On 4 June 2018, the SCOTUS overruled these decisions on the ground that Phillips' religious objection was not considered with the neutrality required by the Free Exercise Clause.
The Christian owners of a Northern Ireland bakery won their appeal at the Supreme Court yesterday after refusing to make a cake with the slogan "Support Gay Marriage".
Asher's has lost several court cases over four years, including an appeal, but the Supreme Court announced its decision on October 10.
In 2014, gay man Gareth Lee - who had bought cakes from the shop before - requested a cake with a picture of cartoon characters "Bert and Ernie", the QueerSpace logo, and the headline "Support Gay Marriage".
But the ruling was hailed by the socially conservative Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the province's largest party that props up Britain's minority government and has blocked attempts to legalize gay marriage in the province.
In 2015, a Belfast court was ruled that the bakery did, in fact, infringe upon Lee's political beliefs and sexual orientation.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court delivered a unanimous verdict in Northern Ireland's "gay cake" row, overturning the verdicts of Belfast County Court and the Appeal Court.
What do you think of the Northern Irish Supreme Court ruling in favor of Ashers Baking Company? However, in the court's view, the McArthur's objections were to the message on the cake, not to Lee himself, so there was no discrimination. "Lee", said Lady Brenda Hale, president of the Supreme Court.
"They would have refused to make such a cake for any customer, irrespective of their sexual orientation", she added, according to the network.
Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. was owned and operated by Jack Phillips, an expert baker and devout Christian. He asked for the cake to be decorated with the message "Support Gay Marriage", to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. The same-sex couple approached Colorado Civil Rights Commission and complained that he violated the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA), which prohibits, discrimination based on sexual orientation in a "place of business engaged in any sales to the public and any place offering services.to the public".
In the United Kingdom case, the judges saw the question as neither about government neutrality nor about art. The Court of Appeal also held that the bakery owners' rights under Article 9 European Convention on Human Rights ("ECHR") (freedom of thought, conscience and religion) and Article 10 ECHR (freedom of expression) had not been infringed.
Christian activists gather outside of the Supreme Court in support of Colorado cake baker Jack Phillips on December 5, 2017.
The court's distinction appeared to be aimed at treading a delicate path between upholding the right to freedom of religion and the individual right to dignity. Amy McArthur, who runs Ashers with her husband and family, phoned Lee the following Monday to inform him that the company could not fulfil the order because Ashers was a Christian business and the slogan was at odds with the family's religious beliefs.
Michael Wardlow, the head of Northern Ireland's Equality Commission, which spent 250,000 pounds, or about $330,000, on the case and now has to pay legal costs, said the decision has introduced uncertainty about the legal basis for equality in the U.K. The Rainbow Project, Northern Ireland's main gay rights organization, issued a statement calling the decision "direct discrimination" and said it had implications for services and facilities for LGBT people.
Yet if the Supreme Court had ruled against them it would have established the unwelcome principle that businesses can not legally refuse an equivalent request, even if it is sexist, xenophobic or anti-gay-and even if the business owners object to it. Freedom of expression includes the right to not facilitate ideas that a person opposes. "In a democracy people should be able to discriminate against ideas with which they disagree".