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Boulder County LGBTQ advocates urge resiliency in wake of SCOTUS' cakeshop ruling

05 June 2018

Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed sued Stutzman in a case that went to the state Supreme Court, where justices ruled that Baronelle Stutzman of Arlene's Flowers in Richland violated the state's anti-discrimination law and the Consumer Protection Act.

Justice Anthony Kennedy-who also wrote the majority opinion in the 2015 Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage-emphasized that "These disputes must be resolved with tolerance, without undue disrespect to honest religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market".

Instead, the court said Phillips was treated unfairly by the civil rights commission, and for this reason alone, he should win his case.

The ruling was authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy, who also authored the 2015 ruling to legalize gay marriage nationwide.

"The outcome of cases like this in other circumstances must await further elaboration in the courts", Justice Kennedy's official ruling read, "These disputes must be resolved with tolerance, without undue disrespect to honest religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market".

There are still concerns that the decision may embolden business owners to refuse services to certain groups of people, even though anti-discrimination laws remain intact.

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The U.S. Supreme Court must still decide whether it will take up the case of a Washington state florist who refused to sell flowers for a same-sex wedding.

The narrow ruling in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case avoided setting a wider precedent that would apply to future "freedom to discriminate" cases.

The justices did not say that store owners like Phillips had a right to an exemption from the state's civil rights law based on their honest religious beliefs.

In July 2012, Mr Mullins and Mr Craig went to Mr Phillips's Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, near Denver, to order a cake for a party to celebrate their planned marriage in MA later that year. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor were the two dissenting voices.

The baker told Today that he also refuses to make Halloween cakes because of his religious beliefs.

Specifically, she pushed back against a key part of the majority's argument by saying there was an important difference between a bakery that refused to make a cake for anyone with anti-LGBTQ language on it and a bakery that refused to make a cake for someone in particular ― which they would have made for others ― because that someone was a member of the LGBTQ community.

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Justice Anthony Kennedy's majority opinion makes it pretty clear that they're punting on the substantive issue, because it keeps referring to future rulings in almost identical cases that might go the other way.

That's good news for those who feared that the court would deal a death blow to nondiscrimination laws by creating a loophole for anyone who characterizes their wish to discriminate as a moral or religious objection.

The dispute began when a gay couple approached a Christian baker in 2012 asking for a cake to celebrate their wedding. In April, government lawyers urged the justices to disregard Trump's prior statements, making the case that displays of animus toward a religious minority are not enough to prove a violation their First Amendment rights.

"What matters is that Phillips would not provide a good or service to a same-sex couple that he would provide to a hetereosexual couple".

"This sentiment is inappropriate for a Commission charged with the solemn responsibility of fair and neutral enforcement of Colorado's anti-discrimination law", wrote Kennedy.

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Boulder County LGBTQ advocates urge resiliency in wake of SCOTUS' cakeshop ruling