Supreme Court to Examine Cake Artist’s Religious Freedom Claim

In addition to delivering a decisive victory for religious liberty this week in its Trinity Lutheran ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court also announced that it will review the case of a Christian cake artist who was hauled before state authorities in Colorado for politely declining to craft a wedding cake celebrating a same-sex ceremony. Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, was ordered by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission in 2014 to create such cakes even though they communicated a message in violation of his beliefs. The commission also included in its order a requirement for Phillips to file quarterly compliance reports demonstrating that he had re-educated his staff about state nondiscrimination law. That ruling was ultimately upheld by the Colorado Supreme Court.

Alliance Defending Freedom will be representing Phillips before the nation’s highest court as he seeks relief. On Monday, ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman said, “We are all at risk when government is able to punish citizens like Jack just because it doesn’t like how he exercises his artistic freedom. America must have room for people who disagree to coexist.”

More about this case is available from ADF here, including information about the Colorado commission’s notable rulings in 2015 that several other Denver cake artists were not guilty of discrimination for declining to make cakes communicating a Christian individual’s perspective on marriage that violated their consciences. In a statement commending those decisions by the commission, ADF Senior Counsel Jeremy Tedesco said, “The commission’s inconsistent rulings mean that the owners of these three cake shops may run them according to their beliefs, while Jack cannot. He risks losing his lifelong business altogether if he continues to run it consistent with his faith. Such blatant religious discrimination has no place in our society.”

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations

Published: June 30, 2017

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