Religious liberty supporters cautiously celebrate cake ruling
by Lynde Langdon
Posted 6/04/18, 01:37 pm
UPDATE: Colorado baker Jack Phillips expressed his gratitude to the Supreme Court on Monday for overturning a discrimination judgment against him.
“It’s hard to believe that the government punished me for operating my business consistent with my beliefs about marriage. That isn’t freedom or tolerance,” said Phillips, a Christian whose decision not to bake custom cakes for same-sex weddings led to the court case. “I’m so thankful to the U.S. Supreme Court for this ruling.”
Religious liberty advocates also welcomed the ruling, though some tempered their enthusiasm because of the decision’s narrow scope.
“The language of the ruling suggests that if the Colorado commission had given the appearance of fair dealing with the Christian baker, it could have ruled the same way and avoided today’s SCOTUS ruling,” wrote Rod Dreher for The American Conservative.
Fox News commentator Brit Hume echoed Dreher’s concern, tweeting, “Religious freedom advocates celebrating the 7-2 ruling in favor of the Colorado bake shop should keep this in mind: The ruling relied heavily on the openly hostile treatment of the bakers’ religious convictions by the Colorado authorities.”
OUR EARLIER REPORT (11:07 a.m.): In a historic win for public expression of faith, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in favor of Colorado baker Jack Phillips’ right not to make a cake for a same-sex wedding because of his Biblical beliefs about marriage. “The laws and the Constitution can, and in some instances must, protect gay persons and gay couples in the exercise of their civil rights, but religious and philosophical objections to gay marriage are protected views and in some instances protected forms of expression,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion released Monday. A same-sex couple sued Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colo., in 2012 when he declined to make them a custom wedding cake. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission ruled Phillips was illegally discriminating against the couple, so he stopped making custom wedding cakes altogether at a substantial cost to his business. The Supreme Court justices agreed in a 7-2 vote that the commission violated Phillips’ freedom of religious expression and “showed elements of a clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs motivating his objection,” Kennedy wrote. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented. The decision leaves open the possibility that other courts might still rule against Christian professionals who only serve at weddings between one man and one woman. Kennedy noted that the debate warranted “further elaboration,” depending on the circumstances and urged tolerance on all sides.
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