Politics

Colorado Targets Masterpiece Cakeshop Owner’s Faith — Again

Jack Phillips declined to create a custom work celebrating a gender transition, and 'it seems I'm the only person in the state' who 'can't live out my beliefs'

Image Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Colorado Civil Rights Commission officials (CCRC) are going after Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips’ faith again — despite his Supreme Court victory just two months ago — after Phillips declined to create a cake celebrating a gender transition.

“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 (pictured above) said in a statement Wednesday. “It seems I’m the only person in the state of Colorado who can’t live out my beliefs.”

Phillips came under liberal fire in July 2012 when he declined to bake a cake for a gay wedding, saying it would violate his deeply held religious beliefs. The Supreme Court ruled in a 7-2 decision that the CCRC violated Phillips’ First Amendment rights when it treated him with “religious hostility” and “bias.”

“Whatever the confluence of speech and free exercise principles might be in some cases, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission’s consideration of this case was inconsistent with the State’s obligation of religious neutrality,” now-retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in his opinion. “The reason and motive for the baker’s refusal were based on his sincere religious beliefs and convictions.”

The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) represented Phillips before the Supreme Court in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

But on the same day in 2017 that the Supreme Court chose to take up the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, an attorney approached Phillips with a request to create a customized cake celebrating a gender transition that would be blue on the outside and pink on the inside, according to ADF. Once again, Phillips declined on the basis of his religious beliefs.

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“Less than a month after the Supreme Court ruled for Phillips in his first case, the state surprised him by finding probable cause to believe that Colorado law requires him to create the requested gender-transition cake,” ADF revealed Wednesday.

“Jack shouldn’t have to fear government hostility when he opens his shop for business each day.”

ADF retaliated by filing a federal lawsuit late Tuesday.

“The state of Colorado is ignoring the message of the U.S. Supreme Court by continuing to single out Jack for punishment and to exhibit hostility toward his religious beliefs,” Kristen Waggoner, senior vice president of the ADF’s U.S. legal division, said Wednesday in a statement.

Related: This Is Why Masterpiece Cakeshop Is Huge First Amendment Win

“Even though Jack serves all customers and simply declines to create custom cakes that express messages or celebrate events in violation of his deeply held beliefs, the government is intent on destroying him — something the Supreme Court has already told it not to do,” Waggoner said. “Neither Jack nor any other creative professionals should be targeted by the government for living consistently with their religious beliefs.”

ADF senior counsel Jim Campbell said in a statement that “the arbitrary basis on which the state is applying its law makes clear that its officials are targeting Jack because they despise his religious beliefs and practices.”

“Jack shouldn’t have to fear government hostility when he opens his shop for business each day. We’re asking the court to put a stop to that,” Campbell said.

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