“Creative professionals who serve all people should be free to create art consistent with their convictions without the threat of government punishment,” the baker’s attorney said.
LGBT flag outside the United States Supreme Court PHoto Credit: Ted Eytan via Flickr
On Monday, the US Supreme Court sided with a Colorado baker who, citing religious beliefs, refused to accept a wedding cake order for a same-sex couple in 2012. The court’s ruling is being viewed as a right move in terms of civil rights issues.
According to the court ruling, the Colorado Rights Commission was not empathetic towards baker Jack Phillips’ Christian beliefs when it suggested that his claims of religious freedom were merely a means to excuse his discriminatory behavior.
Justice Anthony Kennedy’s much anticipated ruling in favor of Phillips is seen as a step backwards from his ruling three years ago to allow same-sex marriage in the state, and a decision that supports the objection to gay marriage based on religious beliefs.
While maintaining that “our society has come to the recognition that gay persons and gay couples cannot be treated as social outcasts or as inferior in dignity and worth,” the ruling, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, shows respect for Phillips’ personal religious views and does not give way for the need to set a legal precedent around the issue of gay rights. Phillips had said on several occasions that just as he does not take Halloween cake orders, he also is not obligated to take an order that is against his beliefs.
Phillips’ attorney, Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Kristen Waggoner, praised the ruling and said that while her client serves all customers, “he simply declines to express messages or celebrate events that violate his deeply held beliefs.” She added that “creative professionals who serve all people should be free to create art consistent with their convictions without the threat of government punishment.”
In 2012, the US Supreme Court revoked a Colorado court ruling that determined that Phillips’ refusal to take the order was a discriminatory act. 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.
The state of Colorado is one of the 21 American states that has set rules against discrimination against the gay community.