Colorado is continuing to persecute a businessman even after a 7-2 Supreme Court ruling told them to knock it off. He’s fighting back, again, against the obvious attempts by the State of Colorado and individuals at the top of its Civil Rights Commission to shutter his small business and send a loud message: “Christian, conservative values not allowed here.”
By Dr. Edward DeVries
According to the Alliance Defending Freedom, on June 26, 2017 a lawyer identified as Autumn Scardina asked Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips to bake a “gender-transition” cake that was blue on the outside and pink on the inside. Coincidentally, that was on the same day that the Supreme Court agreed to hear Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. With even the liberal justices agreeing that he was well within his rights not to custom design a cake on religious grounds, Phillips won that case in June by a 7-2 decision.
The reply to Scardina regarding the “gender transition” cake was the same as the reply given to the same-sex couple who had requested the cake at the heart of the matter in Masterpiece Cakeshop.
“We told them we’d sell them anything in the shop, but we could not create that cake because of the message it conveyed,” Phillips said.
The Colorado Civil Rights Commission didn’t like that reply before the Supreme Court ruling, and it seems they still won’t accept it afterward. Immediately after its Supreme Court loss, the commission informed Phillips that it “found probable cause to believe that Colorado law” requires his bakery in Lakewood “to create the requested gender-transition cake.”
Obviously not appreciating the significance of a 7-2 ruling, the commission is going after Phillips again. And again, Phillips will be represented by lawyers from the Alliance Defending= Freedom.
“The state is doubling down on its hostility against my beliefs, even though that’s what the Supreme Court said they couldn’t do,” Phillips said in a prepared statement released by his lawyers. “It seems I’m the only person in the State of Colorado who can’t live out my beliefs.”
On Phillips’s behalf, his lawyers filed a federal lawsuit late Tuesday to challenge the latest stat action against him. Scardina, the lawyer who requested the cake celebrating a “gender transition,” is not a defendant in Phillips’s lawsuit, nor is the baker suing Colorado or its Civil Rights Commission. This time, he is suing the state commission’s members in their official capacities, as well as suing its director personally.
In writing the June 4 ruling for the Supreme Court, Justice Anthony Kennedy, in an opinion joined by four conservative justices and two liberal justices, said the Civil Rights Commission showed “hostility” toward Phillips and his faith. It is because of that continued “hostility” that Phillips’s lawyers advised him to sue the director personally.
“It’s clear that the state of Colorado did not get the message from the Supreme Court, since it is still singling out Jack for punishment and showing hostility toward his religious beliefs,” Kristen Waggoner, senior vice president for Alliance Defending Freedom, said in a formal statement. “In moving ahead on this new complaint, the government is yet again confirming that it applies its law in an arbitrary and unequal way, which the Supreme Court has already said that it cannot do,” said Waggoner, who argued Phillips’s case before the high court.
As a policy, Phillips’s lawyers note, “Masterpiece Cakeshop also does not make custom cakes that celebrate Halloween; that center on alcohol or drug abuse or sexual themes; or that convey disparaging messages, including those targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals or others in the LGBT movement,” because the message of such cakes would “violate his religious beliefs.”
In Masterpiece Cakeshop, the state admitted that “cake artists are free to decline to create custom cakes with a ‘specific design,’ including wedding cakes with ‘a symbol of gay pride,’ cakes that contain ‘pro-gay designs or inscriptions,’ or cakes with images opposing same-sex marriage. The state has not found probable cause when other bakers refused to create custom cakes, including those opposing same-sex weddings.”
Attorney Waggoner remarked on this issue.
“The arbitrary basis on which the commission is applying the law makes it clear that they are simply targeting Jack because they don’t like his religious beliefs,” Waggoner 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.”
A pastor and in-demand traveling speaker, Dr. Edward DeVries is the editor of the Dixie Heritage Newsletter and a contributing editor at THE BARNES REVIEW. He is the author of 30 books including the two-volume Glory in Grey. Some of his other titles include Sacred Honor, The Truth About the Confederate Battle Flag, Prayer is Simple, Every Member a Minister and Coaching Youth Baseball the Right Way. He is also the host of TBR RADIO’S “Dixie Heritage Hour.” Please check it out at www.BarnesReview.org.