Supreme Court finds bias in cake case

Monday, June 4, 2018

Christians who feel their beliefs are not being given weight equal to those of other religions may find some small comfort in today’s Supreme Court ruling regarding a Colorado baker’s refusal to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

Baker Jack Phillips was found guilty of violating Colorado’s law against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation after he refused to bake a wedding cake for Charlie Craig and Dave Mullins in 2012.

Mullins said he declined because of his religious convictions, and after he was found guilty by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, state courts upheld the conviction.

Today, however, the U.S. Supreme Court voted 7-2 not necessarily that he was within his rights, but that the Colorado commission had violated Phillips’ rights under the First Amendment by not taking his religious convictions into account.

The court did not decide whether a business can invoke religious objections to refuse service to gay and lesbian people.

That may fall to other similar cases, such as one from a florist who didn’t want to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion that “the commission’s hostility (toward Phillips’ beliefs) was inconsistent with the First Amendment’s guarantee that our laws be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion.”

Liberal justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan joined the conservatives in the ruling, with Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissenting.

The final definitive ruling is much in doubt, especially with new Supreme Court justices likely to be nominated within the next few years.

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