The United States Supreme Court on Monday, handed religious liberty advocates a victory when it dismissed a lower court’s opinion that had ordered a Christian baker to design a cake for a same-sex wedding.
The case involves bakers Melissa and Aaron Klein who were punished with a $135,000 fine for refusing to create a same-sex wedding cake in 2013 for a lesbian couple.
The Kleins eventually closed their business, known as “Sweet Cakes by Melissa.”
The legal fight over the case went up to the high court on Monday where the justices threw out a previous state court ruling against the Kleins, sending the case back down to that court in Oregon.
The Supreme Court issued a one-paragraph order vacating the judgment and sending it back down to the Oregon Court of Appeals.
“The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted. The judgment is vacated, and the case is remanded to the Court of Appeals of Oregon for further consideration in light of Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Comm’n,” the unsigned order read.
The justices say the state court needs to reconsider the case in light of last year’s Supreme Court ruling in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding. The court had ruled that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission showed anti-religious bias against Christian baker Jack Phillips. Former Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy ruled the Colorado Civil Rights Commission demonstrated hostility toward religion when it ordered bakery owner Jack Phillips to design the cake.
The Oregon appellate court ruling came before the high court’s decision in the Phillips’ case.
The Supreme Court decision is being called a win for religious freedom.
The Kleins are represented by First Liberty Institute.
Kelley Shackelford, president, CEO, and chief counsel of First Liberty Institute, the non-profit law group which represented the Kleins, called Monday’s Supreme Court decision “a victory for the religious liberty of all Americans.”
“This is a victory for Aaron and Melissa Klein and for religious liberty for all Americans,” Shackelford said. “The Constitution protects speech, popular or not, from condemnation by the government. The message from the Court is clear, government hostility toward religious Americans will not be tolerated.”