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ADF Again Goes to Bat for Cake Artist and Masterpiece Cakeshop Owner, Jack Phillips

ADF Media : Jun 18, 2024  Alliance Defending Freedom

"Free speech is for everyone. As the US Supreme Court held in 303 Creative, the government cannot force artists to express messages they don't believe. In this case, an attorney demanded that Jack create a custom cake that would celebrate and symbolize a transition from male to female. Because that cake admittedly expresses a message, and because Jack cannot express that message for anyone, the government cannot punish Jack for declining to express it. The First Amendment protects that decision..." -Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Jake Warner

[Alliance Defending Freedom] Description: The same attorney who filed an unsuccessful complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission in 2017 commenced a lawsuit in state court over the same custom cake request the attorney made at that time. The request was for a custom-designed cake, pink on the inside and blue on the outside, to reflect and celebrate a gender transition. Masterpiece Cakeshop declined that request because the customer specifically requested that the cake express messages and celebrate an event in conflict with owner Jack Phillips' religious beliefs. The decision was not because of the person who requested it, as Phillips would not create a cake expressing the requested message no matter who asked for it. (Screengrab image: via YouTube)

ADF attorneys representing Phillips and his cake shop are asking the state high court to protect Phillips from being forced to express messages that violate his beliefs. Following the US Supreme Court's landmark decision in 303 Creative v. Elenis that upheld free speech for all, ADF attorneys filed a supplemental notice with the Colorado Supreme Court, asking it to apply that ruling and similarly affirm Phillips' free-speech rights in this case. Activists and Colorado officials have misused the same state law that was at issue in 303 Creative to punish Phillips for more than a decade. The court agreed in October to hear Phillips' appeal.

"Free speech is for everyone. As the US Supreme Court held in 303 Creative, the government cannot force artists to express messages they don't believe," Warner said. "In this case, an attorney demanded that Jack create a custom cake that would celebrate and symbolize a transition from male to female. Because that cake admittedly expresses a message, and because Jack cannot express that message for anyone, the government cannot punish Jack for declining to express it. The First Amendment protects that decision. We are urging the court to apply 303 Creative to reverse the appeals court's decision punishing Jack. As the 23 states and free-speech advocates who filed briefs for Jack affirm, 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."

On the same day the US Supreme Court announced it would hear Phillips' first case—in which he prevailed in 2018 after Colorado tried to force him to create a custom cake celebrating a same-sex wedding—an attorney called Masterpiece Cakeshop requesting that Phillips create a custom cake that would symbolize and celebrate a gender transition. The attorney then called again to request another custom cake, one depicting satan smoking marijuana, to "correct the errors of [Phillips'] thinking." Phillips politely declined both requests because the cakes express messages that violate his core beliefs. The attorney then filed the current lawsuit, threatening to continue harassing Phillips until he is punished. Phillips serves people from all backgrounds. Like many artists, he decides to create custom cakes based on what they will express, not who requests them.

Twenty-three states, six Colorado legislators, and several free-speech advocates filed friend-of-the-court briefs with the court in support of Phillips. Subscribe for free to Breaking Christian News here

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.







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