BOSTON – Earlier today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an historic ruling, striking down the State of Colorado’s decision against Jack Phillips. Though Jack served all customers, the State of Colorado punished Jack for declining to participate in a same-sex “wedding.” MFI filed a brief with the Supreme Court in this case. You can read that brief here.
The following is a statement from Massachusetts Family Institute (MFI) President Andrew Beckwith:
“Today’s decision is a 7-2 win for religious freedom for people of all faiths, affirming that they don’t have to leave their sincerely held beliefs at the workplace door. The Court said that the government was wrong to punish Jack Phillips, the baker who declined to create a custom cake for a same-sex ‘wedding,’ for living out his religious beliefs about marriage. In fact, today’s decision found that the state demonstrated ‘impermissible hostility toward [his] sincere religious beliefs.’ Like all laws, anti-discrimination statutes ‘must be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion.’
This is good news for all people of faith, especially the millions who believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. The Court said today that ‘religious and philosophical objections to gay marriage are protected views.’ Disagreement isn’t disdain, and a Biblical worldview isn’t bigotry. In fact, the discrimination the Court ruled against today was state-based discrimination against a person of faith for his religious beliefs.
Although this decision did not ultimately decide whose rights will prevail in contests between the First Amendment and sexually oriented non-discrimination laws, the Court ruled that these disputes have to be adjudicated fairly. In short, people of faith must get their day in court.”
More About the Decision
Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, served all customers including his LGBT neighbors. Jack was before the U.S. Supreme Court simply because he did not want to create a custom cake celebrating a same-sex “wedding.”
The U.S. Supreme Court found that the Colorado Human Rights Commission treated Jack with incredible hostility. As Justice Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion:
“[The] Commission’s treatment of Phillips’ case … showed elements of a clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs motivating his objection. As the record shows, some of the commissioners at the Commission’s formal, public hearings endorsed the view that religious beliefs cannot legitimately be carried into the public sphere or commercial domain, disparaged Phillips’ faith as despicable and characterized it as merely rhetorical, and comparedhis invocation of his sincerely held religious beliefs to defenses of slavery and the Holocaust.”
Thankfully, the U.S. Supreme Court found this hostility unconstitutional in its 7-2 ruling. While the decision was made on narrow grounds, it sets the tone for future cases on this issue.
As Jack himself said this afternoon, ”Today’s decision makes clear that tolerance is a two-way street. If we want to have freedom for ourselves, we have to extend it to others with whom we disagree about important issues like the meaning of marriage.”
It’s clear that this is not the final word in the effort to protect religious freedom. For Massachusetts Family Institute, there is still much work to ensure that Christians and all people of faith cannot be discriminated against because of our sincerely held religious beliefs.
Massachusetts Family Institute is a non-profit research, education and public policy organization dedicated to strengthening the institution of the family and affirming the Judeo-Christian values upon which the family is based.