The United States Supreme Court today ruled in favor of the Colorado bakeshop which refused to create a wedding cake for a gay couple’s wedding. The majority opinion, by Justice Kennedy, attempts to afford the same type of protections for free exercise as those in place to protect civil rights: “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. . . . At the same time, the religious and philosophical objections to gay marriage are protected views and in some instances protected forms of expression.”
In his concurring opinion, Justice Gorsuch, too, emphasized that “as it is the ‘proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence’ that we protect speech that we hate, it must be the proudest boast of our free exercise jurisprudence that we protect religious beliefs that we find offensive.”
But the Court fell short of answering the question of whether the same would apply if Colorado had acted more evenhandedly. The discussion is not yet over.
The Court’s full decision can be downloaded here.