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FULL TEXT: Supreme Court ruling on Masterpiece Cakeshop case

Author: Colorado Politics - June 4, 2018 - Updated: June 4, 2018

In this 2017 file photo, the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court gather for an official group portrait to include new Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, top row, far right, at the Supreme Court Building in Washington. Seated, front row, from left are, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, and Associate Justice Stephen Breyer. Back row, standing, from left are, Associate Justice Elena Kagan, Associate Justice Samuel Alito Jr., Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and Gorsuch. Gorsuch became the Supreme Court’s newest member a year ago on April 10, 2017 . President Donald Trump’s pick to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia has now heared more than 60 cases on issues including gerrymandering, union fees, cellphone and data privacy and gambling on sports. He’s written his first Supreme Court opinions but also dealt with his first complaint as a member of the court’s cafeteria committee. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, file)

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday overturned the Colorado Court of Appeals’ ruling in a case involving a Lakewood baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, citing religious objections.

The state appeals court had upheld the Colorado Civil Rights Commission’s action against the baker. The Colorado Supreme Court declined to hear the case.

> RELATED: Supreme Court sides with Colorado baker on same-sex wedding cake

“The Colorado Civil Rights Commission’s consideration of this case was inconsistent with the State’s obligation of religious neutrality,” Justice Anthony Kennedy ruled for the Supreme Court majority.

“The reason and motive for the baker’s refusal were based on his sincere religious beliefs and convictions. The Court’s precedents make clear that the baker, in his capacity as the owner of a business serving the public, might have his right to the free exercise of religion limited by
generally applicable laws. Still, the delicate question of when the free exercise of his religion must yield to an otherwise valid exercise of state power needed to be determined in an adjudication in which religious hostility on the part of the State itself would not be a factor in the
balance the State sought to reach.

“That requirement, however, was not met here,” Kennedy continued. “When the Colorado Civil  Rights Commission considered this case, it did not do so with the religious neutrality that the Constitution requires.

“Given all these considerations, it is proper to hold that whatever the outcome of some future controversy involving facts similar to these, the Commission’s actions here  violated the Free Exercise Clause; and its order must be set aside.”

Elsewhere, Kennedy notes that “Our society has come to the recognition that gay persons and gay couples cannot be treated as social outcasts or as inferior in dignity and worth. For that reason the laws and the Constitution can, and in some instances must, protect them in the exercise of their civil rights. The exercise of their freedom on terms equal to others must be given great weight and respect by the courts.

“At the same time,” he added, “the religious and philosophical objections to gay marriage are protected views and in some instances protected forms of expression.”

> CLICK HERE to download the full court ruling.


Colorado Politics

Colorado Politics

Colorado Politics, formerly The Colorado Statesman, is the state's premier political news publication, renowned for its award-winning journalism. The publication is also the oldest political news outlet in the state, in continuous publication since 1898. Colorado Politics covers the stories behind the stories in Colorado's state Capitol and across the Centennial State, focusing on politics, public policy and elections with in-depth reporting on the people behind the campaigns — from grassroots supporters to campaign managers and the candidates and issues themselves.