After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple, reactions from both sides were swift.
The evangelical community declared the 7-2 decision a win for religious freedom, while the LGBTQ community said the decision allows for future discrimination.
“Though freedom of religion is an American value, discrimination is not,” said GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis in a statement. “While this decision does not change existing civil rights protections, it leaves the door wide open for religious exemptions to be used against LGBTQ people.”
Christian evangelist Franklin Graham celebrated the decision on Twitter, calling it a “huge win for religious freedom!”
The American Civil Liberties Union said in a statement that the ruling is “unique to the case but reaffirmed [the Supreme Court’s] longstanding rule that states can prevent the harms of discrimination in the marketplace.”
The opinion, by Justice Anthony Kennedy, said that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission showed hostility toward religion in finding that the baker, Jack Phillips, violated the state’s anti-discrimination laws. Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented.
The case did not resolve whether exceptions for religious views are permissible in state anti-discrimination laws.
“The success of America’s society and economy depend on us upholding the social contract of mutual accountability and respect, yet the Supreme Court has now given a path toward state-sanctioned license to discriminate in this country,” National LGBT Chamber of Commerce president Justin Nelson said in a statement.
Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission president Russell Moore tweeted his support of the Supreme Court’s decision.
The Supreme Court is right: the state should not compel people to use their artistic gifts for speech that goes against their deepest-held convictions.
— Russell Moore (@drmoore) June 4, 2018
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz also applauded the verdict on Twitter, saying the court upheld the baker’s “right to live according to his faith.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions released a statement agreeing with the Supreme Court’s decision.
“In this case and others, the Department of Justice will continue to vigorously defend the free speech and religious freedom First Amendment rights of all Americans,” he said.
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