Supreme Court Rules for Baker in Same Sex Wedding Case, Punts On Real Issue

The U.S. Supreme Court has sided with a Colorado baker in a hotly-contested and closely watched case pitting claims of LGBTQ discrimination against claims of religious freedom.

In a 7-2 decision, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy decided on narrow grounds that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission violated the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause when it ruled against the baker, Jack Phillips, who had refused to create a wedding cake for Charlie Craig and David Mullin, a gay couple.

Instead of ruling on the substance which made the case so popular in the first place, the Court took a limited approach stating that the Commission was hostile toward Phillips’ religion and therefore violated his sincerely held religious beliefs and convictions upheld by the Constitution.

The Court affirmed that states can protect LGBTQ people in the marketplace. The Court, however, did not rule on the core question before it: whether a commercial bakery that operates as a place of public accommodations under Colorado’s anti-discrimination law may use a religious or free speech justification to avoid providing a service to customers because of their sexual orientation.

Said Deb Hauser, President, Advocates for Youth:  “This non-ruling could eventually lead to state-sanctioned, discrimination and highlights just how much the fight continues for LGBTQ equality across the country. But rest assured that the fight is not over. Young people are moving this country forwards, not backwards – and they won’t stand for a government-sanctioned right to discriminate.”