Apparently undeterred by the strong rebuke they received from seven U.S. Supreme Court justices in June, Colorado authorities are renewing their assault against the religious convictions of one of their state’s citizens. In fact, they are targeting the same citizen – Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop – for his refusal to craft a specially designed cake intended to celebrate an attorney’s transition from male to female.
“The state is doubling down on its hostility against my beliefs, even though that’s what the Supreme Court said they couldn’t do,” Phillips said. “It seems I’m the only person in the state of Colorado who can’t live out my beliefs.”
On the same day the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Phillips’ last case against the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a Denver lawyer contacted his shop requesting the custom cake to depict and honor a gender transition by being pink on the inside and blue on the outside. For refusing to make such a cake, the Colorado Civil Rights Division – just 24 days after the Supreme Court ruling in June - again determined there was probable cause that he had violated anti-discrimination statutes.
Alliance Defending Freedom, which won Phillips’ recent Supreme Court victory, has now filed a lawsuit against Colorado. In its federal district court filing, ADF explained, “Phillips declined to create the cake with the blue and pink design because it would have celebrated messages contrary to his religious belief that sex—the status of being male or female—is given by God, is biologically determined, is not determined by perceptions or feelings, and cannot be chosen or changed.” The filing also notes that Phillips received calls requesting other morally objectionable cakes, some of which he believes came from the same attorney.
ADF’s new Masterpiece lawsuit names as defendants the director of the Colorado Civil Rights Division, the state civil rights commissioners, the state attorney general, and Colorado’s governor. It declares, “It is now clear that Colorado will not rest until Phillips either closes Masterpiece Cakeshop or agrees to violate his religious beliefs. The state’s continuing efforts to target Phillips do not just violate the Constitution; they cross the line into bad faith. This Court should put a stop to Colorado’s unconstitutional bullying.”
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: August 17, 2018