Jack Phillips’ Case Heard in Colorado Supreme Court

Jack Phillips’ Case Heard in Colorado Supreme Court

Oral arguments were held before the Colorado Supreme Court Tuesday for the free speech and religious rights of Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, who was taken to court for politely refusing to create a gender-transition cake due to his religious beliefs.

“Jack serves everyone at Masterpiece Cakeshop, including those who identify as LGBT,” Jake Warner, senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), said. “Whether he creates a custom cake always depends on what the cake will express, not who requests it. For over a decade, government officials and activists have misused state law to threaten and punish Jack because they disagree with him. … We hope the Colorado Supreme Court will protect free speech for all, and finally bring justice for Jack.”

ADF attorneys asked the state Supreme Court to consider the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in 303 Creative v. Elenis, in which the justices ruled that artists cannot be forced to express messages that are inconsistent with their beliefs, and apply it to Phillips’ case.

Phillips has been dragged before courts for over a decade. A same-sex couple sued when Phillips declined to provide a cake for their wedding in 2012. The case went all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in 2018 that Colorado had erred by showing hostility toward Phillips’ religious beliefs.

In 2017, on the same day the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would hear Phillips’ first case, a transgender activist attorney who goes by Autumn Scardina (a biological male) called Masterpiece Cakeshop and requested a custom birthday cake that would reflect his gender transition. The cake would be blue on the outside and pink on the inside. Masterpiece staff declined to make the cake.

Scardina then called again and requested a different cake, this one depicting Satan smoking marijuana. This request was also denied, prompting the attorney to file the current lawsuit. Scardina threatened to harass Phillips until he is punished.

“Jack is a humble, kind, and caring guy,” Franklin wrote on Facebook in 2021, “and as a Christian, he also believes he has the right to live by his strongly held religious beliefs. Join me in praying for Jack and his family in this seemingly never-ending saga that has cost them so much.”

Friend-of-the-court briefs have been filed in support of Phillips by 23 states, six Colorado legislators and several advocates for free speech. “You don’t have to agree with Jack’s views to agree that no one should be compelled to express messages they don’t believe,” Warner said.

Franklin has expressed his support for Phillips and had him make several cakes for the ministry, including the cake celebrating what would have been Mr. Graham’s 100th birthday on Nov. 7, 2018.

“God tells us to love everybody,” Phillips told Decision in 2021, “but that does not mean we can express things that go against His truth.”

He added, “I think that Christians and all Americans need to be aware that these fundamental freedoms are in jeopardy. … If they go away, they won’t come back.”

Photo: Alliance Defending Freedom

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