Catholic League president Bill Donohue said Monday that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case was a “smashing victory for religious liberty” and a bruising defeat for “gay bullies.”
On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that Colorado baker Jack Phillips could not be coerced into making a cake to celebrate the wedding of a same-sex couple, which runs against his Christian beliefs on the nature of marriage.
The court ruled that Mr. Phillips had been the victim of religious hostility made manifest by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, one of whose members had called Phillips’ Christian beliefs on marriage “despicable.”
“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,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote.
The Court opted not to rule on the broader issue of whether the government can force people of faith to participate in same-sex weddings when the government does not show open hostility to their religious beliefs.
The Masterpiece case goes back to an incident in 2012 when Phillips refused to create a wedding cake to celebrate the marriage of two men in Massachusetts.
“I do not create custom designs that conflict with my conscience,” Phillips said, adding that, for the same reason, he does not make Halloween cakes.
Despite the ruling not going as far as it could have, Mr. Donahue said it represents an important milestone for religious freedom in America.
“Had the ruling gone the other way, black bakers would have to custom design cakes for Klansmen, Jewish bakers would have to inscribe cakes for Nazis, and gay bakers would have to make personalized cakes for gay bashers,” he said.
“This is a landmark victory for both religious liberty and freedom of speech. The bullies lost a big one,” Donahue added. “Those who lecture on bullying should discuss this case in their presentations, but we all know that the ‘tolerant’ ones who run these workshops will not.”
The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights is the largest Catholic civil rights organization in the United States and aims “to safeguard both the religious freedom rights and the free speech rights of Catholics whenever and wherever they are threatened.”
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