Washington, D.C. – The Supreme Court ruled in favor Monday for a Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, citing his Christian beliefs.
At the center of the high court arguments were Jack Phillips’ First Amendment claims of artistic freedom against the anti-discrimination arguments of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, and the two men Phillips refused to provide services to in 2012.
Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, was previously found to have violated Colorado’s anti-discrimination law over his refusal to service the event. Through his lawyers, Phillips argued to the Supreme Court that he’s an artist who should not be compelled to create a cake that contradicts his religious views.
The justices, by a 7-2 decision, faulted the Colorado Civil Rights Commission’s handling of the claims brought against Phillips, saying it had showed a hostility to his Christian religion. In doing so, the court ruled the commission violated his religious rights under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor were alone in their dissent.
“The commission’s hostility was inconsistent with the First Amendment’s guarantee that our laws be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote of his ruling, referring to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
“The outcome of cases like this in other circumstances must await further elaboration in the courts, all in the context of recognizing that these disputes must be resolved with tolerance, without undue disrespect to sincere religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market,” Kennedy said.
The closely watched case before the Supreme Court, which in 2015 legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, sparked debate over gay rights versus religious liberty.
Prior to the court’s ruling, President Donald Trump vocalized his support of Phillips and the sanctity of religious beliefs.