The same-sex couple who lost a major Supreme Court battle with a baker over his refusal on religious grounds to make them a wedding cake told CNN Tuesday they felt "shock and disappointment" over the decision. Though such considerations may signal the direction of the court in future decisions, they are not the basis of the court's decision in this case.
This week, the U.S. Supreme Court could decide whether to hear the case involving the Washington flower shop, Arlene's Flowers.
In reaching its decision for the baker, the Court takes great pains to observe that the dispute arose at a time when same sex-marriage was not legally-recognized in Colorado and before the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S._ (2015).
"Freedom of religion and religion has been used to justify all kinds of discrimination throughout history, whether it be slavery, whether it be the Holocaust, whether it be-I mean, we-we can list hundreds of situations where freedom of religion has been used to justify discrimination", the member said. "The Commission's treatment of Phillips' case violated the State's duty under the First Amendment not to base laws or regulations on hostility to a religion or religious viewpoint".
While the Masterpiece Cakes ruling sidestepped the fundamental clash between religious freedom and civil rights, Pacific Northwest lawmakers used the ruling as an opportunity to decry discrimination. Stutzman refused, citing her "relationship with Jesus Christ". The justices voted 7-2 that the commission violated Phillips' rights under the First Amendment.
"The court very plainly makes it clear that businesses cannot generally deny goods and services to gay people, much less for their weddings", Chiang said.
The justices' decision turned on what the court described as anti-religious bias on the Colorado Civil Rights Commission when it ruled against baker Jack Phillips. According to the court, the comment twice disparages Mr. Phillips' religion, by using the word "despicable" and by characterizing belief as "rhetoric", which implies a lack of substance or insincerity.
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Those penalties will remain in place "until the United States government eliminates tariffs imposed", Mexico's government said. Mexico, for example, has said it will penalize U.S. imports including pork, apples, grapes and cheeses.
"The commission's hostility was inconsistent with the First Amendment's guarantee that our laws be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion", Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the ruling. The decision, he said in a statement, "rebuked a government that rides roughshod over the religious scruples of its citizens". "The gay rights side should chalk this up as a win", he said. The Court was concerned here principally about two things: first, some comments made by administrative officials that the justices thought put religion in a negative light; and second, the fact that other Colorado bakers who had declined to bake a cake with statements disparaging same-sex marriage and couples had been allowed to decline to provide those cakes without running afoul of antidiscrimination law, while Phillips had been found to have violated that law failing to bake the cake for a same-sex wedding. "Sexual orientation is beginning to be protected that way although, quite frankly, people do change their sexual orientation".
The justices avoided setting a wider precadent in favour of religiously-enabled discrimination, however, finding that gay people were entitled to equal protection under the law.
"We believe that the record in the case that was decided yesterday, just like the record in the case of Barronelle Stutzman, shows evidence of that sort of anti-religious hostility", Campbell said.
The now-shuttered Sweet Cakes bakery was owned by Melissa and Aaron Klein. Earlier that year, the Colorado baker refused to take a wedding cake order from David Mullins and Charlie Craig, and the couple submitted a complaint against him, which was the beginning of this six-year controversial case. "Certainly, this case moves the ball forward for all people who have sincerely held religious beliefs", Limandri said. Gustafson argued it was prejudicial against the Kleins. "I did not influence the rest of the commission", said Rice.
The couple's attorney has since appealed, but in light of the Colorado ruling, Tastries attorney Chuck Limandri said the appeal should be abandoned.
The Supreme Court's ruling raised more questions than it answered.