Christian baker Jack Phillips, who refused to make a wedding cake for same-sex couple David Mullins and Charlie Craig, says a Colorado anti-discrimination law violated his religious freedom expression. Mullins and Craig say they were ‘mortified’ when their wedding cake request was denied. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION)
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday appeared closely divided with likely pivotal vote Justice Anthony Kennedy posing tough questions about a Christian baker’s refusal to make a wedding cake for a gay couple but also questioning whether a Colorado civil rights commission that ruled on the issue was unduly biased against religion.
The nine justices heard arguments in the major case on whether certain businesses can refuse service to gay couples if they oppose same-sex marriage on religious grounds.
The case concerns an appeal brought by Jack Phillips, a baker who runs Masterpiece Cakeshop in the Denver suburb of Lakewood, of a state court ruling that his refusal violated a Colorado anti-discrimination law.
Kennedy, a conservative who sometimes sides with the court’s four liberals in major cases, raised concerns about issuing a ruling siding with the baker that would give a green light to discrimination against gay people.
He mentioned the possibility of a baker putting a sign in his window saying he would not make cakes for gay weddings and wondering if that would be “an affront to the gay community.”
But citing comments made by a commissioner on the state civil rights panel that ruled against the baker, Kennedy said there was evidence of “hostility to religion” and questioned whether that panel’s decision could be allowed to stand.
In one of the biggest cases of the conservative-majority court’s nine-month term, the justices must decide whether the baker’s action was constitutionally protected, meaning he can avoid punishment under the Colorado law.
Phillips, represented by the conservative Christian advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom, contends that law violated his rights to freedom of speech and free exercise of religion under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment. The Supreme Court arguments focused on…