SCOTUS ruling on same-sex wedding cake case ‘appalling,’ Mayor Durkan says
The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of a baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple generated a strong reaction from Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan.
Supreme Court justices issued a limited ruling that says the Colorado Civil Rights Commission violated Jack Phillips’ rights under the First Amendment when it concluded the baker’s refusal violated state law. The commission, the Supreme Court ruled, was not “neutral toward religion” when it ruled against Phillips.
Shortly after the ruling, Mayor Durkan issued this statement on Twitter:
“Appalling and unjust – a jarring reminder how easily ‘rights’ are denied by wrongly using a veil of faith to disguise hate.
We must never stop organizing. We must live our lives with pride. We must all link arms to stand for justice and equality.”
Former state Attorney General Rob McKenna says courts must apply anti-discrimination laws fairly — Colorado and Washington state laws protect same-sex couples. At the same time, religious and philosophical objections to gay marriage are protected views.
The court’s 7-2 ruling in favor of Phillips shows his views weren’t protected. But that’s about as far as the ruling goes. The larger issue of refusing service to the gay couple must “await further elaboration” in the courts.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented the couple in its legal fight, said it was pleased the court did not endorse a broad religion-based exemption from anti-discrimination laws.
“The court reversed the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision based on concerns unique to the case but reaffirmed its longstanding rule that states can prevent the harms of discrimination in the marketplace, including against LGBT people,” said Louise Melling, the ACLU’s deputy legal director.
There are several similar disputes across the country, including a pending appeal by a Richland-based florist.
Last year, Barronelle Stutzman filed a petition asking justices to review a state Supreme Court ruling that said she violated Washington’s anti-discrimination law and Consumer Protection act when she declined to cater to a same-sex wedding. That case has not been heard in the U.S. Supreme Court. Justices could make a decision on that appeal by the end of June.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.