Ruth Bader Ginsburg Writes Fiery Dissent In Supreme Court Same-Sex Wedding Cake Case
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a strong dissent as the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 Monday in favor of a Christian baker who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding.
Couple Charlie Craig and Dave Mullins requested a wedding cake from Masterpiece Cakeshop. Owner Jack Phillips refused to fulfill their request—he would not create wedding cakes for same-sex couples.
Mullins and Craig successfully brought their complaint to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. Phillips appealed, but the Colorado Court of Appeals upheld the original decision, and the Colorado Supreme Court would not hear his case. The United States Supreme Court took up the decision last June.
Justice Anthony Kennedy’s narrow ruling for the baker hinged on the argument that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission did not provide neutral or fair consideration of Phillips’ request for religious accommodation. In particular, Kennedy pointed to the fact that the Commission said that religious freedom has been used to justify such atrocities as slavery or the Holocaust. Kennedy also wrote against the Commission’s previous decision allowing bakers to deny requests with anti-gay messages.
Ginsburg agreed with Kennedy’s assertions that same-sex couples should be spared “indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market.” But she deconstructed Kennedy’s reasoning for his ruling.
“When a couple contacts a bakery for a wedding cake, the product they are seeking is a cake celebrating their wedding—not a cake celebrating heterosexual weddings or same-sex weddings—and that is the service Craig and Mullins were denied,” Ginsburg wrote.
The American Civil Liberties Union said in a statement that the majority ruling, which was largely limited to the facts of the case rather than broader constitutional isues, will still uphold “basic principles of nondiscrimination.”
The court’s other two Jewish justices, Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer, sided with the majority.