Sessions: DOJ Is 'Pleased' At Supreme Court's 'Masterpiece Cakeshop' Ruling


This court specifically this case does not decide all other pending cases involving the conflict between religious views and gay marriage, and they will have to be further hammered out in the courts.

Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, was told by a Colorado Civil Rights Commission that he can not refuse to bake cakes for events that violate his conscience, even though he had a long history of selling items in his cakeshop to anyone who walked through the door. They were married in MA because same-sex marriage was not yet legal in Colorado.

"We are grateful that the court upheld these today", he said in a statement.

Observers noted at the time that left-wing Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor predictably signaled their hostility to Phillips' argument, while left-leaning swing vote Justice Anthony Kennedy sent mixed signals in his questioning.

Kennedy was behind the landmark 2105 decision, Obergefell vs. Hodges, that legalized same-sex marriage but his jurisprudence has shown affinity too for religious freedom.

Chief Justice John Roberts joined on the decision. Kagan and Breyer were the only two judges who disagreed with the ruling.

"The Colorado Civil Rights Commission's consideration of this case was inconsistent with the State's obligation of religious neutrality".

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Mullins and Craig successfully brought their complaint to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

While the court sided with Phillips in this case, Kennedy warned it could come to a different conclusion in similar future cases.

Craig and Mullins won before the Colorado Civil Rights Commission and the state Court of Appeals, thanks to the state's inclusion of sexual orientation in its anti-discrimination law. The court was careful to note that the baker was willing to make a birthday cake for the gay couple, but not a wedding cake, as he felt that would violate his religious beliefs. Phillips and others like him who believe that gay marriage is not consistent with their Christian beliefs have said they should not be required to effectively endorse the practice. But, "he simply declines to express messages or celebrate events that violate his deeply held beliefs", she said.

Mr Phillips was at his shop on Monday morning, where he was busy answering the phone and getting congratulations from his supporters in person, including his pastor.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which represents the Colorado couple, said it was pleased the court did not endorse a broad religion-based exemption from anti-discrimination laws. In 2015, it extended same-sex marriage nationwide. But it is a basis that will have little effect on other such same-sex wedding service provider cases, especially when government commissioners realize they shouldn't say more about religion than is necessary to deal with the particular religious objections raised in those cases.

Phillips appealed the decision, lost before the Colorado Court of Appeals, and eventually convinced the nation's highest court to hear the case. "As a nation, we've already rejected the idea that business open to the public have a license to discriminate against people because of who they are", it said.

Louise Melling, deputy legal director of the ACLU, said in a statement the Supreme Court essentially punted in the case without making a major decision.