The US Supreme Court has sent a case regarding bakers who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple back to a lower court.
The move is regarding a ruling by Oregon’s Court of Appeals which found against bakers Aaron and Melissa Klein.
The bakers cited their religious objections to marriage equality as the reason they objected to baking a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.
Supreme Court justices said on Monday (17 June) the Oregon court should reconsider the Klein’s case.
The high court’s decision was described as a ‘victory’ by lawyers representing the bakers.
This follows on from the high court narrowly ruled in favor of a Colorado baker, who, in a similar case, refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple on religious grounds.
The cases are seen as pitting religious beliefs against allegations of discrimination against people for their sexual orientation.
‘Government hostility toward religious Americans will not be tolerated’
The Supreme Court’s decision defers a potential major and divisive case which could have continued into the 2020 presidential elections.
The order was two lines long, with no dissents.
The move dismisses a 2017 order from the Oregon Court of Appeals which ruled against the Kleins and upheld a $135,000 fine against their business, Sweetcakes by Melissa.
Kelly Shackelford, president, CEO and chief counsel to First Liberty, which represented the Kleins, released a statement praising the Supreme Court’s decision.
‘This is a victory for Aaron and Melissa Klein and for religious liberty for all Americans,’ Shackelford said in the statement.
‘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.’
Lambda Legal, an LGBTI rights legal organization, tweeted that the decision is ‘disappointing, but this fight is NOT over’.
The legal group also shared a video of the same-sex couple who had filed the case against the bakery.
Rachel and Laurel, a loving couple of ten years & moms to two special needs girls, decided to get married. A bakery refused to make their wedding cake, and called them “an abomination”.
When they filed a complaint, the couple was inundated with death threats & media attention. pic.twitter.com/jDTxixTzou
— Lambda Legal (@LambdaLegal) June 17, 2019
Similar court cases ongoing
The follows on from Supreme Court’s ruling on a high-profile case regarding a Colorado baker.
Baker Jack Philips, who operates Masterpiece Cakeshop, also cited his religious objections to marriage equality as the reason he refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.
The Supreme Court found in favor of Philips by a 7-2 ruling last year.
It is likely that the high court will face another decision on whether or not to hear another case of a business arguing religious liberties over LGBTI discrimination.
The justices previously sent back a case of whether a florist had discriminated against a same-sex couple in Washington state, The Hill reports.
Washington’s Supreme Court had upheld a ruling against florist, Arlene’s Flowers. However, the florist – which is represented by Christian group, Alliance Defending Freedom – has vowed to take the case to the Supreme Court again.