A white Christian male has come under attack again in the state of Colorado. The owner of the Masterpiece Cake shop, Jack Phillips, recently won a religious freedom case when the Supreme Court sided with him. Now he has been placed in a position where he has to defend himself again from the state of Colorado. Late Tuesday night he brought the lawsuit against Governor John Hickenlooper and state civil rights officials in Denver U.S. District Court. The Masterpiece Cake shop owner contends that Colorado has renewed its religious persecution by investigating him after he refused to create a cake celebrating gender transition.
Earlier this summer the U.S. Supreme Court sided with Phillips who refused to make a wedding cake for a same sex couple due to his Christian beliefs. At that time Justice Anthony Kennedy who wrote the majority opinion in the 7-2 decision that sided with the Masterpiece Cake shop owner indicated that the Supreme Court’s decision was not all encompassing. He wrote, “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.”
At the time when the Supreme Court sided with Jack Phillips in June the actions of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission were highly criticized by Judge Anthony Kennedy. In 2014 the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had determined that Jack Phillips refusal to make a cake for Charlie Craig and David Mullins was not an act of practicing ones religion, but instead was an act of discrimination. The 2014 decision came with mandatory penalties.
Arvada resident Autumn Scardina filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission against Jack Phillips on June 26. In her complaint she claims that the Masterpiece Cake shop refused to make a custom birthday cake that she wished to order, blue on the outside and pink on the inside. The cake was meant to reflect that she had made the transition from male to female, and that she had chosen to come out on her birthday.
In accordance with his Christian values and faith Jack Phillips declined the woman’s business and refused to make the cake because the custom cake would have sent a message in favor of sex and gender identity that was in conflict with his Christian beliefs.
In a letter that was written by CCRC Director Aubrey Elenis on June 28 it was stated that there was reason to believe Masterpiece Cake shop violated a Colorado civil rights statute by denying Scardina equal enjoyment of a place of public accommodation. The letter from the Colorado Civil Rights Commission ordered the bakery and Scardina to attempt to find a peaceful resolution through compulsory mediation.
Legal vice president of Alliance Defending Freedom, Kristen Waggoner, which is representing the interest of Jack Phillips said, “the state of Colorado is ignoring the message of the U.S. Supreme Court by continuing to single out Jack for punishment and to exhibit hostility toward his religious beliefs.”
Wednesday Waggoner released a statement to the news media that said, “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. Neither Jack nor any other creative professionals should be targeted by the government for living consistently with their religious beliefs.”
In the same release ADF Senior Counsel Jim Campbell let it be known that Jack Phillips should not have to fear government hostility each day that he opens his shop for business. He said, “we’re asking the court to put a stop to that. 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.”