U.S. Supreme Court Sides with Colorado Baker in a Narrow Ruling
While the decision did not set a precedent, it could lead towards a slippery slope when it comes anti-discrimination laws nationwide.
On Monday, June 4, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Lakewood, Colorado baker and bakery store owner, Jack Philips, who refused to make a wedding cake for a local gay couple, David Mullins and Charlie Craig, on the grounds of his own Chrisitan religious beliefs. However, in the 7 to 2 narrow ruling, the highest court in the country did not state or indicate that all services can now refuse work or serve LGBTQIA+ couples or individuals. The legal ruling Justices Roberts, Kagan, Breyer, Gorsuch, Alito, and Thomas sided with the baker in the majority ruling while Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor had dissenting opinions.
Writing the majority opinion, conservative-leaning Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is often known for his liberal rulings on legalizing marriage nationwide and striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act that was passed during the Clinton Administration in the 1990s, said that the Denver based Colorado Civil Rights Commission was primarily biased against Philips and Colorado law can continue to protect LGBTQIA+ individuals and couples in purchasing or accessing public accommodated goods or services if it is “neutral toward religion”.
While this particular ruling puts anti-discrimination laws on edge, a variety of states nationwide have enacted anti-discrimination laws based on an individual’s or couple’s sexual orientation and gender identity as well as bans on conversion therapy for LGBTQIA+ youth. According to a recent 2016 public opinion poll from the Public Religion Research Institute in Washington, D.C., 71% of Americans surveyed support laws protecting LGBTQIA+ people from discrimination and 59% oppose any business allowing to refuse services or products to LGBTQIA+ people based on personal religious beliefs.
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