US Supreme Court backs Colorado baker’s gay wedding cake snub

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Conservative Christian baker Jack Phillips talks with journalists in front of the Supreme Court Image copyright AFP
Image caption Conservative Christian baker Jack Phillips cited his religious beliefs in refusing service

The US Supreme Court has ruled in favour of a baker in Colorado who refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple.

The Colorado state court had found that baker Jack Phillips’ decision to turn away David Mullins and Charlie Craig in 2012 was unlawful discrimination.

But the Supreme Court ruled on Monday that that decision violated Mr Phillips’ rights, in a 7-2 vote.

Mr Phillips cited his religious beliefs in refusing service.

The conservative Christian argued “creative artists” have a right to decide what they sell.

The Supreme Court majority opinion wrote that the cake scenario was “an instructive example” of “the application of constitutional freedoms in new contexts”.

Colorado is one of 22 states that include sexual orientation in its anti-discrimination law, which allowed Mr Craig and Mr Mullins to win their case before the state’s Civil Rights Commission.

But the Supreme Court’s verdict ruled that the Colorado commission had been biased against Mr Phillips.

Gay rights groups had feared a ruling against the couple could set a precedent for treating gay marriages differently to heterosexual unions, but the Supreme Court’s verdict instead focuses specifically on Mr Phillips’ case.

The decision does not state that florists, photographers, or other services can now refuse to work with gay couples.

How did the case come around?

In July 2012, Mr Mullins and Mr Craig went to Mr Phillips’s Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, near Denver, to order a cake for a party to celebrate their planned marriage in Massachusetts later that year.

But Mr Phillips refused, saying it was his “standard business practice not to provide cakes for same-sex weddings”.

Instead, he offered them other products, including birthday cakes and biscuits.

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