Planning what's supposed to be one of the happiest days of your life should never be laced with any form of discrimination, and here at Brides, we believe that no couple should be rejected by wedding vendors based on their sexual orientation. However, following in the footsteps of a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, a Washington florist who similarly denied service to same-sex partners could be the next one to have her case reviewed by the nation's highest court.
On Monday, June 4, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, who wouldn't bake a wedding cake for gay couple Charles Craig and David Mullins in 2012 due to his religious beliefs. Craig and Mullins filed a complaint against the cake artist to the Civil Rights Commission in Colorado, which ruled in the couple's favor. But Phillips, who felt the commission's decision violated his freedom of speech, took the case to the Supreme Court.
Ultimately, the Supreme Court sided with Phillips this week, stating that Colorado's Civil Rights Commission should have been more tolerant of Phillip's religious beliefs and that he shouldn't be forced to create a confection for a same-sex wedding. In the narrow 7 to 2 ruling from the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that, "the Colorado Civil Rights Commission’s consideration of this case was inconsistent with the state’s obligation of religious neutrality. The reason and motive for the baker’s refusal were based on his sincere religious beliefs and convictions."
It seems this litigation may have ignited a trend, as Barronelle Stutzman, owner of the Washington-based Arlene's Flowers and Gifts, is waiting to hear whether the Supreme Court will take her case. In a similar turn of events, Stutzman denied wedding florals to same-sex partners Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed—who had been customers of Arlene's Flowers and Gifts for years—citing her religious beliefs as a Southern Baptist.
Both the couple and the state sued, and Washington's Benton County Superior Court agreed in 2015 that refusing the couple business was illegal, which prompted Stutzman to attempt to appeal the decision to the United States Supreme Court. According to NBC News, the Alliance Defending Freedom, the conservative Christian nonprofit that defended Phillips, will also defend Stutzman, if the Supreme Court agrees to hear the case.
The Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission ruling applied specifically to said case, so it's up in the air how the Supreme Court may lean if Stutzman's case lands on their docket. But, it's a good sign that the court is taking each scenario on a case-by-case basis. Hopefully this time around will lead to a more favorable outcome for the LGBTQ community.