Supreme Court Sides With Baker Who Wouldn't Make Same-Sex Wedding Cake - NBC Southern California

Supreme Court Sides With Baker Who Wouldn't Make Same-Sex Wedding Cake

Appeals in similar cases are pending, including one at the Supreme Court from a florist who didn't want to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Supreme Court Rules for Baker in Wedding Cake Case

    The Supreme Court ruled narrowly Monday for a Colorado baker who wouldn't make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. Jummy Olabanji reports.

    (Published Monday, June 4, 2018)

    The Supreme Court ruled Monday for a Colorado baker who wouldn't make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple in a limited decision that leaves for another day the larger issue of whether a business can invoke religious objections to refuse service to gay and lesbian people.

    The justices' decision turned on what the court described as anti-religious bias on the Colorado Civil Rights Commission when it ruled against baker Jack Phillips. The justices voted 7-2 that the commission violated Phillips' rights under the First Amendment.

    Justice Anthony Kennedy said in his majority opinion that the larger issue "must await further elaboration" in the courts. Appeals in similar cases are pending, including one at the Supreme Court from a florist who didn't want to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding.

    The disputes, Kennedy wrote, "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."

    Footage From 1992 Shows Trump, Epstein at Party

    [NATL] Footage From 1992 Shows Trump, Epstein at Party

    NBC released footage in its archives from 1992 of Donald Trump and Jeffrey Epstein at a party at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. The video shows them laughing and pointing as they appear to talk about women at the event, NBC News reported. Trump has said he knew Epstein, but “was not a fan” and they have not spoken in 15 years.

    (Published Wednesday, July 17, 2019)

    The same-sex couple at the heart of the case, Charlie Craig and Dave Mullins, complained to the Colorado commission in 2012 after they visited Phillips' Masterpiece Cakeshop in suburban Denver and the baker quickly told them he would not create a cake for their wedding celebration.

    Colorado law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and the commission concluded that Phillips' refusal violated the law, despite Phillips' argument that he is opposed to same-sex marriage on religious grounds. Colorado state courts upheld the determination.

    But when the justices heard arguments in December, Kennedy was plainly bothered by comments by a commission member that the justice said disparaged religion. The commissioner seemed "neither tolerant nor respectful of Mr. Phillips' religious beliefs," Kennedy said in December.

    That same sentiment suffused his opinion on Monday. "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," he wrote.

    Liberal justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan joined the conservative justices in the outcome. Kagan wrote separately to emphasize the limited ruling.

    Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented.

    Congress Condemns Trump's 'Go Back' Comments

    [NATL] Congress Condemns Trump's 'Go Back' Comments
    The House of Representatives has passed a resolution that formally condemns President Donald Trump’s so-called racist comments about four Democratic congresswomen of color.
     
    (Published Wednesday, July 17, 2019)

    In a statement issued after the ruling Monday, Phillips' Supreme Court lawyer praised the decision.

    "Government hostility toward people of faith has no place in our society, yet the state of Colorado was openly antagonistic toward Jack's religious beliefs about marriage. The court was right to condemn that," said Kristen Waggoner, the Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel who argued Phillips' case.

    Waggoner said Phillips is willing to sell ready-made products to anyone who enters his store. But, "he simply declines to express messages or celebrate events that violate his deeply held beliefs," she said.

    Phillips was at his shop Monday morning, where he was busy answering the phone and getting congratulations from his supporters in person, including his pastor. One woman brought him a bouquet of flowers and others hugged him.

    The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented the couple in its legal fight, said it was pleased the court did not endorse a broad religion-based exemption from anti-discrimination laws.

    "The court reversed the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision based on concerns unique to the case but reaffirmed its longstanding rule that states can prevent the harms of discrimination in the marketplace, including against LGBT people." said Louise Melling, the ACLU's deputy legal director.

    Sparks Fly Between Sen. Warren, Mark Esper Over Ties to Defense Contractor at Confirmation Hearing

    [NATL] Sparks Fly Between Sen. Warren, Mark Esper Over Ties to Defense Contractor at Confirmation Hearing

    During a confirmation hearing for Acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Senator Elizabeth Warren said because of his ties to lobbying for defense contractor Raytheon and refusal to recuse himself, he is not fit to be Secretary of Defense.

    (Published Tuesday, July 16, 2019)

    Several legal disputes are pending over wedding services, similar to the Phillips case. Video producers, graphic artists and florists are among business owners who say they oppose same-sex marriage on religious grounds and don't want to participate in same-sex weddings.

    Barronelle Stutzman, a florist in Richland, Washington, has appealed a state Supreme Court ruling that found she violated state law for refusing to provide the wedding flowers for two men who were about to be married.

    The justices could decide what to do with that appeal by the end of June.

    Associated Press writer P. Solomon Banda also contributed to this report.