US Supreme Court backs baker who refused to make wedding cake for gay couple
Jack Phillips, a conservative Christian, cited his religious beliefs as reason for refusing service
The United States Supreme Court has backed a baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, ruling that an earlier decision made by Colorado State Court had violated baker Jack Phillips' rights.
The Colorado State Court had found that Mr Philips decision not to serve same-sex couple, David Mullins and Charlie Craig, was unlawful discrimination but that decision was this week overruled by the Supreme Court in a 7-2 vote, on the basis of Mr Phillips' rights.
In 2012, Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop and a devout Christian, told same-sex couple, David Mullins and Charlie Craig, that he would not create a cake for their wedding celebration because of his religious opposition to same-sex marriages - marriages that Colorado did not then recognise - but that he would sell them other baked goods, e.g. birthday cakes.
Mullins and Craig then filed a charge with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission under the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA), which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation in a “place of business engaged in any sales to the public and any place offering services... to the public.”
In a report summarised by the BBC, the verdict said the commission had shown "clear hostility" and implied religious beliefs "are less than fully welcome in Colorado's business community".
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that while Colorado law "can protect gay persons in acquiring products and services... the law must be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion".
The opinion cited the following comment from a Colorado commissioner during a public hearing:
"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.
"And to me it is one of the most despicable pieces of rhetoric that people can use to use their religion to hurt others."
Since the verdict, many people have taken to social media to express their opinions, with many LGBTQ+ rights groups expressing their concern at the ruling.
Hey in light of today's #SCOTUS decision about the #GayWeddingCake, imma lay a couple things out:— Danielle Muscato (@DanielleMuscato) June 4, 2018
It's not a gay wedding. It's not a gay cake. It's a wedding. It's a cake. The couple is gay, not the wedding, not the cake. This is about equality for gay people, not a damn cake.
I don't think you can be too gay to buy a cake. I don't think you can be too gay to open your caring family to one of TX's 30,000 kids in the foster care system. Let's end this discrimination. Let's pass the Equality Act. Let's ensure equal justice under law for LGBTQ Americans.— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) June 4, 2018
A similar case is taking place in Northern Ireland, after LGBT+ rights activist, Gareth Lee, placed an order for a cake with a "gay slogan" on it.
Belfast's Supreme Court are yet to make a decision.
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