On Monday, the Supreme Court sided 7–2 with a Christian baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple in 2012.
Jack Phillips, the cake shop owner, argued that he was protected by two clauses under the Constitution — free speech and free exercise. Decorating cakes, Phillips said, was a form of art and producing a design for the couple went against his sincere religious beliefs.
But David Mullins and Charlie Craig, the couple who wanted the cake, said Phillips’ refusal violated Colorado’s anti-discrimination laws and filed a complaint against the bakery. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission, along with the Colorado Court of Appeals, found that Phillips had violated the state’s anti-discrimination laws. Phillips appealed the decision and petitioned the Supreme Court to take the case on.
In the Court’s decision, the Justices found that while handling the claims against the cake shop, the Commission had shown “hostility” towards the baker’s religious beliefs and in doing so, violated his religious rights under the First Amendment.
The court, however, did not answer the larger question on whether businesses can use religious views to exempt themselves from anti-discrimination laws - a question that is likely to reappear in front of the highest court soon with at least one similar case pending.
It’s a narrow win for Phillips, in what has been one of the closest-watched cases of the term.
Illustration by Genevieve Lacroix
Motion by Alexander Stockton and Kris Cave
This segment originally aired June 4, 2018 on VICE News Tonight on HBO.