THE Supreme Court wrestled with a clash between religious freedom and LGBT rights on Tuesday as it heard arguments from a Colorado baker who refused to make a cake to celebrate a same-sex couple’s marriage because he believes that God designed marriage to be between a man and a woman.
During arguments that lasted over the 60 minutes allotted, the liberal justices, joined at one point by crucial swing vote Justice Anthony Kennedy, questioned where the line could be drawn should it side with Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips.
As a lawyer for Phillips made his free speech argument on behalf of the baker’s “artistic expression,” Justice Elena Kagan and other liberals pounced, asking where they were supposed to draw a coherent line designating which business owners could qualify to claim an exemption from anti discrimination laws. A jeweler? A makeup artist? A hair stylist?
When Solicitor General Noel Francisco stood to argue in support of Phillips, Kennedy asked him if he prevailed could a baker put a sign in a window saying “we don’t bake cakes” for same-sex weddings.
But Kennedy seemed torn. At another point he said he worried about a “hostility” toward religion. He asked whether the state of Colorado had been “tolerant” of Phillips’ religious beliefs.
The case pits the religious liberty claims of Phillips, against the couple, David Mullins and Charlie Craig, who say Phillips’ actions amount to discrimination.