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Constitutional Freedoms

Christian Baker’s Suit Against Colorado Can Proceed

'Hostility' shown toward the faith of Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, may wind up costing a mint

A federal district court judge has ruled in favor of Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips (shown above), issuing an order that allows the baker to carry on with his lawsuit against the state.

“The same agency that the Supreme Court rebuked as hostile to Jack Phillips has remained committed to treating him unequally and forcing him to express messages that violate his religious beliefs,” said Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) senior counsel Jim Campbell in a news release.

The Alliance Defending Freedom successfully defended Phillips in the related Supreme Court case decided last June. It’s a nonprofit legal organization that “advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.”

The Supreme Court case pitted the Phillips’ family-run business — Masterpiece Cakeshop — against the Colorado Civil Rights Commission (CCRC).

The CCRC had ordered the Christian artisan baker to either violate his faith by capitulating to a gay couple’s request to design a wedding cake celebrating their same-sex marriage — or to stop designing wedding cakes altogether.

Though Phillips won the case, the ruling failed to specifically address the crux of the matter: whether Phillips’ civil right to freedom of expression and freedom of religion trumped the gay couples’ civil right to freedom from discrimination.

ADF attorneys representing Phillips have now flipped the script.

They’ve filed suit against the state when the state — despite losing in the Supreme Court — chose to go after Phillips again.

The same day the Supreme Court announced it would take up Phillips’ case, attorney Autumn Scardina called Masterpiece Cakeshop requesting a cake celebrating his gender transition.

When Phillips politely (and predictably) declined, Scardina scuttled over to the CCRC — which, predictably, found Scardina’s rights had been violated, as The Daily Wire explained.

“Jack serves all customers, and he is even happy to serve the attorney who lodged the complaint against him,” Campbell explained in the release covering the most recent case.

“But Jack doesn’t create custom cakes that express messages or celebrate events in conflict with his deeply held beliefs.”

“He can’t get a fair shake before the state commission. A commissioner set to decide the state’s new case against Jack has publicly referred to him as a ‘hater’ on Twitter, one of several indications of the commission’s ongoing bad faith toward him and his beliefs,” Campbell continued in the release.

Friday’s 53-page ruling put the clamps on the state’s bid to have Phillips’ lawsuit thrown out.

The ruling notes, “Among other remedies, he [Phillips and Masterpiece Cakeshop Incorporated] asks for injunctive relief, declaratory judgment, and monetary compensation.”

Defendants in the case include several individuals from the CCRC in both their official and individual capacities, as well as Colorado Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper (D) in their official capacities.

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Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and regular contributor to LifeZette.