This is good news, but they punted in one way– while excoriating the Colorado Civil Rights Commission for their treatment of the baker, they did not ultimately answer the broader issue of religious liberty. So it’s good news in part. Keep in mind, this case is from 2012, so it took 6 years, and the baker lost at every other level of the justice system. That should worry us.
Here are the details.
The Supreme Court ruled Monday in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, in one of the most closely watched cases of the term.
In a 7-2 decision, the justices set aside a Colorado court ruling against the baker — while stopping short of deciding the broader issue of whether a business can refuse to serve gay and lesbian people.
The narrow ruling focused on what the court described as anti-religious bias on the Colorado Civil Rights Commission when it ruled against baker Jack Phillips.
“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 in his majority opinion…
The court in December specifically examined whether applying Colorado’s public accommodations law to compel the local baker to create commercial “expression” violated his constitutionally protected Christian beliefs about marriage.
The Supreme Court ruled narrowly in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to bake a cake to celebrate the marriage of a same sex couple because of a religious objection.
The ruling was 7-2.
The court held that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission showed hostility toward the baker based on his religious beliefs. The ruling is a win for baker Jack Phillips but leaves unsettled the broader constitutional questions the case presented.
The ruling, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, is not the wide-ranging ruling on religious liberty that some expected. It is tailored to the case at hand with the justices holding that members of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission showed animus toward Phillips specifically when they suggested his claims of religious freedom was made to justify discrimination.