the harms of discrimination in the marketplace, including against LGBT people,” said Louise Melling, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, which represented Craig and Mullins.

The ACLU also responded to the ruling with a series of tweets.

“Today’s decision is remarkably narrow, and leaves for another day virtually all of the major constitutional questions that this case presented,” said Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law. “It’s hard to see the decision setting a precedent.”

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