Liberal activists continue their campaign against Colorado’s Masterpiece Cakeshop, despite a 7-2 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that sided with Christian baker Jack Phillips.
On Wednesday, The Alliance Defending Freedom said it has sued the Colorado Civil Rights Commission for ignoring the Supeme Court ruling:
On June 26, 2017, the same day that the Supreme Court agreed to take up Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, an attorney asked Phillips to create a cake designed pink on the inside and blue on the outside, which the attorney said was to celebrate a gender transition from male to female.
Phillips declined the request because the custom cake would have expressed messages about sex and gender identity that conflict with his religious beliefs. Less than a month after the Supreme Court ruled for Phillips in his first case, the state surprised him by finding probable cause to believe that Colorado law requires him to create the requested gender-transition cake.
ADF attorneys filed the lawsuit, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Elenis, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.
“Even though Jack serves all customers and simply declines to create custom cakes that express messages or celebrate events in violation of his deeply held beliefs, the government is intent on destroying him — something the Supreme Court has already told it not to do,” said ADF Senior Vice President Kristen Waggoner. “Neither Jack nor any other creative professionals should be targeted by the government for living consistently with their religious beliefs.”
The new lawsuit states:
The Constitution stands as a bulwark against state officials who target people — and seek to ruin their lives — because of the government’s anti-religious animus. 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. 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.
“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,” said ADF Senior Counsel Jim Campbell. “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.”
In 2012, baker Jack Phillips told a same-sex couple he would not create a special cake for their wedding celebration because of his religious opposition to same-sex marriage. The couple complained to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, and eventually, the state ruled in the couple’s favor, and an appeals court upheld that ruling.
But the Supreme Court reversed the ruling on June 4, saying the Colorado Civil Rights Commission’s actions, in this particular case, violated the Free Exercise Clause.
“The laws and the Constitution can, and in some instances must, protect gay persons and gay couples in the exercise of their civil rights, but religious and philosophical objections to gay marriage are protected views and in some instances protected forms of expression,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority.
As previously reported, the Supreme Court ruled Monday that a Lakewood baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple because of religious beliefs did not violate Colorado’s anti-discrimination law.
The case pitted Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, and the couple, Charlie Craig and David Mullins.
The court ruled that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission’s actions violated the free exercise clause.
In arguments before the court in December, Justine Anthony Kennedy, the author of all the court’s major gay-rights cases, worried that a ruling in favor of Phillips might allow shop owners to put up signs saying “We do not bake cakes for gay weddings.”
But later, Kennedy said the Colorado Civil Rights Commission seemed “neither tolerant nor respectful of Mr. Phillips’ religious beliefs” when it found his refusal to bake a cake for the gay couple violated the state’s anti-discrimination law.
The case pitted Phillips’ First Amendment claims of artistic freedom against the anti-discrimination arguments of the Colorado commission, and the two men Phillips turned away in 2012.
“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,” Kennedy wrote, referring to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
“The outcome of cases like this in other circumstances must await further elaboration in the courts, all in the context of recognizing that these disputes must be resolved with tolerance, without undue disrespect to sincere religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market,” Kennedy said.
Of the 50 states, 21 including Colorado have anti-discrimination laws protecting gay people.
The closely watched case before the Supreme Court, which in 2015 legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, pitted gay rights against religious liberty. President Donald Trump’s administration intervened in the case in support of Phillips.
James E Windsor, Overpasses News Desk
August 15th, 2018