Same-sex marriage may technically be legal in the United States, but the fight for LGBTQ rights is far from over. For the past five years, Colorado couple David Mullins and Charlie Craig have been battling a baker who refused to make a cake for their wedding on the grounds that he doesn’t support same-sex marriage. The “gay wedding cake” case made it all the way to the Supreme Court, and today, June 4th, SCOTUS finally weighed in on the matter, ruling in favor of the baker.
In a 7-2 decision, the Supreme Court’s ruling on the baker stated that Jack Phillips of the Denver-based Masterpiece Cakeshop could not be required to make a cake for Mullins and Craig’s wedding. Phillips has claimed that since he considers his cakes works of art, requiring him to bake one for a wedding that goes against his religious beliefs would be a violation of freedom of speech. According to NBC, Phillips also refuses to make cakes that contain alcohol or are Halloween-themed.
In the end, SCOTUS ruled that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission violated Phillips’s religious rights when it previously ruled that Phillips had violated state anti-discrimination laws.
Justice Anthony Kennedy (who also penned SCOTUS’s decision on same-sex marriage) wrote that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which represented the couple, had been openly hostile to Phillips. But he stressed that LGBTQ individuals’ personal liberties must still be upheld, and that similar cases in the future could be decided differently (aka this ruling should not be considered a precedent for future rulings).
Even though this ruling feels like a huge setback for civil rights, Louise Melling, the deputy legal director of the ACLU, also emphasized that it might not apply to other scenarios.
This SCOTUS baker ruling is disheartening, but we’re crossing our fingers that future cases will be decided differently. Everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, deserves protection under the law.