Monday, June 4, 2018

Big Win for Religious Freedom in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission

Actually, it's apparently a very narrow ruling touching on the nature of religious bias in Colorado's anti-discrimination legislation, but either way, conservative proponents of freedom of expression and religious belief are going to be jumping for the moon today.

At the Washington Post, "Supreme Court rules in favor of baker who would not make wedding cake for gay couple":

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled for a Colorado baker who refused to create a wedding cake for a gay couple.

In an opinion by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy that leaves many questions unanswered, the court held that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had not adequately taken into account the religious beliefs of baker Jack Phillips.

In fact, Kennedy said, the commission had been hostile to Baker’s faith, denying him the neutral consideration he deserved. While the justices split in their reasoning, only Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented.

Kennedy wrote that the question of when religious beliefs must give way to anti-discrimination laws might be different in future cases. But in this case, he said, Phillips did not get the proper consideration.

“The Court’s precedents make clear that the baker, in his capacity as the owner of a business serving the public, might have his right to the free exercise of religion limited by generally applicable laws,” he wrote. “Still, the delicate question of when the free exercise of his religion must yield to an otherwise valid exercise of state power needed to be determined in an adjudication in which religious hostility on the part of the State itself would not be a factor in the balance the State sought to reach. That requirement, however, was not met here.”

Phillips contended that dual guarantees in the First Amendment — for free speech and for the free exercise of religion — protect him against Colorado’s public accommodations law, which requires businesses to serve customers equally regardless of “disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, or ancestry.”

Scattered across the country, florists, bakers, photographers and others have claimed that being forced to offer their wedding services to same-sex couples violates their rights. Courts have routinely turned down the business owners, as the Colorado Court of Appeals did in the Phillips case, saying that state anti-discrimination laws require businesses that are open to the public to treat all potential customers equally.

There’s no dispute about what triggered the court case in 2012, when same-sex marriage was prohibited in Colorado. Charlie Craig and David Mullins decided to get married in Massachusetts, where it was legal. They would return to Denver for a reception, and those helping with the plans suggested they get a cake from Masterpiece bakery...
Also at Memeorandum.


sdharms said...
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