It’s been over eleven years since Charlie Craig and David Mullins first visited the Masterpiece Cakeshop on Wadsworth Boulevard in Lakewood, Colo., and requested a cake for their upcoming “wedding” in Massachusetts.
Jack Phillips, who was 56 at the time, and who had previously declined to lend his baking expertise to any creations that either contradicted or confused scriptural teachings – including ghoulish Halloween confections or “erotic” pastries for any type occasion – politely declined.
Nearly six years and multiple court case later, Jack Phillips won a narrow victory at the United States Supreme Court.
Writing for the 7-2 majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy declared, “The neutral and respectful consideration to which Phillips was entitled was compromised … The Civil Rights Commission’s treatment of his case has some elements of a clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs that motivated his objection.”
“The Commission’s hostility was inconsistent with the First Amendment’s guarantee that our laws be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion. Phillips was entitled to a neutral decisionmaker who would give full and fair consideration to his religious objection as he sought to assert it in all of the circumstances in which this case was presented, considered, and decided.”
In other words, Phillips was harassed and legally mistreated.
Yet, on the very same day that the High Court agreed to hear Jack Phillips’ case – Autumn Scardina, a lawyer who was born a biological male, phoned the Masterpiece Cakeshop and requested a pink and blue cake to celebrate both a birthday and his so-called gender transition.
Once more, given his deeply held religious convictions, Jack Phillips politely declined. Scardina ultimately sued and won. This past January, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled once more in Scardina’s favor, declaring that refusing to bake a “gender transition cake” was not a protected form of speech.
On Tuesday, the Colorado Supreme Court announced it will hear the case.
Why is Jack Phillips being targeted and harassed for more than a decade?
In light of this past June’s Supreme Court ruling in the 303 Creative v. Elenis case that determined Americans cannot be forced to use their artistic gifts to produce work that violates their religious beliefs, the lawsuit and complaint against Phillips should be dismissed outright.
“Free speech is for everyone,” said Jack Warner, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Senior Counsel, who has represented Phillips from the beginning.
“As the U.S. Supreme Court held in 303 Creative, the government can’t force artists to express messages they don’t believe. Because the attorney asked Jack to create a custom cake that would celebrate and symbolize a transition from male to female, the requested cake is speech under the First Amendment. The Colorado Supreme Court should apply 303 Creative to reverse the appeals court’s decision punishing Jack. You don’t need to agree with Jack’s views to agree that Americans shouldn’t be compelled to express what they don’t believe.”
Curiously, Scardina’s attorney claims the cake order back in 2017 was not “a set-up” and yet the timing and choice of bakery would seem to suggest otherwise. Given all the bakeries in the area, why Masterpiece?
Jack Phillips has long stated that he will serve anyone and everyone who comes to his shop. His issue isn’t with the person – it’s with the occasion they’re looking for him to celebrate where he draws the line. In fact, in the initial complaint, Autumn Scardina only confirms this fact.
“The woman on the phone did not object to my request for a birthday cake until I told her I was celebrating my transition,” Scardina wrote.
Jack Phillips is being targeted and harassed by a coordinated cadre of bullies and antagonists who seem determined to destroy a good man who has remained faithful to God’s Word. It’s long past time for the attacks to end.
Photo from ADF.