The Supreme Court, in a 7-2 decision Monday morning, set aside a lower court ruling in Colorado against a Denver baker who refused to create a same-sex wedding cake.
The ruling stops short of declaring whether businesses can lean on religious objections, as the baker did, to refuse to serve gay and lesbian people. Nonetheless, the court’s decision sends a cold chill through the LGBTQ community today — and provides further proof that Americans are no longer living in the Obama era of progressivism.
The victory for anti-LGBTQ forces is being characterized in legal circles as “narrow,” because the scope of the ruling was limited to what the court described as an anti-religious bias on the Colorado Civil Rights Commission when it ruled against Jack Phillips, the defendant.
In writing the majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy opined that “the Commission’s hostility was inconsistent with the First Amendment’s guarantee that our laws be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion.”
The now-settled case began with Denver residents and plaintiffs Charlie Craig and David Mullins visiting the Masterpiece Cakeshop with intentions to order a custom-made wedding cake for their same-sex wedding. Phillips refused when he learned the two were requesting the cake for their own nuptials. Phillips was later sanctioned by the state civil rights commission when the couple filed a formal complaint from the gay.
Following the decision, the ACLU released a joint statement from the gay couple: “Today’s decision means our fight against discrimination and unfair treatment will continue. We have always believed that in America, you should not be turned away from a business open to the public because of who you are. We brought this case because no one should have to face the shame, embarrassment, and humiliation of being told ‘we don’t serve your kind here’ that we faced, and we will continue fighting until no one does.”
Four days into the month, the ruling comes on top of the current administration’s refusal to acknowledge Pride Month. The annual and by far largest LGBTQ observance has been missing from the president’s monthly list of proclamations since Donald Trump took office. This month instead there are Oval Office acknowledgements of National Ocean Month and National Outdoors Month. Pride Month was first recognized by President Bill Clinton in 1999 — a practice quickly dropped when George W. Bush took office in January 2001, and returned to the list of presidential proclamations when Barack Obama took office in 2009.
Interested in marriage equality stories, check out our Wed in the World archive.
Last modified: June 20, 2018