Masterpiece Cakeshop Owner Begins New Legal Fight

by Julia Cardi

Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips has a renewed legal battle with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. In a case filed Aug. 14 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, Phillips has alleged continued animosity by the commission toward his religious beliefs. According to the Alliance Defending Freedom, the organization representing Phillips, the lawsuit comes from a June ruling against Phillips for  “probable cause” of discrimination based on “sex and or transgender status.” Phillips had refused to create a cake for a customer to celebrate their gender transition.

“It is now clear that Colorado will not rest until Phillips either closes Masterpiece
Cakeshop or agrees to violate his religious beliefs,” states the complaint. “The state’s continuing efforts to target Phillips do not just violate the Constitution; they cross the line into bad faith. This Court should put a stop to Colorado’s unconstitutional bullying.”

Among other claims for relief, the complaint asks for an injunction against enforcement of the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act for Phillips’ and others refusal of products or services that go against their religious beliefs, and for indicating messages they will not express through goods or services because of those beliefs.

Also in June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that the Civil Rights Commission had shown hostility toward Phillips’ religious beliefs when it determined he had violated the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act by refusing to create a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. According to the complaint, various people have targeted Phillips since the onset of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Civil Rights Commission. The complaint claims they have asked for cake designs likely to go against Phillips’ religious beliefs, such as those with pro-Satan messages or promoting drug use.

“This lawsuit is necessary to stop Colorado’s continuing persecution of Phillips,” states the complaint.