A majority of the U.S. Supreme Court appeared sympathetic Tuesday with a Christian baker from Colorado who declined to create a custom wedding cake for an LGBT couple.
Several justices expressed concerns about the integrity of civil rights and public accommodations laws, and the Court generally struggled with the proposition that Phillips has a speech interest in his custom cakes. But Justice Anthony Kennedy and the conservative justices expressed concern about government hostility to religious believers, signaling a potential victory for the baker.
The case was occasioned when David Mullins and Charlie Craig, a gay couple, entered Jack Phillips’ Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colo. After a short discussion with the prospective patrons, Phillips said he would not sell them a custom wedding cake due to his deeply-held religious beliefs. Mullins and Craig filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, prompting a lengthy legal battle culminating in an appeal to the high court.
Phillips says he has sold baked goods to LGBT persons in the past, and that he would similarly sell generic baked goods — including cakes — to Mullins and Craig. He refuses, however, to create a custom cake conveying a message respecting their nuptials, and argues the state cannot compel him to create speech with which he disagrees.