On June 4, the Supreme Court threw out a ruling that a Colorado baker illegally discriminated against a same-sex couple when he refused to make their wedding cake, and people are seriously upset. Tweets about the Supreme Court's Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling say exactly what many people — especially members of the LGBTQ+ community — are feeling during this time. And they're really not pretty.
On June 4, the Supreme Court sided with the baker, Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop in a 7-2 ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, saying that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had shown animus toward religion when it previously decided that the baker had violated state law when he refused the gay couple service on the basis of his religious beliefs. However, the court didn't address the central free speech issue of whether forcing the baker to make a cake for a LGBTQ+ couple would violate his First Amendment rights, meaning that future cases involving business owners who deny service to LGBTQ-identifying customers could end up back in the court soon enough.
The legal drama all started back in 2012, when couple David Mullins and Charlie Craig visited Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, to have a cake made for their wedding reception. Phillips declined, informing the two that he didn't make cakes that promote same-sex marriage due to his religious beliefs, which prompted the couple to file a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. Unfortunately for Phillips, the commission later found that he had, indeed, violated Colorado law when he refused the couple service due to their sexual orientation, and gave him an ultimatum of either changing his policies or shutting down his business. Phillips appealed the decision on multiple occasions in the Colorado Court of Appeals, to no avail, so he took his pleas to the highest court — which ruled in his favor.
Now, some people are obviously pissed about the court's latest decision, insisting that it's a blow to LGBTQ rights —and took to Twitter to air out their dismay.
Many pointed out that the ruling didn't actually solve anything long-term.
My thoughts exactly, @adgelessness. I can feel the drama brewing already.
On the other hand, some users had mixed feelings about the ruling.
Even Donald Trump Jr. hopped in the debates, though he seemed more concerned with how the ruling was portrayed in the news.
The majority decision was written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, who said the commission hadn't had a neutral stance toward religion when it made its initial ruling against Phillips. He wrote, "The commission’s hostility was inconsistent with the First Amendment’s guarantee that our laws be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion."
Even so, he also added that it was important to affirm the rights of LGBTQ+ Americans. He wrote,
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.
He continued: "At the same time, the religious and philosophical objections to gay marriage are protected views and in some instances protected forms of expression."
His comments probably aren't exactly what many folks wanted to hear, but the good news (at least for some people) is that the couple isn't giving up their fight against Phillips just yet.
“Today’s decision means our fight against discrimination and unfair treatment will continue,” the couple, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), said in a statement, according to Reuters. “We have always believed that in America, you should not be turned away from a business open to the public because of who you are.”
There's no telling what steps they're going to take next, but with such optimism, anything's possible. And perhaps they'll get the outcome they've been seeking over the years in due time.