Victory for US Christian baker at Supreme Court

Victory for US Christian baker at Supreme Court

Graham, president and CEO of theBilly Graham Evangelistic Association, said in a tweet.

The case began back in 2012 when couple Charlie Craig and David Mullins visited Phillips' Masterpiece Cakeshop to order a cake for their wedding, and were told that Phillips would not bake them a cake based on his religious belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman.

Last December the high court heard impassioned arguments in the closely watched case pitting free speech, religion and artistic freedom against anti-discrimination laws.

Graham is now touring California in a bid to get out the evangelical Christian vote in the June 5 primary election.

Experts expect religious right groups to try to use the ruling to undermine local and state nondiscrimination protections nationwide.

The larger issue of refusing service to the gay couple must "await further elaboration" in the courts.

But the Supreme Court's verdict ruled that the Colorado commission had been biased against Mr Phillips.

"Colorado would not be punishing Phillips if he refused to create any custom wedding cakes; it is punishing him because he refuses to create custom wedding cakes that express approval of same-sex marriage", Thomas said.

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"This sentiment is inappropriate for a Commission charged with the solemn responsibility of fair and neutral enforcement of Colorado's anti-discrimination law", wrote Kennedy.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion that Colorado can protect gay people, but the laws protecting them "must be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion". Wisconsin Democrat Cathy Myers said that the decision will only embolden other "bigoted bakers", while writer Robert Sandy said that the decision gave Phillips license to be a "homophobic a**hole". Moreover, Kennedy added, the commission's treatment of Phillips' religious objections was at odds with its rulings in the cases of bakers who refused to create cakes "with images that conveyed disapproval of same-sex marriage".

But the court stayed away from that part of the case.

The justices voted 7-2 that the Commission violated Phillips' First Amendment right to exercise his religion.

The opinion also noted the uneven application of the Commission's rulings, as it had decided in favor of other individuals with similar objections, while ruling against Phillips.

The view that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, Kennedy wrote in that ruling, "has been held-and continues to be held-in good faith by reasonable and honest people here and throughout the world".

While Kagan joined the majority opinion, she filed a concurring opinion along with Breyer that stated, "Colorado can treat a baker who discriminates based on sexual orientation differently from a baker who does not discriminate on that or any other prohibited ground. The bakeries' refusal to make Jack cakes. scarcely resembles Phillips' refusal to serve Craig and Mullins: Phillips would not sell to Craig and Mullins, for no reason other than their sexual orientation".

It's worth noting that while the court's decision was certainly a disappointment to LGBTQ rights advocates, the ruling in this case was "narrow", according to the American Civil Liberties Union's Louise Melling ― meaning it doesn't set a broader precedent for future cases on religious freedom and LGBTQ rights.

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