Today, the United States Supreme Court upheld Jack Phillip’s freedom to peacefully live and work consistently with his beliefs by rejecting a biased and hostile ruling from the Colorado Civil Rights Commission that violated the Free Exercise Clause.
Tolerance and respect for differences of opinion are essential in a pluralistic society like ours. They enable us to peacefully coexist with each another. However, when the Colorado Civil Rights Commission heard Jack’s case they were anything but tolerant and respectful of Jack’s religious convictions. The Court stated:
“Phillips… was entitled to a neutral and respectful consideration of his claims in all the circumstances of the case. That consideration was compromised, however, by the Commission’s treatment of Phillips’ case, which showed elements of a clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious believes motivating his objection.”
Countless people of good will believe that marriage is the union of a man and a woman. No one should be bulled or banished from the marketplace for peacefully living out that belief. The court’s decision establishes that the millions of people who hold that belief are not second-class citizens, but that they too belong as part of the community.
Regardless of your beliefs about same-sex marriage, you should support this decision. Jack serves all customers. Like most creative professionals, he simply declines to express certain messages or celebrate events that violate his deeply held beliefs.
This is a very important victory, but it does not provide immediate relief for many other religious individuals who have come under fire for their beliefs about marriage. Justice Kennedy wrote in the Supreme Court’s majority opinion that, “The outcome of cases like this in other circumstances must await further elaboration in the courts.”
But today we should celebrate justice for Jack. We are encouraged by the decision and remain committed to defending the freedom of every person to live and work consistently with their beliefs without fear of government punishment. That fosters true tolerance and diversity.