(WASHINGTON POST) – The Supreme Court on Monday ruled for a Colorado baker who refused to create a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, but it left undecided whether a business owner’s religious beliefs or free speech rights can justify refusing some services to gay people.
Instead, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s 7-to-2 decision focused on what he described as religious bias on the part of Colorado Civil Rights Commission members who ruled against baker Jack Phillips, who owns Masterpiece Cakeshop.
“The neutral and respectful consideration to which Phillips was entitled was compromised here,” Kennedy wrote, adding that the commission’s decision that the baker violated the state’s anti-discrimination law must be set aside.
But Kennedy acknowledged that the decision was more of a start than a conclusion to the court’s consideration of the rights of those with religious objections to same-sex marriage and the rights of gay people, who “cannot be treated as social outcasts or as inferior in dignity and worth.”
Future cases that raise those issues “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,” he wrote.