Mon, 04 Jun 2018 18:32:55 +0000
4½ years ago, in December 2013, Colorado administrative law judge Robert N. Spencer ordered Jack Phillips of a bakery in suburban Denver to bake a wedding cake for two homosexuals or face fines, even though doing so violates Phillips’ Christian religious beliefs.
The homosexual couple had sued Phillips.
Phillips said he’d rather shut down his business and go to jail than compromise his beliefs.
This morning, the Supreme Court ruled 7:2 in Phillips’ favor.
Reuters reports that the Supreme Court ruled that, in its handling of the claims brought against Jack Phillips, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had demonstrated a hostility to religion and violated the baker’s religious rights under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
According to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, in refusing to bake a wedding cake for “gay” couple David Mullins and Charlie Craig, Phillips violated the Colorado anti-discrimination law barring businesses from refusing service based on race, sex, marital status or sexual orientation.
Phillips was threatened and harassed by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, and was ordered to:
- “Cease and desist” from discriminating against same-sex couples by refusing to sell them wedding cakes or any product Phillips would sell to heterosexual couples.
- Undertake “comprehensive staff training on the Public Accommodations section of the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act”.
- “Change any and all company policies to comply with. this Order”.
- Prepare quarterly compliance reports for a period of two years documenting the number of patrons denied service and why, along with a statement describing the remedial actions taken.
Had Phillips not appealed his case to the Supreme Court, he would be minimally fined and probably prosecuted and jailed for refusing to comply with the misnamed Colorado Civil Rights Commission’s order.
Of the Court’s four liberals, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented, while Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan joined the five conservative justices in the ruling.
According to the ruling:
[The Colorado Civil Rights] Commission’s treatment of Phillips’ case, which showed elements of a clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs motivating his objection. As the record shows, 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. No commissioners objected to the comments. Nor were they mentioned in the later state-court ruling or disavowed in the briefs filed here. The comments thus cast doubt on the fairness and impartiality of the Commission’s adjudication of Phillips’ case.
In the words of Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion:
“The commission’s hostility was inconsistent with the First Amendment’s guarantee that our laws be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion.”
The Supreme Court, however, stopped short of issuing a definitive ruling on the circumstances under which people can seek exemptions from anti-discrimination laws based on their religious views. Justice Kennedy wrote:
“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 resolved 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.”
President Donald Trump’s administration had intervened in the case in support of Jack Phillips.
H/t FOTM‘s MomOfIV
From the AP:
People streamed into Phillips’ cake shop after the ruling came down, embracing him as his phone rang repeatedly with congratulations from people who view him as their champion.
Supporter Ann Sewell, who brought a clutch of congratulatory balloons to the bakery, compared Phillips’ bravery to people opposed to the Vietnam War.
“If you could be a conscientious objector and not fight in a war then you should be able to hold to your convictions in something as simple as this when it is not hurting anyone,” Sewell said. “It might offend someone, but that’s life.”
In November, Phillips headlined a rally at Colorado Christian University, not far from his bakery. Somewhat nervous, he voice rattling as he thanked those attending. At the conclusion of his five-minute address, the crowd swarmed around Phillips, touched him and prayed.