Jack Phillips, the Christian baker who declined to create a wedding cake for a same-sex marriage, has today won his case at the US Supreme Court.
In a 7-2 ruling the judges decided Phillips had faced “clear and impermissible hostility” for his religious beliefs from the state of Colorado – but stopped short of making a more widely applicable judgment.
Religious liberty organisation Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which has been supporting Phillips, welcomed the decision saying the court had protected his “ability to live and work consistent with his beliefs”.
Message, not the customer
Back in 2012, Jack Phillips politely turned down the request at his Masterpiece Cakeshop and was sued by the two men involved.
Tolerance, after all, is a two-way street.
The baker lost his initial hearing in 2013 when a court found that he had violated the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act.
ADF Senior Counsel Jeremy Tedesco said Phillips had happily served all people but did not agree with the message of a same-sex marriage cake.
On Monday, the Supreme Court judges ruled that Colorado’s treatment of Phillips had violated its duty under the First Amendment.
However, they did not rule on florists, photographers or others taking similar actions.
Justice Anthony Kennedy said that issue “must await further elaboration”.
Speaking after the ruling, ADF’s Senior Counsel Kristen Waggoner said: “All creative professionals should be free to create expression consistent with their convictions and without the threat of government punishment.
“The Supreme Court made the right decision to protect Jack’s ability to live and work consistent with his beliefs, because everyone has that freedom.
“Tolerance, after all, is a two-way street. Likewise, religious freedom is for everyone, because it’s the linchpin of civil liberties and ensures that we can all expect the government to treat all of its citizens without hostility.”