The high court ruled 7-2 and issued a 59-page ruling Monday that’s critical of the state’s treatment of Lakewood, Colo., bakery shop owner Jack Phillips’ religious objections to same-sex marriage.
A narrow definition of what constitutes a violation of the law indicates that Monday’s decision doesn’t state whether other businesses can also refuse wedding services to same-sex couples.
Business owners who object to gay marriages will now have a larger legal shield with the high court ruling.
The case involved Phillips’ refusal six years ago to design and build a wedding cake for Charlie Craig and David Mullins. They later filed discrimination charges with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which favored their position. A state appeals court agreed before Phillips pressed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In his opinion for the court, Justice Anthony Kennedy directed his objection toward the civil rights commission, saying it was “neither tolerant nor respectful of his [Phillips’] religious beliefs.”
“Some of the commissioners at the Commission’s formal, public hearings endorsed the view that religious beliefs cannot legitimately be carried into the public sphere or commercial domain, disparaged Phillips’ faith as despicable and characterized it as merely rhetorical, and compared his invocation of his sincerely held religious beliefs to defenses of slavery and the Holocaust,” Kennedy wrote.
Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor were the court’s two dissenters.