Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images Protesters rally in front of the Supreme Court building on the day the court is to hear the case Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission Dec. 5, 2017 in Washington, D.C. Charlie Craig and Dave Mullins filed a complaint with the commission after conservative Christian baker Jack Phillips refused to sell them a wedding cake for their same-sex ceremony.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that a Colorado baker had the legal right to refuse to make a wedding cake for a gay couple because of his own religious objections to same-sex marriage.
The landmark 7-2 decision in favor of Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, all but guarantees that business owners now will have a larger legal shield to run their companies in the mold of whatever faith they follow.
But it also sets the stage for new clashes with the civil rights movement, which opposed Phillips’ argument on the grounds it would legally bless corporate discrimination against same-sex couples and give cover to other forms of prejudice based on religion.
The origin of the high-stakes legal battle was Phillips’ refusal in 2012 to design and bake a wedding cake for fiancés Charlie Craig and David Mullins. After the couple was denied, they filed discrimination charges with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which agreed with Craig and Mullins.
The Colorado Court of Appeals did too, but Phillips pressed his cause until the Supreme Court agreed last summer to take the case.
The high court heard arguments on Dec. 5 and much of the attention during the 90-minute debate focused on Justice Anthony Kennedy, the sought-after swing vote in the case.
Kennedy was behind the landmark 2105 decision, Obergefell vs. Hodges, that legalized same-sex marriage but his jurisprudence has shown affinity too for religious freedom.
The case is Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.
This story is developing.