This is going to get interesting.
The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling Monday that many are reading as a defense of religious freedom. The court issued an opinion protecting the rights of a baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex wedding. The ruling, though, is to be narrowly interpreted, and only applies to this one specific case.
The ruling, NBC points out, gives “no hint as to how the court might decide future cases involving florists, bakers, photographers and other business owners who have cited religious and free-speech objections when refusing to serve gay and lesbian customers in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2015 same-sex marriage decision.”
The ruling came down 7-2. The majority opinion, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, noted that “Colorado had shown a hostility to the baker’s religious views.” Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg both dissented Monday. Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan voted with their more conservative colleagues.
“These disputes must be resolved with tolerance,” Kennedy wrote, “without undue disrespect to sincere religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market.”
Just how such resolutions are to be determined, however, seems less clear. What constitutes “undue disrespect,” or “indignities?”
The defendant in the case, Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cake in Denver, sees this as a clear vindication. The ruling today serves to “declare to the world that my faith is not a scarlet letter.” He sees his business is an extension of his faith. He won’t make cakes that contain alcohol. He won’t make cakes for Halloween.
When David Mullins and Charlie Craig asked him to make a cake for them in 2012, Phillips declined. “I’m sorry, guys,” he remembers saying. “I can’t do that.”
Mullins said there was…