Supreme court rules in favor of baker in same-sex wedding cake case
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court is setting aside a Colorado court ruling against a baker who wouldn’t make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. But the court is not deciding the big issue in the case, whether a business can refuse to serve gay and lesbian people.
The justices’ limited ruling Monday turns on what the court described as anti-religious bias on the Colorado Civil Rights Commission when it ruled against baker Jack Phillips. The justices voted 7-2 that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission violated Phillips’ rights under the First Amendment.
Justice Anthony Kennedy says in his majority opinion that the issue “must await further elaboration.” Appeals in similar cases are pending, including one at the Supreme Court from a florist who didn’t want to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding.
In 2012, Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig were planning a celebration after they were married in Massachusetts.
They were shocked that Masterpiece Cakeshop refused their business.
“I have to be honest, I started to break down and I cried,” said Craig.
Jack Phillips is the bakery’s owner.
“I tried to respectfully apologize that I couldn’t create this cake,” he said. “I would gladly sell you anything in my shop but this is just an event that I can’t create a cake for.”
Phillips said he was exercising his constitutional rights to free speech and freedom of religion, but Mullins and Craig filed a discrimination complaint and won.
Phillips lost several appeals before the Supreme Court agreed to take the case. The justices will now have to decide if the first amendment can outweigh the right to equal treatment.
This case has attracted considerable attention from both sides of the debate. People even camped out overnight for a chance to be in the courtroom during the arguments.