Jun 26, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Supreme Court agreed today to hear Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission and decide whether the government can force a Lakewood, Colorado cake artist to use his artistic talents to create a wedding cake celebrating a same-sex ceremony.
The case will be heard in the fall, and it could have a wide impact regarding the clash between religious freedom on the LGBT agenda, including laws that add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.”
In July 2016, Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, asked the high court to take his case and rule whether the state’s “public accommodations” law violates the First Amendment by requiring him to create custom wedding cakes for same-sex weddings. The state law currently states that businesses open to the public may not deny service to customers based on their race, religion, sex or sexual orientation.No federal law requires businesses to serve all customers without regard to their sexual orientation or gender identity. However, 21 states have “public accommodations” laws that include one or both phrases. They include California and six other states in the West, Illinois and three other states in the upper Midwest, and 10 states on the East Coast from Maryland to Maine. No state in the South or on the Great Plains has such a law.
In 2012, Phillips said he politely declined to make a wedding cake for Charles Craig and David Mullins, who had planned to “marry” in Massachusetts but then have a reception in their home state of Colorado. The Colorado Supreme Court declined to take the case after the state’s Court of Appeals affirmed a Colorado Civil Rights Commission decision from May 2014. That decision ordered Phillips and his employees to create cakes that celebrate same-sex ceremonies and required him to comply with Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act by re-educating his staff (which includes members of his own family) and filing quarterly “compliance” reports for two years.
“Now that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, this ruling could have a significant impact throughout the country regarding businesses being forced to go against the owner’s sincerely held religious beliefs,” said Matt Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “People’s livelihoods should not be put in jeopardy in order to advance the LGBT agenda. Artists speak through their art, and when Jack Phillips creates custom wedding cakes, he is promoting and celebrating the couple’s wedding. He should not be forced to promote a message that conflicts with his religious beliefs,” said Staver.
Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.