(National Sentinel) First Amendment: A majority of Supreme Court justices on Tuesday appeared to sympathize with a Christian baker from Colorado who was sued by a gay couple after he refused to bake them a wedding cake, citing his religious beliefs.
The case arose after a gay couple, David Mullins and Charlie Craig, went into Jack Phillips’ Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colo., The Daily Signal reported.
Following a short discussion with the prospective customers, Phillips said he could not sell them a customized wedding cake due to his deeply-held Christian beliefs that only men and women should marry.
The couple then filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which then resulted in a lengthy court battle that has reached the nation’s highest legal jurisdiction.
During testimony, the justices seemed to struggle with Phillips’ claims that he has a speech issue regarding his cakes. However, Justice Anthony Kennedy and the court’s conservative justices were concerned about government hostility towards religious beliefs, which was an indication that the case could go Phillips’ way.
In commenting on the case, Kennedy noted that “tolerance is most meaningful when it is mutual,” suggesting that the state civil rights commission was not as tolerant of Phillips’ religious views as it was the perception of a rights violation by Craig and Mullins.
At one point, he asked Colorado Solicitor General Frederick Yarger to disavow statements made by commissioners during the case which suggest hostility to orthodox religion.
The commissioner said that in the past, religion has been used to justify slavery and the Holocaust.
“[R]eligion has been used to justify all kinds of discrimination throughout history, whether it be slavery, whether it be the holocaust,” an unnamed commissioner said. “We can list hundreds of situations where freedom of religion has been used to justify discrimination. And to me it is one of the most despicable pieces of rhetoric that people can use.”
At that, Justice Samuel Alito pointed out that the Colorado commission appeared to apply a double standard to Phillips. He said that in 2014 the commission found that a Denver-area backer that refused to create cakes promoting traditional marriage did not discriminate against a customer’s Christian beliefs.
Alito said that showed the commission was not fairly and equitably applying the state’s anti-discrimination law.
“As such, it appears possible that the Court will side with Phillips given the Commission’s alleged failure to enforce CADA fairly, while avoiding a sweeping decision about the rights of religious dissenters,” The Daily Caller noted.
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