WASHINGTON (CBSDFW.COM/AP)The Supreme Court ruled narrowly Monday for a Colorado baker who wouldn’t make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. But the court is not deciding the big issue in the case, whether a business can invoke religious objections to refuse service to gay and lesbian people.

colorado wedding cake 886292676 Justices Side With Colorado Baker On Same Sex Wedding Cake

Jack Phillips, owner of “Masterpiece Cakeshop” in Lakewood, Colorado speaks outside the US Supreme Court as Masterpiece Cakeshop vs. Colorado Civil Rights Commission is heard on December 5, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (credit: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

The justices’ limited ruling turned on what the court described as anti-religious bias on the Colorado Civil Rights Commission when it ruled against baker Jack Phillips. The justices voted 7-2 that the commission violated Phillips’ rights under the First Amendment.

Justice Anthony Kennedy said in his majority opinion that the issue “must await further elaboration.” Appeals in similar cases are pending, including one at the Supreme Court from a florist who didn’t want to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding.

The same-sex couple at the heart of the case, Charlie Craig and Dave Mullins, complained to the Colorado commission in 2012 after they visited Phillips’ Masterpiece Cakeshop in suburban Denver and the baker quickly told them he would not create a cake for a same-sex wedding.

colorado wedding cake 886411504 Justices Side With Colorado Baker On Same Sex Wedding Cake

Charlie Craig (L) and Dave Mullins (R), the gay couple who were denied having their wedding cake baked by cake artist Jack Phillips, look at each other in front of the U.S. Supreme Court December 5, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Colorado law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and the commission concluded that Phillips’ refusal violated the law. Colorado state courts upheld the determination.

But when the justices heard arguments in December, Kennedy was plainly bothered by comments by a commission member. The commissioner seemed “neither tolerant nor respectful of Mr. Phillips’ religious beliefs,” Kennedy said in December.

That same sentiment suffused his opinion on Monday. “The commission’s hostility was inconsistent with the First Amendment’s guarantee that our laws be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion,” he wrote.

Liberal justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan joined the conservative justices in the outcome. Kagan wrote separately to emphasize the limited ruling.

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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