But the swing-justice didn't give away which way he'll eventually land.
Phillips refused to make the gay couple a wedding cake, citing religious reasons. The briefs raised hard arguments about free speech and religious liberty, equal rights and anti-discrimination laws. "The hair stylist?. The makeup artist?"
Kennedy anxious about the dignity of same sex couples.
Kennedy was concerned that the allowing such an exception here would essentially allow businesses to boycott gays and lesbians. The 81-year-old justice expressed concern about an "affront to the gay community". But he also accused Colorado officials of exhibiting a "hostility to religion".
"It seems to me that the state in its position here has been neither tolerant nor respectful of Mr. Phillips' religious beliefs", Kennedy said. And tolerance is most meaningful when it's mutual.
She said that Phillips is ensured by two sections of the First Amendment: its insurances of religious exercise and free discourse. The Texas Supreme Court even admitted it only took up the case after receiving "emails, letters and postcards" from individual citizens.
In one of the most animated oral arguments the high court has held, justices on both sides peppered four lawyers with questions to illustrate how their decision might affect other merchants, such as chefs and florists, and other minority groups, such as Catholics and African Americans.
A Colorado cake baker and the same-sex couple for whom he declined to make a wedding cake were all at the Supreme Court to witness arguments in the case.
"The discussion was genuinely short", Philips recalled. "I went over and greeted them. We sat down at the work area where I had my wedding books open".
The men told Phillips they wanted a cake to celebrate their planned wedding, which would be performed in another state.
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"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.
"The Bible says, 'initially there was male and female, '" Phillips said. He offered to make any other baked goods for the men.
"And soon thereafter they both raged out and left", he said.
Justice Samuel Alito questioned how Phillips could be accused of discrimination when gay marriage wasn't yet legal in Colorado.
The case is Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colo. It just restricted Phillips from oppressing potential clients by virtue of their sexual introduction.
Phillips then took his case to the Supreme Court and the justices agreed to take it up after mulling it for several weeks.
In the meeting, Phillips stated, "I feel I'm being constrained to make fine art for an occasion - an inalienably religious occasion - that conflicts with my confidence, and I'm being constrained to do as such under punishment of prison time and fines". Backers of Craig and Mullins countered: "Love wins".
"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. "It's about the right of gay people to receive equal service". "We were publicly humiliated for who we were". If you prevail, could the baker just put up a sign outside his shop saying "No gays allowed?"
Cole said that whether a cake is an artistic expression is not at issue. The answer, Cole contends, is "no".
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. And that was despite a dissent from Trump's most recently appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch. Phillips' lawyer claims that the baker is an artist and should not be forced to express what the government dictates.