On June 4 of this year, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, backing Phillips’ right to refuse to create cakes celebrating same-sex weddings due to his religious beliefs.
The Masterpiece Cakeshop case dates back to July 2012, when owner Jack Phillips was asked by two men to bake a cake for their same-sex wedding ceremony.
He explained to the couple that he could not cater to same-sex weddings – to do so would have been a violation of his Christian beliefs. He said he has also declined to make a number of other types of cakes, including cakes for Halloween, bachelor parties, divorce, cakes with alcohol in the ingredients, and cakes with atheist messages.
The couple then filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission for discrimination.
The commission ordered Phillips to serve same-sex weddings and to undergo anti-discrimination training.
Alliance Defending Freedom took up Phillips’ case in court. The case was eventually appealed to the Supreme Court and was re-listed repeatedly throughout the winter and spring of 2017, before the Court decided to take the case.
Phillips had said that he started his Lakewood, Colorado business in 1993 as a way to integrate his two loves – baking and art – into his daily work. Philips named his shop “Masterpiece” because of the artistic focus of his work, but also because of his Christian beliefs. He drew from Christ's Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew, specifically the commands “no man can serve two masters” and “you cannot serve both God and mammon.”
The new lawsuit filed on Phillips’ behalf by ADF states that the government’s anti-religious targeting of Phillips is in violation of the Constitution of the United States.
“For over six years now, Colorado has been on a crusade to crush Plaintiff Jack Phillips…because its officials despise what he believes and how he practices his faith. After Phillips defended himself all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and won, he thought Colorado’s hostility toward his faith was over. He was wrong,” the lawsuit says.
“Colorado has renewed its war against him by embarking on another attempt to prosecute him, in direct conflict with the Supreme Court’s ruling in his favor. This lawsuit is necessary to stop Colorado’s continuing persecution of Phillips.”
ADF Senior Counsel Jim Campbell said in a statement that the complaint against Phillips showed evidence of continued hostility against the baker’s religious beliefs.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
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The new lawsuit, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Elenis, was filed by ADF lawyers in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.