Jack Phillips, the most persecuted baker in America, is again challenging those who want to force him to violate his religious beliefs.
Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Denver, Colorado, is asking the court to overrule Scardina v. Masterpiece Cakeshop and uphold his First Amendment rights, following a ruling against him in August 2021, according to a Tuesday press release from his attorneys.
Phillips declined to make a cake that was blue on the outside and pink on the inside to signify plaintiff Autumn Scardina’s gender transition due to his religious beliefs.
Scardina, who asked for the “gender transition” cake, is a practicing law attorney in Colorado. The cake requested was for Scardina’s gender transition anniversary.
“No one should be forced to express a message that violates their beliefs and conscience,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Jake Warner, who will be arguing before the court on behalf of Phillips. “Activists and state laws have threatened artists like Jack and graphic artist Lorie Smith because they can’t express messages on marriage and gender that violate their core beliefs. In this case, an activist attorney demanded that Jack create expressive cakes to test him and ‘correct the errors’ of his thinking. The attorney even promised to sue Jack again if the case is dismissed for any reason. Free speech is for everyone. The Constitution protects the freedom of every American to express ideas even if the government disagrees with those ideas.”
Phillips has somewhat successfully made the point that his customized cakes are works of his art and self-expression and thus protected by the First Amendment.
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Phillips’ first court bout came in 2012 after he refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex marriage. Phillips asserted he would sell the couple a cake but would not make a special one for the ceremony because that would violate his religious faith.
Instead of simply going to another baker, the couple filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The board sided with the couple. But Phillips appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which in a 7-2 ruling knocked down the judgment against him because the Human Rights Commission was overtly attacking Phillips’ faith.
Scardina then reignited the controversy with a complaint about Phillips’ refusal to bake her cake.
In that case, Phillips countered by going after the state for persecuting him. This time, in March 2019, the state-backed down, after the ADF found a recording of comments by commissioners who said they supported criticism of Phillips that called his religious freedom claim “despicable.”
Scardina instead sued Phillips in state court. The court eventually ruled against the baker in June, saying he had to bake Scardina’s cake.
“Jack has been harassed for nearly a decade for living by his faith and making artistic decisions that artists have always made,” Warner said in an earlier ADF press release. “That’s why we have appealed this decision and will continue to defend the freedom of all Americans to peacefully live and work according to their core convictions without fear of government punishment.”