Washington D.C., Jun 4, 2018 / 15:21 pm
Religious freedom advocates have mostly celebrated the Supreme Court's ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, although some commentators have expressed concern that the case was a "narrow" victory - won on specific facts of the case, not addressing broad Constitutional questions.
What exactly happened in the case, and what does it mean?
The case revolved around Coloradan Jack Phillips, who in 2012 declined to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding, because of his religious objections to same-sex marriage. Phillips stressed repeatedly that he will happily create other products – such as birthday cakes or graduation cakes – for gay clients, but reiterated his opposition to gay marriage. A devout Christian, he also refuses to bake cakes for bachelor parties or Halloween.
After a complaint was filed, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission ordered him to change his company policies and undergo anti-discrimination training. That decision was appealed, and today the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Phillips by a 7-2 margin. Justices Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer, typically viewed as progressives, sided with the Court's more conservative cohort, and Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion.