Supreme Court Will Decide Whether Bakers Must Serve Same-Sex Couples

Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig

The Supreme Court decided today that it will weigh in on whether a baker must sell a cake to a same-sex couple getting married. 

The Supreme Court granted certiorari in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, in which a baker named Jack Phillips told a same-sex couple — David Mullins and Charlie Craig, pictured above — that he could sell them brownies but not a cake for their wedding. Phillips contends he’s an artist and that the First Amendment protects his business from having to bake a cake for a wedding that he opposes.

(RELATED: Neil Gorsuch Opposed Same-Sex Marriage in Dissertation)

LGBT rights supporters say his refusal amounts to discrimination against same-sex couples, and the Colorado Civil Rights Commission agreed, which is what sent the case all the way to the Supreme Court. A ruling could have far-reaching effects on the myriad of ways LGBT opponents are trying to undermine marriage equality by claiming religious exemptions. Bakers, florists, photographers, and more have claimed their religious beliefs give them the right to deny service.

Court watchers had waited a long time for an announcement on whether the high court would take the case. Phillips, backed by the conservative Alliance Defending Freedom, first appealed to the Supreme Court in July. The justices did not answer until today, which is also the two-year anniversary of the Obergefell ruling that sent marriage equality nationwide. 

The Supreme Court also today shored up the power of its decision in the Obergefell v. Hodges. With a summary ruling in Pavan v. Smith, SCOTUSBlog reports that the justices today required Arkansas to list both parents in a same-sex couple on birth certificates. The state had claiming that birth certificates can list only biological parents. Meanwhile, birth certificates for straight couples list a mother’s male spouse, even if that man is not the biological father.

The ruling was issued without hearing oral arguments. Even Justice John Roberts, who dissented in Obergefell, ruled today against the Arkansas law.

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