Caked With Complications

Department of Justice supports cake store owner in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission

The Department of Justice Sept. 7 filed an amicus brief in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission in support of Masterpiece Cakeshop and its owner, Jack Phillips. The case, which the Supreme Court agreed to hear in June after years of legal strife, has set Colorado’s public accommodations law against arguments of First Amendment violations.

The case originated in 2012, when Phillips refused to bake a cake for the wedding of David Mullins and Charlie Craig, who planned to marry in Massachusetts, for religious reasons.

Phillips claimed First Amendment protections for religious freedom and freedom of expression overrode the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, which prohibits businesses open to the public from discriminating based on sexual orientation.

Mullins and Craig filed discrimination charges, and several lower courts have ruled against Masterpiece Cakeshop since 2012. In 2013, Administrative Judge Robert Spencer from the Colorado Office of Administrative Courts decided Masterpiece Cakeshop could not receive a religious exemption from the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act.

To read this story and other complete articles featured in the September 18, 2017 print edition of Law Week Colorado, copies are available for purchase online.