Skip to content

We ask you, humbly: don't scroll away.

Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you.

Help Now >

Jack Phillips Defends Religious Freedom in Colorado's Supreme Court

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes

Jack Phillips, the renowned cake baker who gained national recognition for his unwavering commitment to religious freedom, is set to return to the courtroom, this time before Colorado's Supreme Court. In a third legal battle, Phillips finds himself in the crosshairs of a lawsuit brought by Autumn Scardina, an individual who identifies as a woman, over his refusal to create a custom cake intended to celebrate Scardina's transgender self-identification.

Photo credit: Ian Hutchinson

Photo credit: Ian Hutchinson


By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
10/5/2023 (7 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Jack Phillips, freedom of religion, First Amendment

In 2018, Jack Phillips famously took his case all the way to the United States Supreme Court, where he secured a landmark victory. This legal battle emerged after he was sued by the state of Colorado for declining to bake a same-sex wedding cake. His principled stance on religious convictions prevailed in that case, setting a significant precedent for religious freedom in America.

The latest lawsuit, however, raises a new set of challenges. Scardina alleges that Phillips violated their right to freedom from discrimination in a place of public accommodation. This complaint is based on Colorado's Anti-Discrimination Act, which designates "sexual orientation" and "transgender status" as protected classes under the law.

Despite facing adverse rulings in both a trial court and an appeals court, Phillips has chosen to appeal once more, with legal representation from the religious freedom advocacy group, Alliance Defending Freedom.

With Colorado's Supreme Court taking up the appeal, Jack Phillips, a devout Christian, will passionately argue that declining to create custom cakes that express messages he considers objectionable is, in fact, an exercise of his constitutionally protected freedom of religion. This case marks yet another chapter in his ongoing battle for the right to live and work in accordance with his deeply-held beliefs.

Jack Phillips and his wife, Debi, co-owners of Masterpiece Cakeshop, are devout Christians who rediscovered their faith as adults. Their relationship with Christ is central to their lives, and they have made the conscious decision not to create cakes that conflict with their consciences. This includes cakes for occasions such as Halloween, divorce, and cakes with disparaging messages.

Phillips initially found himself entangled in a legal dispute when he declined to create a cake for a same-sex wedding in 2012. He recounted the experience in a 2021 interview, stating, "They swore at me, they flipped me off, they stormed out of my shop and filed a lawsuit." This ordeal led to a legal battle that eventually reached the Supreme Court in 2018, with Alliance Defending Freedom representing Phillips. Unfortunately, the prolonged legal battle took a significant toll on his business, causing a 40% loss in revenue.

Following his victory in the Supreme Court, Phillips faced another state lawsuit, this time brought forth by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. This case was initiated after Autumn Scardina, the same plaintiff in the current case against Phillips, filed a complaint when he refused to create a custom cake for Scardina's birthday and gender transition celebration.

At that time, Phillips and Alliance Defending Freedom filed a federal lawsuit against the state, asserting that he was facing discrimination due to his faith. Ultimately, both parties agreed to drop their respective lawsuits, seemingly concluding the legal drama.

However, the legal battles continued as Scardina, who is also a lawyer, initiated a third lawsuit against Phillips. Jake Warner, senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, emphasized that "the government can't force artists to express messages they don't believe." He pointed out that, "Because the attorney asked Jack to create a custom cake that would celebrate and symbolize a transition from male to female, the requested cake is speech under the First Amendment."

Furthermore, Warner emphasized that Phillips always makes decisions about creating custom cakes based on the message they convey, rather than the identity of the individual making the request. This case underscores the ongoing struggle for individuals like Jack Phillips to uphold their deeply held religious beliefs in the face of legal challenges and societal shifts.

Jack Phillips' unwavering commitment to his orthodox Catholic beliefs continues to be tested in the legal arena. His case, which will now be heard by the Colorado Supreme Court, is a pivotal moment for the protection of religious freedom and the First Amendment in the United States. This legal battle highlights the ongoing tension between freedom of religion and anti-discrimination laws, a complex issue that remains at the forefront of the cultural and legal landscape.

Join the Movement
When you sign up below, you don't just join an email list - you're joining an entire movement for Free world class Catholic education.

Saint of the Day logo
Prayer of the Day logo

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2024 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2024 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.

Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.