"US Supreme Court West Facade" by Matt Wade / CC BY-SA 3.0

The Supreme Court Considers Giving Conservative Christians a License to Discriminate…Again

Apr 11, 2019

By Jessica Mason Pieklo

It’s fair to say last summer’s decision inMasterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission turned out to be kind of a dud, and certainly not the win conservative evangelicals had hoped it would be.

The case involved a challenge by Jack Phillips, a Colorado baker who had challenged the state’s public accommodation law on the grounds that complying with it by baking cakes for same-sex couples violated his religious beliefs. The U.S. Supreme Court effectively split the difference in the case, finding both that LGBTQ people have dignity interests entitled to constitutional protection and also that the state of Colorado had shown bias in enforcing its anti-discrimination statute against Phillips because of his evangelical faith.

The Masterpiece Cakeshop decision most certainly did not grant the plaintiffs the broad-scale license to discriminate against LGBTQ people that they had asked for during oral arguments. That’s why it took less than four months for evangelicals to return to the Court with another case involving a baker turning away a same-sex couple because of a religious objection to marriage equality. On Friday, the Supreme Court will consider whether to grant review. If it does, Klein v. Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries could be one of the next term’s most important cases.

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