The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Jack Phillips, the baker who refused to make a cake for a gay wedding. The ruling a majority vote of a 7-2 decision, saying “a state commission had violated the Constitution’s protection of religious freedom in ruling against the baker, Jack Phillips, who had refused to create a custom wedding cake for a gay couple.”
Justice M. Kennedy said that “When the Colorado Civil Rights Commission considered this case, it did not do so with the religious neutrality that the Constitution requires.”
The case started back in 2012 when David Mullins and Charlie Craig visited Mr. Phillip’s bakery, Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado. The men were set to marry in Massachusetts and needed a wedding cake for the reception in Colorado. Mr. Phillips turned the couple down, the reason? The baker could not bake his cake (his art) to convey a message of support for same-sex marriage. The couple filed a discrimination suit against Mr. Phillips saying that he had violated a state law barring discrimination of sexual orientation.
The couple won before the Colorado civil rights commission and in the state courts. The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled that “Mr. Phillips’s free speech rights had not been violated, noting that the couple had not discussed the cake’s design before Mr. Phillips turned them down. The court added that people seeing the cake would not understand Mr. Phillips to be making a statement and that he remained free to say what he liked about same-sex marriage in other settings.”
The debate has been heated on both sides claiming discrimination. Gay rights argued that same-sex couples are entitled to equal treatment from all establishments while religious groups argued that the government should not be able to force people to violate their principles in order to make a living.