Christians, religious freedom advocates, and free speech proponents praised a landmark Supreme Court decision Monday ruling in favor of a business owner who didn’t want him and other people of faith forced to violate their beliefs.
Colorado baker Jack Phillips made national news when he informed a same-sex couple that he couldn’t customize a cake for their wedding because it would go against his Christian beliefs to support their marriage, according to NPR.
"I don't believe that Jesus would have made a cake if he had been a baker. I'm not judging these two gay men. I'm just trying to preserve my right as an artist to decide which artistic endeavors I'm going to do and which ones I'm not," Phillips explained during an appearance on “The View” last year.
The gay couple filed a complaint with the state, and after the Colorado Supreme Court ruled in their favor, Phillips appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The baker argued from a free speech angle as well as a religious freedom angle, knowing that other artists like himself would not want to be forced to create an artwork that went against their beliefs, according to the National Review.
In the past six years, during these legal proceedings, Phillips has also received numerous death threats and repeated attacks to the reputation of his business, Masterpiece Cakeshop. But he knew that a victory for him would be a victory for all business owners of faith.
Then on Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with him in a 7-2 vote. Only Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented.
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that while Colorado law "can protect gay persons in acquiring products and services on the same terms and conditions that are offered to other members of the public, the law must be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion."
He added, "The outcome of cases like this in other circumstances must await further elaboration in the courts, all in the context of recognizing that these disputes must be resolved with tolerance, without undue respect to sincere religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market.
Evangelist Franklin Graham praised the decision on Facebook, writing, “We thank God for answered prayer! Today the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Jack Phillips, the Colorado baker who refused to create a wedding cake for a same-sex marriage ceremony. This is a huge win for religious freedom!”
First Baptist Church of Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress, a President Trump spiritual adviser, expressed his elation on Twitter, writing, “Today #SCOTUS guaranteed reelection of Pres. @realDonaldTrump by protecting religious right of baker to not participate in a gay wedding. @POTUS promised to protect religious liberty. This is the most consequential ex. of ‘promise made, promise kept.’ Thank you, President Trump!”