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Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Monday delivered a relatively narrow win for Masterpiece Cakeshop, a Christian baker that refused to bake a custom cake for a same-sex couple.

The big picture: In a 7-2 decision, the court said Colorado officials in this case had not taken the baker's religious beliefs seriously enough, but also said that "some future controversy involving facts similar to these" could go the other way.

  • Same-sex couples and people exercising their religious beliefs both tend to win at the Supreme Court. This case initially seemed like a head-on collision between the two — and that’s part of what made it so high-profile.

But the court punted on those big issues. It focused instead on the specifics of this case, noting that same-sex marriage was not yet legal in Colorado at the time this all happened, and pointing to evidence that Colorado officials had been dismissive of the baker’s beliefs.

  • “The outcome of cases like this in other circumstances must await further elaboration in the courts, all in the context of recognizing that these disputes must be resolved with tolerance, without undue disrespect to sincere religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote.

Between the lines: The fact that the court ruled so narrowly on the legal issues in this case is almost certainly the reason this was a 7-2 decision.

  • Two liberal justices — Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan — joined Kennedy’s opinion. They would be highly unlikely to join a more sweeping ruling against same-sex couples.
  • In fact, Kennedy might not join such a decision either. He has written all of the court’s most significant decisions in favor of same-sex couples’ rights.

What's next: The other big pending Supreme Court decisions.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden adviser Cedric Richmond sees first-term progress on reparations

Illustration: "Axios on HBO"

White House senior adviser Cedric Richmond told "Axios on HBO" that it's "doable" for President Biden to make first-term progress on breaking down barriers for people of color, while Congress studies reparations for slavery.

Why it matters: Biden said on the campaign trail that he supports creation of a commission to study and develop proposals for reparations — direct payments for African-Americans.

Cyber CEO: Next war will hit regular Americans online

Any future real-world conflict between the United States and an adversary like China or Russia will have direct impacts on regular Americans because of the risk of cyber attack, Kevin Mandia, CEO of cybersecurity company FireEye, tells "Axios on HBO."

What they're saying: "The next conflict where the gloves come off in cyber, the American citizen will be dragged into it, whether they want to be or not. Period."

Cedric Richmond: We won't wait on GOP for "insufficient" stimulus

Top Biden adviser Cedric Richmond told "Axios on HBO" the White House believes it has bipartisan support for a stimulus bill outside the Beltway.

  • "If our choice is to wait and go bipartisan with an insufficient package, we are not going to do that."

The big picture: The bill will likely undergo an overhaul in the Senate after House Democrats narrowly passed a stimulus bill this weekend, reports Axios' Kadia Goba.