Sessions: DOJ Is 'Pleased' At Supreme Court's 'Masterpiece Cakeshop' Ruling

Supreme court rules in favor of baker in same-sex wedding cake case

The Supreme Court ruled Monday in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to make a custom cake for a same-sex couple, citing his religious beliefs.

The justices' limited ruling Monday turns on what the court described as anti-religious bias on the Colorado Civil Rights Commission when it ruled against baker Jack Phillips.

The court's 7-2 ruling in favor of Phillips shows his views weren't protected.

FILE - Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, CO decorates a cake for a client on September 21, 2017.

In the end, the decision was modest enough to attract the votes of liberal and conservative justices on a subject that had the potential for sharp division.

In December, Phillips's lawyers argued before the court that while the baker was perfectly willing to sell ready-made products to anyone, a wedding cake can be considered artistic expression, and such creations can express a message - something Phillips was not prepared to do for a gay couple.

Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, was asked by a gay couple in 2012 to create a cake in celebration of their wedding. The closely watched case concerned whether "sincerely held religious beliefs" can permit businesses to withhold goods and services to protected groups including LGBTQ people.

In 2012, Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig were planning a celebration after they were married in MA.

The Supreme Court is expected to decide this month whether or not it will accept the case, or send it back to the Washington State Supreme Court for another review. The court added that people seeing the cake would not understand Mr Phillips to be making a statement and that he remained free to say what he liked about same-sex marriage in other settings. Justice Anthony Kennedy authored the majority opinions in both cases.

"Our society has come to the recognition that gay persons and gay couples can not be treated as social outcasts or as inferior in dignity and worth", he wrote Monday. While the justices split in their reasoning, only Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented.

Speaking then for a 5-4 majority, he said marriage is a fundamental right, and "it demeans gays and lesbians for the state to lock them out" of having legal recognition of their marriages.

Every Supreme Court term, there is at least one case that gets people's blood up.

Instead, the court said Phillips was treated unfairly by the civil rights commission, and for this reason alone, he should win his case.

The verdict said the commission had shown "clear hostility" and implied religious beliefs "are less than fully welcome in Colorado's business community". The couple filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights commission, arguing Phillips violated the law in discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. The Court found that Colorado's Civil Rights Commission, which enforces discrimination policy, operated in a manner at odds with religious tolerance.

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