Skip to comments.SCOTUS Same-Sex Wedding Cake Ruling: What About Other Cases on Christian Dissent to Gay Marriage?
Posted on 06/04/2018 2:18:38 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
Although the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of Colorado Christian baker Jack Phillips, the court did not definitively rule whether baking a cake for a same-sex wedding constitutes speech and still leaves questions about how other cases involving Christian business owners and same-sex weddings will play out, lawyers say.
The nation's high court ruled 7-2 on Monday in favor of the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, who faced backlash from the Colorado government after he refused to bake a cake for a gay wedding in 2012.
Although Phillips' six-year legal battle has seemingly come to an end, there are other Christian business owners throughout the country who are still in the middle of their own legal battles and still seeking relief after being punished for refusing to service same-sex weddings.
Even though the court ruled in favor of Phillips, it did so on the grounds that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission's treatment of Phillips was so overtly hostile towards his religious viewpoint and did not act in a neutral manner when it weighed his case.
Alliance Defending Freedom Attorney Kristen Waggoner, who defended Phillips in the case, admitted in a call with reporters on Monday that the court's decision didn't necessarily speak to the overlying issue at hand.
"The court said that the [government's] hostility was so open and obvious ... that [the court] didn't need to reach the issues related to whether Jack's cakes are speech and how that would play out," Waggoner said, adding that the court left such questions "open for another day."
"I think it leaves the question of how the courts will balance those [other cases] still in debate," Waggoner added. "There are a number of cases being litigated in the courts of appeal dealing with this very issue videographers, filmmakers, hand painters and calligraphers. Those cases are in courts of appeal right now. We expect the court will eventually have the grapple with those issues but the hostility was just so overt here that it didn't need to reach it to rule on Jack's behalf."
The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented gay couple turned down by Phillips, asserted in a statement that court's decision was based on "concerns unique to the case."
ACLU Deputy Legal Director Louise Melling argued that the court actually "reaffirmed its longstanding rule that states can prevent the harms of discrimination in the marketplace, including against LGBT people."
"Today's decision means our fight against discrimination and unfair treatment will continue," Charlie Craig and Dave Mullins, the gay couple turned down by Phillips in 2012, said in a joint statement. "We have always believed that in America, you should not be turned away from a business open to the public because of who you are."
On the press call, Waggoner discussed how the court's decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission could impact other cases that are pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals.
Specifically, she addressed the case of Christian grandma florist Barronelle Stutzman, who appealed to the Supreme Court last year as she faces crippling fines from the state of Washington for refusing to provide floral arrangements to a gay wedding of one of her longtime customers.
"It is always difficult to predict what the court will do but one possibility is that it would send [Stutzman's case] back down to the Washington Supreme Court to re-examine its decision in light of Jack Phillips' case," Waggoner said.
Waggoner said that there is also evidence to argue that there was similar government hostility present in Stutzman's case, noting that the Washington state attorney general took unprecedented action when he bypassed the state human rights commission and directly filed case against Stutzman.
Because of the attorney general's prosecution, Stutzman could lose all her personal assets.
Lawyers for Aaron and Melissa Klein, who closed down their bakery in Oregon after being fined over $135,000 by the state for refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding in 2013, are optimistic about their clients' chances going forward.
The Kleins' case was appealed to the Supreme Court of Oregon in March after the couple suffered a loss at the state court of appeals in December.
"The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) decision against the Kleins was tainted by the same anti-religious bias that caused the U.S. Supreme Court to rule for Masterpiece Cakeshop on Free Exercise grounds," Adam Gustafson of Boyden Gray & Associates said in a statement. "This anti-religious bias is evident in Commissioner [Brad] Avakian's Facebook post about the Kleins' religious beliefs, the commissioner's decision to award damages for Aaron Klein's quotation of Scripture, and the outrageous magnitude of the $135,000 damage award."
Waggoner told reporters that the court's decision in Phillips' case is consistent with its other rulings pertaining to religious freedom, including its ruling last year in the Trinity Lutheran case.
"Certainly this case will affect a number of cases for years to come in free exercise jurisprudence," Waggoner said. "That is how the court's decisions work. Again, in other recent decisions like our Trinity Lutheran decision that we won last year, that court is constantly telling the government that you cannot treat people of faith differently than others in the marketplace. You cannot express hostility towards them just because the government disagrees with their viewpoints. This decision today affirms that again."
In an op-ed published by USA Today, Phillips expressed joy with the court's decision.
"Now that the decision has arrived, I can see the sun once again," Phillips wrote. "The Supreme Court affirmed that the government must respect my religious beliefs about marriage. It welcomed me back from the outskirts where the state had pushed me. At least for the moment, it has brought an end to my storm."
The court's decision Monday has spurred reactions from a number of prominent religious conservatives.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, stated that the court's ruling is a "victory" for "our nation's long cherished freedom of following one's deeply held beliefs without fear of government punishment."
"The Supreme Court made clear that the government has no authority to discriminate against Jack Phillips because of his religious beliefs," Perkins stated. "Misguided government officials singled out Jack's religious beliefs for discriminatory treatment but that isn't freedom, it's tyranny."
Robert Jeffress, the pastor at First Baptist Dallas and a prominent evangelical supporter of President Donald Trump, issued a bold statement when claimed that Monday's decision essentially guaranteed Trump re-election in 2020.
"Today #SCOTUS guaranteed reelection of Pres. @realDonaldTrump by protecting religious right of baker to not participate in a gay wedding," Jeffress tweeted. "@POTUS promised to protect religious liberty. This is the most consequential [example] of 'promise made, promise kept.'"
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who issued a wide-ranging guidance on religious liberty last year, also praised the ruling in a statement. Last year, the Justice Department submitted a brief to the court in favor of Phillips.
"We are pleased with today's Supreme Court decision," Sessions stated. "The First Amendment prohibits governments from discriminating against citizens on the basis of religious beliefs. The Supreme Court rightly concluded that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission failed to show tolerance and respect for Mr. Phillips' religious beliefs."
There's a lot to be said for decisions that are narrowly limited to the point at hand. Just because our Congress is no longer responsible, taking up the mantle and legislating clearly, doesn't mean we should be leaning on the SCOTUS to do our legislating. Besides, it was the baker himself who argued for a narrower construction (see Page 10).
"[..]there are no doubt innumerable goods and services that no one could argue implicate the First Amendment. Petitioners conceded, moreover, that if a baker refused to sell any goods or any cakes for gay weddings, that would be a different matter and the State would have a strong case under this Courts precedents that this would be a denial of goods and services that went beyond any protected rights of a baker who offers goods and services to the general public and is subject to a neutrally applied and generally applicable public accommodations law.
They conceded that they had to make cakes for gay weddings. It was only the issue of artistic skills and expressive statement (1st Amendment) they fought:
For those who say this is a great victory,. I say it's more like catching an opponent moving a pawn illegally. Sure, it stops their move in this case, but it's no great victory in the game itself.
The decision has verbiage like the following (page 9):
"[t]he First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths. Id., at ___ (slip op., at 27). Nevertheless, while those religious and philosophical objections are protected, it is a general rule that such objections do not allow business owners and other actors in the economy and in society to deny protected persons equal access to goods and services under a neutral and generally applicable public accommodations law."
That's far from a rebuke of the general principle of public accommodations law and its ability to infringe (my word) on religious liberty. And this language wasn't from a dissenter!
How about Page 12:
"And any decision in favor of the baker would have to be sufficiently constrained, lest all purveyors of goods and services who object to gay marriages for moral and religious reasons in effect be allowed to put up signs saying no goods or services will be sold if they will be used for gay marriages, something that would impose a serious stigma on gay persons."
It’s an inverse effect: the narrower the scope, the larger a majority vote is likely.
The broader the scope, the more split a vote is likely to be.
This is why Trump needs to replace a whole gob of judges, not the least those on the USSC, with Constitutional conservatives.
A ruling that had limited application was the best that we could hope for. If Kennedy retires, we should be able to win a more broad ruling in the future. Even better if RBG joins McCain.
Chief Justice Roberts is not on our team.
He may come down on our side, but ten he seems to be inclined to find ways to minimize it if he does.
Of course his Obamacare decision was just abhorrent.
This applies to his particular treatment by the state. Not whether others can refuse to bake a gay cake.
Let a Moslem bakery be the next test case.
But, they will pick on another Christian innocent. That’s the way evil works.
A chip is just that, a little piece, sometimes imperceptible to the eye, until the sculptor has a finished work.
Correcting what Satan has done of decades will take little pieces over a long time.
John Roberts has no honor. He is owned and serves his massahs when they command.
A thought experiment....
If said Christian (whatever) is compelled to provide said services for sodomites.... can t they just raise their prices to rates that the buyers are unwilling to spend?
Wedding cake is (guessing) $200. And when it is for Adam & Steve, add a faggotry surcharge of $200.
Then tithe/donate the surcharge to an organization of their choice
I want the SCOTUS to take on a case where a Halal butcher refuses to cater a gay wedding.
Might as well get at ALL on the table, out in the open.
I can’t deny it sure looks that way.
It’s quite discomforting too.
“should not be turned away from a business open to the public because of who you are”
However, the commies at the ACLU seem to think you should be turned away from engaging in public commerce because of who you are.
He seems to be a full time member of the gaystapo.
Not surprising. SCOTUS goes for the low hanging fruit and kicks the can down the road on the tough decisions whenever possible. Hopefully when they are forced to deal with the core issue there will be one or two more Trump appointees on the bench.
I’m not sure of that, but I will say this “narrow” decision he’s talking about, should not have been one.
It should have been the case that ended the idea the Right can’t have any moral stands on issues involving homosexuals.
In what Universe does a fudgepacker force a straight to support their behavior
Noting that I am not expert concerning this issue, as a side note to the question of a cake possibly being an expression of speech, please consider the following info.
Find one and then file suit.
Roberts didnt write the opinion, Kennedy did. Kennedy limited the opinion and he did so purposefully, because he is a sodomite loving piece of garbage.
Roberts voted against redefining marriage. Im certain that Kennedy was the problem here. If Kennedy leaves and is replaced with another Gorsuch, we can win a broad victory then.
I like the faggotry surcharge idea. Also who says the cake has to be made from what regular cakes are made from? Have a “special” faggot cake. Maybe mix in a little fecal matter, since they may actually be accustomed to that taste. Maybe ice it with semen. They certainly couldn’t complain about that. Fight the lunacy with lunacy.
They found the narrowest possible ground on which to make their ruling.
Good analysis by Glenn Beck:
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