On Monday, the Supreme Court decided the so-called wedding cake case – a Colorado baker refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, citing his Christian beliefs, and the couple sued. The Court decided that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission wrongly ruled in favor of the couple.
Lynne Rambo, professor of law at the Texas A&M School of Law, says the decision represents a compromise between conservative and liberal factions of the court.
“It appears to be a compromise decision,” Rambo says. “My suspicion is that Justice Kennedy wasn’t really prepared to break the tie between the two blocs of the court.”
The decision hinged on the narrow question of whether a member of the civil rights commission’s expression of hostility toward religious beliefs was reason enough to rule in favor of the baker.
“The case came before the court with the baker arguing that ‘I have a free exercise [of religion] right and a free speech right to decline to bake the cake for these folks,’” Rambo says. “It was really a right not to speak.”
Rambo says the court didn’t focus on the constitutional issue.
“At the time, same-sex marriage had not been approved in Colorado,” she says. “[The baker argued] that the commission did not give serious enough consideration to his religious objection.”
Rambo says the ruling won’t have an impact on LGBTQ rights in Texas.
“You could have the same exact case arise, and present the very same issue, and to be resolved, it would need to go all the way up to the Supreme Court,” Rambo says.
Written by Shelly Brisbin.