Supreme Court Sides With Colorado Baker Who Refused Service to Gay Couple

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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.

Phillips took his case to the Colorado Court of Appeals, arguing that requiring him to provide a wedding cake for the couple violated his constitutional right to freedom of speech and free exercise of religion.

The justices pointed out that even Colorado law allows storekeepers "some latitude to decline to create specific messages they considered offensive", and even the state commission, which demanded Phillips be punished and reindoctrinated, ruled that "in at least three [other] cases that a baker acted lawfully in declining to create cakes with decorations" that disagreed with their own beliefs. The Court found that Colorado's Civil Rights Commission, which enforces discrimination policy, operated in a manner at odds with religious tolerance.

But Kennedy also stressed the importance of gay rights while noting that litigation on similar issues is likely to continue in lower courts.

The only two to dissent were Justices Sotomayor and Ginsburg.

Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, was told by a Colorado Civil Rights Commission that he can not refuse to bake cakes for events that violate his conscience, even though he had a long history of selling items in his cakeshop to anyone who walked through the door.

Speaking then for a 5-4 majority, he said marriage is a fundamental right, and "it demeans gays and lesbians for the state to lock them out" of having legal recognition of their marriages.

La cérémonie des obsèques en Isère est ouverte au public — Maëlys
Des roses blanches ainsi que des ballons blancs avaient été déposés devant l'église et dans l'ensemble du village. Ce village est situé à une vingtaine de kilomètres de Pont-de-Beauvoisin où Maëlys avait disparu.

Alliance Defending Freedom also represents the Colorado baker, Jack Phillips. "The First Amendment prohibits governments from discriminating against citizens on the basis of religious beliefs", Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. If a similar case does reach the Supreme Court again - and if Kennedy doesn't retire after this term - he will again be the one to watch. "Anti-LGBTQ extremists did not win the sweeping "license to discriminate" they have been hoping for - and today's ruling does not change our nation's longstanding civil rights laws".

In a statement issued after the ruling on Monday, Mr Phillips' Supreme Court lawyer praised the decision.

"Jack Phillips was wrongly persecuted by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission". Fifty amicus briefs were filed in support of Phillips; 45 amicus briefs supported the same-sex couple.

- The Colorado commission's decision was "inconsistent with the state's obligation of religious neutrality".

The disputes have developed since the Supreme Court created same-sex marriage in the United States a few years ago. Justice Anthony Kennedy authored the majority opinions in both cases. The court's four most conservative justices, including Chief Justice John Roberts, concurred with the decision offering different rationales for the future.

Jack Phillips speaks to the media after leaving the Supreme Court which heard the 'Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, ' on December 5, 2017, in Washington.