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Supreme Court Ruled in Favor of Colorado Baker Who Refused to Bake Wedding Cake for Gay Couple

Supreme Court Ruled in Favor of Colorado Baker Who Refused to Bake Wedding Cake for Gay Couple

Court ruled 7-2.

The Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in favor of the Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple. From USA Today:

The verdict criticized the state’s treatment of Jack Phillips’ religious objections to gay marriage, ruling that a civil rights commission was biased against him. As a result, the decision did not resolve whether other opponents of same-sex marriage, such as florists and photographers, can refuse commercial wedding services to gay couples.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the court’s 7-2 decision against the same-sex couple, departing from his long history of opinions in favor of gay rights dating back a generation. Included among them was the court’s 2015 decision legalizing gay marriage nationwide.

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Sonia Sotomayor were the ones who dissented.

Back in 2012, Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop refused to make a wedding cake for Charlie Craig and David Mullins, who took legal action against the business owner. Phillips lost in front of the Colorado civil Rights Commission and the state Court of Appeals due to Colorado having anti-discrimination laws. Kennedy argued the application of the law:

Kennedy reasoned that Phillips, in refusing to create a same-sex wedding cake, had good reason to believe he was within his rights. State law at the time allowed merchants some latitude to decline specific messages, such as those demeaning gay people and gay marriages.

The government cannot impose regulations hostile to citizens’ religious beliefs, the ruling said.

During oral argument in December, Kennedy and other conservative justices had expressed concern about the potential effect on other merchants with strong religious objections to same-sex marriage, from chefs to florists.

Kennedy wrote:

“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,” the majority opinion said.

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

The decision “did not address the larger question of whether the First Amendment protects providers of wedding and other services who have cited religious and free-speech objections when refusing to serve gay and lesbian customers in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2015 same-sex marriage decision.”

Instead, the ruling “is tailored to the case at hand.”

Despite this, the ruling brings up the clergy:

Full decision here:



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The decision “did not address the larger question …

So, the larger issue remains murky. A clear resolution either way would make gay hit-squad tactics far less effective. This guy wins but is ruined, and they can do the same to the next poor victim. They can continue using the courts to harass small businesses into ruin via legal costs. Sounds like a win for Progressivism.

    Observer in reply to tom_swift. | June 4, 2018 at 11:19 am

    Yes, technically the baker won, but at a huge cost. He not only had to incur legal fees for years, but he also had to stop selling any wedding cakes in his shop during the years-long course of this litigation. So now that it’s clear that the Colorado government violated the baker’s constitutional rights and damaged his business and his reputation, where does he go to get restitution? Oh that’s right, nowhere. There’s no real justice for this guy, but we can be sure that the gays will continue their relentless lawfare against any business owner who dares not to bow to their demands.

      rinardman in reply to Observer. | June 4, 2018 at 11:28 am

      …but we can be sure that the gays will continue their relentless lawfare against any business owner who dares not to bow to their demands.

      I look forward to their lawfare against muslim business owners.

    assemblerhead in reply to tom_swift. | June 4, 2018 at 11:23 am

    In other words : the court dodged.

    Still would like to see an imam forced to perform a gay wedding brought before the court. If they can force a Christian to do that … why not a Muslim?

    The court’s hypocrisy would be evident to all.

      Milhouse in reply to assemblerhead. | June 4, 2018 at 12:29 pm

      Didn’t you read the post? They can not force a Christian to perform a same-sex marriage. If they could, then of course the same would be true for a Moslem. Where do some commenters here get the insane idea that US law treats Islam more favorably than Christianity? It is just not true. When you make such a claim you sound exactly as insane as those who insist, every time a policeman is forced to shoot someone who happens to be black, that if he’d been white the cop wouldn’t have shot him. We know that’s not true, that in fact cops shoot white people who threaten them slightly more often than they do black ones, but these people have an idée fixe and won’t be swayed by reality. Those who, every time a Christian gets rough treatment, insist that a Moslem would have been treaed differently are exactly the same.

        Petrushka in reply to Milhouse. | June 4, 2018 at 12:40 pm

        Except Christians in this century will not kill you.

        BobM in reply to Milhouse. | June 4, 2018 at 12:43 pm

        Us law may not “treat Muslims more favorably”, but they certainly face far less pressure to conform to SJW doctrine they disagree with. The point AH aimed at is still valid, I have yet to hear of any gay couple bringing suit because a Muslim businessman didn’t wIsh to participate in a Gay wedding ceremony. Although The Left continuously accuses Christians of being bigots for not approving of what their faith says is wrong, a Muslim holding the EXACT same stance is given a pass, either because they’re also viewed as a protected class, or because the lefty activists pushing this meme are not insane enuf to actually believe the BS about how peaceful all Muslims are when pushed. No one dies when a crucafix is bottled in urine as “art” but unless you’re an idiot you know what to expect if you did the same to a Koran.

        heyjoojoo in reply to Milhouse. | June 4, 2018 at 1:27 pm

        “tread” lol

        Fen in reply to Milhouse. | June 5, 2018 at 12:32 am

        “Where do some commenters here get the insane idea that US law treats Islam more favorably than Christianity? ”

        From watching how the law is enforced.

    Neo in reply to tom_swift. | June 4, 2018 at 11:34 am

    Actually, the SCOTUS didn’t rule on the cake … the headline should have read …

    The US Supreme Court rules that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission is bigoted

    Conan in reply to tom_swift. | June 4, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    Lawfare, you got to love it where you have to try and put your budget against all the taxpayers.

The cake decorator man is an artist, his enhancements to the bakery goods is unique, not so different from any other artist, only in the medium of expression.

It figures that a “wise latina” and bull-dyke sasquatch would dissent, they despise anything wholesome, American, or related to individual freedom.

    Immolate in reply to NotKennedy. | June 4, 2018 at 1:39 pm

    Ginsburg, not Kagan on dissent.

    It sounds like the majority decision cares little to nothing about the baker applying artistry either… which was the only grounds I took seriously. Otherwise, we’d be having heterosexuals successfully ordering cakes for gay weddings from Christian bakers.

I’m suspecting the actual innards of the case are different than the headline. After all, I doubt the baker is actually refusing to *bake* a cake for a gay wedding. He’s refusing to decorate it in the fashion the happy couple want.

I would think the baker would be more than happy to sell the customers a white wedding cake, done up in plain frosting and ready for decorating. He’s just refusing to use his artistic ability to express an opinion that runs counter to his own beliefs.

Now, I could be wrong. I didn’t check with my wife before posting, after all.

Biggest problem here is the “public accommodation” laws that create public entities out of private business. The government has a monopoly on its core services and thus cannot discriminate. However, private businesses rarely have a monopoly via competition and therefore “should” have the right to accept or refuse service for any reason. The prospective client has other choices and are slightly impacted, if at all. Their being “offended” is is nowhere near sufficient to overcome a constitutionally protected right.

    stevewhitemd in reply to stl. | June 4, 2018 at 6:38 pm

    No, and that question was asked and answered in the southern railroad cases that ended up justifying Plessy v Ferguson. The black travelers could NOT take another railroad to get to where they wanted to go without suffering the indignity of riding in a second-class railroad car as inferior passengers.

    Private businesses FREQUENTLY have a monopoly (or nearly so), from Google in the search business down to the corner gas station when it’s the only gas station for fifty miles in any direction.

    This is is not about the right of a businessman to refuse to serve a paying customer in a publicly available business. Indeed, most everyone here acknowledges that HAD the baker refused to sell the happy couple a cake at all he would have been in the wrong. There’s nothing special about a wedding cake. Where the lower courts and the Colorado Civil Rights Commission went wrong was demanding that the baker violate his expressive rights under the 1st Amendment — that is, that the baker could be compelled to write out a decoration that violated his own inner religious beliefs.

    Example: I have the right to buy a ticket to a ball game same as anyone else, but I don’t have a right to demand from a player (e.g. the great Chico Esquela) an autograph that says, “To my best friend Satan, best wishes, Chico.” The former is a public accommodation. The latter is an impermissible affront on another person’s personal beliefs.

    Don’t try to justify a limitation on public accommodation: that one has been adjudicated per the 14th Amendment, and you’ll lose every time. This one was a 1A argument.

      A few questions

      1) Does a feminist photographer have a right to refuse to do a BDSM photo shoot that she feels would promote violence against women?

      2) Does a Jewish Seamstress have the right to refuse to make Gestapo costumes for a local KKK rally?

      It IS about the wedding cake. It’s artistic expression. The baker will sell the gay couple all the cookies and cakes they will buy, and they have done so. But they draw the line at gay wedding cakes for the exact same reason they refuse to make “Divorce Celebration Wedding Cakes” for heterosexual couples.

      This is about artistic freedom of expression, conscientious objection on moral grounds, and compelled speech.

      “… sincere and meaningful belief which occupies in the life of its possessor a place parallel to that filled by the God of those admittedly qualifying for the exemption comes within the statutory definition.” – Welsh V United States

When it comes to providing “equal access”, that should only involve government, not private citizens. When you open a business, you aren’t serving as an arm of the government and contrary to left wing opinions, working for yourself instead of being employed by others is not a “privilege”.

Voice_of_Reason | June 4, 2018 at 12:17 pm

Gee, I wonder how the “progressive” thought police would feel if a neo-nazi went to a gay baker to get a Hitler birthday cake? Or went to a gay photographer to commission portraits in nazi regale?

I bet they wouldn’t accept being compelled to make those expressions of speech.

The progressive movement is, above all, Doublethink. Conservatives view Orwell’s 1984 as a warning; progressives view 1984 as an instruction manual.

Where does this put the Oregon baker?

The court and pundits say the ruling is narrow. Words that usually apply to a process flaw or are confined to specific case facts unlikely to reemerge or a local statute. None such are here. This is not a narrow ruling, per se. It is precedent. Civil Rights Boards (and EEOCs), may not ignore Christian beliefs, declare them secondary, nor create Christian doctrine as a straw-man, to be disposed of.

    jimmyk in reply to puhiawa. | June 4, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    What seems to make the ruling very narrow, though, is Kennedy’s emphasis on the state of law *at the time*, and the consequent “reasonableness” of the baker’s belief that his refusal was legal. It strongly suggests that under current law, post-Obergfell, that belief might not be viewed as reasonable, and the ruling would go the other way.

    If they can still fine the baker, they only need to be less openly bigoted about it in their capacity as public officials, then yes, it was a decision on narrow grounds. (I prefer that wording better than the absurdity of presenting a 7-2 ruling as “narrow”.)

notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | June 4, 2018 at 1:41 pm

We can all now sing “Take this cake and……”

“Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the court’s 7-2 decision”

This explains why the ruling was not more definitive. Will he please retire now?

A cake for transgender individuals and everyone else, but no authority to compel endorsement of transgender couplets and lifestyle. Equal, not “=”. Also, #NoLabels #TooManyLabels.

They aren’t refusing service to the gay couple. The baker will decorate the cake but I’m sure the business has certain limits. For instance, I’m sure they can’t decorate a cake with inappropriate language (profanity, offensive language, etc). They simply are refusing to put something on a cake that is considered against their religious belief or may be offensive. But they can get the cake decorated any way they wish.

    That sounds like, you can have the car in any color you want, so long as that color is black.

    You’re splitting hairs too fine. The good way to argue it is that they’re refusing a service to straight and gay alike: the service of designing cakes for gay weddings. It’s not as if straight people are buying gay wedding cakes from this baker. But, that’s not the characterization the judges (on both sides) are giving the issue.

    Nothing’s really changed, except that state commissions need to be quieter about declaring adherence to certain religions in certain professions to be illegal.

First of all it wasn’t as if Jack Phillips refused to sell this malicious gay couple a cake (it was clearly a set-up, as are pretty much all these cases, as this could have simply taken their business elsewhere). He simply refused to use his artistic talents to personalize it with a message that violated his sincerely held religious beliefs.

In other words it was really a question of, can the government compel speech that violates a person’s conscience? And the fascist left is saying that they can as long as the individual’s objection is based upon religious conviction. If it were a political objection, say if a baker didn’t want to create a cake celebrating Donald Trump’s victory in 2016, they’d be fine with it. Because they’d agree with it. And no, I’m not making up that example; it actually has happened. They’re simply totalitarians.

    pyawakit in reply to Arminius. | June 5, 2018 at 9:21 am

    I would hit “like” on this comment multiple times if I could. The best policy for Christians, Muslims or anyone in this situation is to just lie and say you would do the job except you are over committed, on vacation, ill, can’t stop sneezing, etc. You can not be honest in a country where the government and their tyrant goons scan the community for business or individuals that think differently about anything to attack. The legal system is expensive and being pulled into it is financially devastating and easily weaponized.

“The rule of law is dead…”


    Barry in reply to Ragspierre. | June 5, 2018 at 9:27 pm

    Yep. Pretty much.
    See DC, Washington.

    A few reasonable flashes in the pan do nothing to restore the rule of law.