‘Simply Unacceptable’ | Buzz Blog
Support the Free Press.
Facts matter. Truth matters. Journalism matters.
Salt Lake City Weekly has been Utah's source of independent news and in-depth journalism since 1984.
Donate today to ensure the legacy continues.

‘Simply Unacceptable’

With a couple exceptions, Utah leaders decry SCOTUS Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling.


  • David Ludwig via Wikimedia Commons

With a 7-2 vote, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of a Lakewood, Co., baker Jack Phillips who, citing religious beliefs, refused to create a wedding cake for Charlie Craig and David Mullins in 2012. Under Colorado's public accommodations law, Craig and Mullins took the case to the state's Civil Rights Commission, which found the bakery discriminated against the couple. The baker then appealed to the Supreme Court.

Last September, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and 22 of Utah’s 24 Republican senators filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of Philips, citing an effort “to protect the religious liberties of conscientious objectors.”

Following Monday’s decision, Utah leaders issued statements and took to Twitter to express their reaction to the ruling.

Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski

“I am disappointed and surprised by the Supreme Court’s ruling today. The Court had the opportunity to reaffirm the long-standing principle in this country that businesses should be open to all people. With that said, I am also relieved that the Court was extremely narrow in their decision focusing on particular actions in the Colorado case and avoiding any negative precedent.

“Salt Lake City proudly joined 102 cities in an Amicus brief arguing in favor of the couple in this case. I feel strongly, as I did then, that Salt Lake City will continue to participate in litigation which endangers the equal rights of any people in our community. Everyone should know, that if you do business in our City, you do business with everyone.

“This issue remains unresolved and will likely result in future litigation. Today, LGBTQ people in this country must continue to wonder whether they may be refused service for who they are—and that’s simply unacceptable.”

Sen. Jim Dabakis
“Now, any homophobic bubba who says his religious views are offended can discriminate. Not my America.”

Equality Utah Executive Director Troy Williams
“For more than 50 years Americans have agreed that a person should not be fired, evicted or denied goods and services because of who they are. Today’s decision affirms these principles in that LGBTQ couples are to be afforded dignity and worth in society and in the law.

“Although our country is increasingly divided, we continue to believe that Utahns are people of kindness and goodwill. This decision does not turn back the clock on equality, we will continue to advocate for the equal treatment of LGBTQ people.

“Now more than ever, we need comprehensive federal and state nondiscrimination laws that protect all Americans. Utah has established a standard of ‘Fairness for All.’ Equality Utah looks forward to working again with the Utah Legislature to pass a comprehensive public accommodations law in 2019.”

Utah Senate candidate Derek Kitchen

“This decision from the Supreme Court today is a punch in the gut to Utah's LGBT community and to all Utahns who care about fairness and justice. This decision allows any Bubba to invoke his religious views, and then use that as the legal basis to discriminate in a public business. This flawed ruling will surely bring about more discrimination, not less.

"This decision brings home why it is important that LGBTQ people are in the room when it happens—when decisions are made all across Utah, places like in the 105 member Utah Legislature. With the retirement of Senator Dabakis there will be NO LGBTQ lawmakers there when laws and policies are debated and made."

Sen. Mike Lee

“The Colorado Civil Rights Commission’s hostility toward the religious beliefs of Mr. Phillips was incompatible with the First Amendment. Today’s decision is a win for our nation’s founding principle that our laws must be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion.”

Sen. Orrin Hatch
"I applaud today’s decision. Hostility toward religion has no place in government. At the same time, religious freedom means much more than freedom from government hostility [...] Courts must protect the ability of believers to freely live their faith and to express their religious beliefs openly and honestly.”

Utah Pride Center Executive Director Robert Moolman
“Over the course of this weekend, the community of Utah came out and made the Pride Festival the biggest one in our history. They were there to celebrate equality and fairness and recognition for everyone. To wake up to this decision the day after such an amazing celebration of joy and kindness was disheartening. It reminds us all that there is more work to do and more challenges ahead. The LGBTQIA communities will rise to the occasion as they always have”