Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that while Colorado law "can protect gay persons in acquiring products and services. the law must be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion".
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. Colorado bars discrimination based on race, religion, gender and sexual orientation. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a dissent, joined by Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
The verdict criticized the state's treatment of Jack Phillips' religious objections to gay marriage, ruling that a civil rights commission was hostile to him.
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During oral arguments in the case before the Supreme Court, Kennedy has expressed concern over these words from the commission, prompting observers to speculate might issue a decision punting in the case and remanding it for reconsideration without hostility toward religion.
Speaking then for a 5-4 majority, he said marriage is a fundamental right, and "it demeans gays and lesbians for the state to lock them out" of having legal recognition of their marriages. The government can not treat a person's religious beliefs with hostility, he wrote, yet that's what the Commission did here, and this is what led to Kagan's concurrence. The baker, Jack Phillips, appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The case marked a test for Kennedy, who has authored significant rulings that advanced gay rights but also is a strong advocate for free speech rights and religious freedom.
The narrow ruling does not grant Christians a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people, but instead is tailored to specifically address the case that was in front of the court.
Because Justice Clarence Thomas concurred in part, the judgment of the court on the case was 7-2 but the opinion on the rationale was 6-2.
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Scattered across the country, florists, bakers, photographers and others have claimed that being forced to offer their wedding services to same-sex couples violates their rights. Fellow liberal Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan voted with the majority.
- The Colorado commission's decision was "inconsistent with the state's obligation of religious neutrality".
Kennedy also made an important distinction with this case, noting that while other cases have since gone in favor of bakers, and future cases might be decided differently depending on their facts, the Commission was in the wrong here because of how they treated Phillips' situation.
David Cole, national legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, argued on behalf of Craig and Mullins.
"We are grateful that the court upheld these today", he said in a statement.
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What was interesting about yesterday's game was I felt like it was one of the playoff games that we lost that we should have won. But based on his exit interview Monday with Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens , Smart said he feels good about his future as a Celtic.