Supreme Court Rules Against Gay Couple in Wedding Cake Case

In a 7 to 2 ruling, the Supreme Court sided with the baker who refused to take an order for a gay wedding cake. From the opinion, available here.

....religious and philosophical objections to gay marriage are protected views and in some instances protected forms of expression.

The Court's ruling seems to be a limited one, turning on the Court's finding the Colorado Civil Rights Commission was prejudiced against the baker. [More...]

“The Civil Rights Commission’s treatment of his case has some elements of a clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs that motivated his objection.”

The New York Times (linked above) says:

The Supreme Court’s decision, which turned on the commission’s asserted hostility to religion, strongly reaffirmed protections for gay rights and left open the possibility that other cases raising similar issues could be decided differently.

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    7 to 2 (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Jun 04, 2018 at 11:34:00 AM EST
    The SC agrees this was  f--cling stupid hill to die on.

    Don;t know (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by KeysDan on Mon Jun 04, 2018 at 01:46:26 PM EST
    if Justice Kennedy will stretch the free exercise clause so as to apply public statements to a ruling on the travel ban, but government officials, from Civil Rights Commissioners to US president, need to be cognizant of impermissible public hostility to determinative effect.

    And, in the Masterpiece Baker case, no other Commissioners objected to the disparagement of the baker's faith (nor was it referred to in appellate briefs). Justice Kennedy did not like the public despicable any more than its characterization as rhetorical (suggesting an attribution of insincerely held belief).  

    Justice Kennedy, also, was concerned that the Commissioner's comments were disparately considered in Masterpiece as compared with other bakers cases who objected  on conscience to decorating a cake with images that conveyed disapproval of gay marriage and gays.

    Justices Kagan and Breyer, in joining and concurring, agree that state actors cannot show hostility to religion, But, a plain reading and neutral application of the CO law , untainted by any bias against religious belief, was adequate to support the Commission's finding. Kennedy, too, gives a road map on how to balance the seeming, if not unnecessary, competing worlds.

    As Kagan and Breyer argue, a vendor can chose the products he sells, but not the customers he serves, no matter the reason. The baker sells wedding cakes, as to that product he unlawfully discriminates.  He sells to opposite, but not same sex couples.  CO could have distinguished this baker from the others who did not discriminate.  This not having a basis infected by religious hostility or bias.

      Gorsuch and Alito's dissent works only if a wedding cake is not a relevant product, a fatal flaw. Thomas, comes close to saying a wedding cake is a temporary sculpture and artistic expression protected by the First Amendment.  It should be recalled that the baker turned the gay couple away before they got to what the cake was to be..store bought, special, or how decorated.  As if it was the sexual orientation of the couple, rather than the cake they and their celebrants, straight and gay, would be eating.

    The decision was "narrow" although Don Jr., disagreed,  since he said it was 7 -2. As if, narrow means the vote. Typical and unsurprising for a Trump. But, it was limited. And, maybe a teaching moment for public officials, commissions and boards (and what one member/president says, may well be attributed to "the Board" or the "President." )  And, Kennedy did refer to the dilemma of the baker, what with it all occurring in 2012, before the CO law on gay marriage, Obergefell or Windsor.

    The Court re-affirmed that a vendor can't escape a public accommodation law because his religion dissaproves selling to a group of customers.

    The silver lining, perhaps, is that the Christians will find a Trumpian-like win, one they will savor and disseminate, as they march against the inevitability of the future.  And, Roseanne's demise will sting less.

     As for overly-enthusiastic governmental boards, probably not best to opine on what you consider a homophobe's homophobia at the hearings.  


    Interestingly (1.00 / 3) (#2)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Jun 04, 2018 at 12:04:29 PM EST

    Apparently decided on religious freedom grounds, rather than compelled speech.

    As a hypothetical, could that baker to refuse to decorate a custom Hitler birthday cake with swastikas and miniature crematoria for a straight person but not a gay person?

    Misrepresentation (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by KeysDan on Mon Jun 04, 2018 at 04:44:46 PM EST
    of the ruling.  You seem, hypothetically,to have gone off the rails.

    Called it!!! LOL!!! (1.00 / 1) (#8)
    by linea on Fri Jun 08, 2018 at 10:07:45 PM EST
    Linea wrote:
    There is considerable discussion of anti-religious bias. Justice Kennedy is incensed by Commissioner Hess's assertion that `freedom of religion used to justify discrimination is a despicable piece of rhetoric' and considers it so hostile and biased to religion that he berates Mr. Yarger:

    `Did the Commission ever disavow or disapprove of that statement? .... Do you disavow or disapprove of that statement? .... Do you now disavow or disapprove of that statement?'

    Justice Alito calls it `disturbing' and points out that the Commissioner would permit a baker to refuse to make a cake for a customer that expresses the `traditional Judeo-Christian opposition to same-sex marriage.'


    Not sure what the basis might be (5.00 / 5) (#66)
    by Peter G on Sun Feb 11, 2018 at 01:07:59 PM EST
    for your opinion, Linea, but in my professional opinion there is not the slightest chance of Masterpiece Cake Shop and its owner prevailing in the U.S. Supreme Court on freedom of religion grounds.

    Others have rated this comment as follows:
    oculus    5
    KeysDan    5
    Boo Radly    5
    Zorba    5
    Towanda    5

    religion is a protected class (none / 0) (#6)
    by thomas rogan on Wed Jun 06, 2018 at 09:54:30 PM EST
    If I am a member of a polytheistic religion and I want several major religious leaders to bless my wedding cake and my marriage, then can I ask a Moslem baker to make a cake with figures of Moses, Solomon, Jesus, and Mohammed on top of the cake?

    It's a free country, as they say. (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by Peter G on Thu Jun 07, 2018 at 08:41:23 AM EST
    You can ask anyone you want any question you want, and you can request any design you want on your cake from any bakery business that offers custom cakes. As the Supreme Court decision makes clear, the baker (or bake shop) may or may not have a right to decline to fill your order, depending on local law and other considerations. Assuming that was a serious question, which I very much doubt.

    I could probably get a Garuda cake from them (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by CaptHowdy on Sat Jun 09, 2018 at 06:45:05 AM EST
    I could tell them it's the mascot of my local sports team.