While the court's liberal justices said the "cake artist" likely can not refuse to serve gay couples, and conservative justices said his religious and free speech rights should be respected, Justice Anthony Kennedy once again was the man in the middle.
Because same-sex marriage was not yet legal in Colorado in 2012, Justice Samuel Alito noted, Craig and Mullins could not have obtained a marriage license where they lived or gotten a local official to marry them.
"When we have someone that is sketching and sculpting and hand-designing something, that is creating a temporary sculpture that serves as the centerpiece of what they believe to be a religious wedding celebration", Waggoner said.
Mullins and Craig told AFP in an interview this week that they were emotionally devastated after Phillips turned them down in a brief meeting at the bakery. The outcome of the case seemed to rest with the 81-year-old justice, who often finds himself with the decisive vote in cases that otherwise divide the court's conservatives and liberals. Kennedy described comments made by one of the seven Colorado commissioners in the case as hostile to religion.
"Yet the commission requires Mr. Phillips to do just that, ordering him to sketch, sculpt, and hand-paint cakes that celebrate a view of marriage in violation of his religious convictions".
While the Supreme Court began hearing arguments in the case Tuesday, it could be months before they weigh in with a verdict.
Something troubling just happened at the U.S. Supreme Court today.
Protesters for both sides in the dispute over a wedding cake for a same-sex couple are rallying outside the Supreme Court.
She cited the First Amendment in defense of Phillips. Kennedy asked the baker's attorney. It follows a legal analysis similar to that originally proposed by Banzhaf, who suggested that anti-discrimination statutes prevent discrimination based upon the characteristics of a potential customer (e.g., being gay), but not upon a refusal to send a message related to that characteristic (e.g., preparing a same-sex wedding cake).
"A loss at the Supreme Court could open the door to many forms of discrimination that have always been outlawed in our society", TIME reported Mullins said. The justices spent a large part of the time worrying about where the lines would be drawn if Phillips is allowed to sidestep same-sex weddings. "We were publicly humiliated for who we were".
The couple is being represented in court by the American Civil Liberties Union.
"Generally, the bread kitchen looks for a protected appropriate to hang a sign in its shop window announcing, 'Wedding Cakes for Heterosexuals Only, '" the ACLU's David D. Cole wrote in court briefs. The answer, Cole contends, is "no". "A custom wedding cake is not an ordinary baked good; its function is more communicative and artistic than utilitarian", Solicitor General Noel Francisco argued.
Twenty different states and the District of Columbia in like manner explicitly deny spots of open convenience from separating on the premise of sexual introduction, as indicated by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The Trump administration sides with Phillips in the case, arguing that it falls "within the small set of applications of content-neutral laws that merit heightened scrutiny" from the courts. Phillips' lawyer claims that the baker is an artist and should not be forced to express what the government dictates.
Supreme Court justices will determine whether Colorado's public accommodation laws, which prohibit discrimination in places like retail stores and other service establishments, violate a person's right to free speech when used to force someone to create an expression that contradicts their religious beliefs.