National News

Supreme Court rules for baker in same-sex wedding cake case

(CNN)The Supreme Court ruled 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, who cited his beliefs as a Christian, but leaves unsettled broader constitutional questions on religious liberty.

"Today's decision is remarkably narrow, and leaves for another day virtually all of the major constitutional questions that this case presented," said Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law. "It's hard to see the decision setting a precedent."

The ruling, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, held 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.

The case was one of the most anticipated rulings of the term and was considered by some as a follow up from the court's decision three years ago to clear the way for same-sex marriage nationwide. That opinion, also written by Kennedy, expressed respect for those with religious objections to gay marriage.

"Our society has come to the recognition that gay persons and gay couples cannot be treated as social outcasts or as inferior in dignity and worth," he wrote Monday.

Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Kristen Waggoner, who represented Phillips, praised the ruling.

"Jack serves all customers; he simply declines to express messages or celebrate events that violate his deeply held beliefs," Waggoner said in a statement. "Creative professionals who serve all people should be free to create art consistent with their convictions without the threat of government punishment."

Louise Melling, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, emphasized the narrowness of the opinion.

"The court reversed the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision based on concerns unique to the case but reaffirmed its longstanding rule that states can prevent the harms of discrimination in the marketplace, including against LGBT people," Melling said in a statement.

Because Justice Clarence Thomas concurred in part, the judgment of the court on the case was 7-2 but the opinion on the rationale was 6-2.

Click here to read the full ruling.

For the latest breaking news and stories from across the Tri-State, follow Eyewitness News on Facebook and Twitter.

(This story was originally published on June 4, 2018)


More Stories

Video Center