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U.S. Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Anti-Gay Colorado Baker

The U.S. Supreme Court has just ruled in favor of an anti-LGBT baker in Colorado who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex wedding.

With Justice Anthony Kennedy writing for the majority, the court rules that when the Colorado Civil Rights Commission considered the Masterpiece Cakeshop matter "it did not do so with the religious neutrality that the Constitution requires."

The plaintiffs argued that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission showed animus against baker Jack Phillips suggesting that members of the commission believed that Phillips claimed religious freedom in an effort to justify discrimination.

From the Associated Press:

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that a Lakewood baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple because of religious beliefs did not violate Colorado’s anti-discrimination law. The case pitted Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, and the couple, Charlie Craig and David Mullins. The court ruled that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission’s actions violated the free exercise clause. In arguments before the court in December, Justine Anthony Kennedy, the author of all the court’s major gay-rights cases, worried that a ruling in favor of Phillips might allow shop owners to put up signs saying “We do not bake cakes for gay weddings.”

Only Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor opposed the narrow ruling in favor of the baker.

In his conclusion, Kennedy makes clear that the narrow ruling here only addresses vacating the decision by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission regarding religious neutrality.

Kennedy stresses that this ruling does not set a precedent to legalize discrimination against gay persons "seeking goods and services in an open market."

From the last paragraph of the ruling:

The outcome of cases like this in other circumstances must await further elaboration in the courts, all in the context of recognizing that these disputes must be re- solved with tolerance, without undue disrespect to sincere religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market.

Lambda Legal issued a statement which read, in part:

The Court today has offered dangerous encouragement to those who would deny civil rights to #LGBTQ people and people living with #HIV. Religious freedom under our Constitution has always meant the right to believe whatever you wish but not to act on your beliefs in ways that harm others. The Court alarmingly fails to heed that distinction.

From Buzzfeed's legal expert Chris Geidner: