Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission

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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Description:  Two men filed a complaint with the state of Colorado after they asked cake artist Jack Phillips to design a wedding cake to celebrate their same-sex ceremony. In an exchange lasting about 30 seconds, Phillips politely declined, explaining that he would gladly make them any other type of baked item they wanted, but that he could not design a cake promoting a same-sex ceremony because of his faith.

Statement of cake artist Jack Phillips following oral arguments at US Supreme Court

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

The following statement was delivered by cake artist Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop at a news conference following the oral arguments that took place Tuesday at the U.S. Supreme Court in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission:

“Good morning! I’m Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado. I serve all who walk through my doors, people from all walks of life. I’ve spent many years honing my craft as a cake artist, combining baking with my love of sculpting, painting, and sketching. And I love my craft because a cake is a canvas on which I express ideas, celebrate events, and bring joy to people’s lives.

“One of my favorite parts of my job has always been designing and creating wedding cakes. They allow me to use my artistic vision to create works of art that are beautiful and distinctive and that mark the beginning of something sacred.

“Though I serve everyone who comes into my shop, like many other creative professionals, I don’t create custom designs for events or messages that conflict with my conscience. I don’t create cakes that celebrate Halloween, promote sexual or anti-American themes, or disparage people, including individuals who identify as LGBT. For me, it’s never about the person making the request. It’s about the message the person wants the cake to communicate.

“I am here at the Supreme Court today because I respectfully declined to create a custom cake that would celebrate a view of marriage in direct conflict with my faith’s core teachings on marriage. I offered to sell the two gentlemen suing me anything else in my shop or to design a cake for them for another occasion.

“For that decision, which was guided by an established set of religious beliefs, I’ve endured a five-year court battle. It’s been very hard on me and my family. There have been tears and many difficult days for us. We have faced death threats and harassment. I’ve had to stop creating the wedding art that I love, which means we’ve lost much of our business—so much so, that we are now struggling to pay our bills and keep the shop afloat.

“It’s hard to believe that the government is forcing me to choose between providing for my family and employees and violating my relationship with God. That is not freedom. That is not tolerance.

“I’m profoundly thankful to the Supreme Court of the United States for taking my case. I hope and pray it will affirm the freedom of artists to peacefully express themselves in ways consistent with who they are.”

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
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Additional resources: Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission

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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Previous news releases:

  • 2017-12-04: ADF to take stand for artistic freedom at US Supreme Court Tuesday
  • 2017-11-22: ADF answers Colorado at US Supreme Court: ‘Artists shouldn’t be forced to express what govt dictates’
  • 2017-11-09: Debate: ‘Masterpiece Cakeshop at US Supreme Court’ at Newseum on Nov. 13
  • 2017-11-01: Debate: ‘Masterpiece Cakeshop at US Supreme Court’ at Newseum on Nov. 13
  • 2017-10-20: African-American leaders supporting cake artist at US Supreme Court set record straight on civil rights
  • 2017-10-18: Colorado cake artist Jack Phillips receives ‘Courage in the Face of Power’ Award
  • 2017-09-08: US, 20 states, 479 creative professionals join others to support artistic, religious freedom at Supreme Court
  • 2017-09-06: Cake, floral artists to join members of Congress at news conference Thursday
  • 2017-08-31: Cake artist to Supreme Court: Affirm artistic freedom, free speech
  • 2017-06-26: US Supreme Court agrees to weigh in on Colorado cake artist’s freedom
  • 2016-07-22: Colorado cake artist asks US Supreme Court to protect his freedom of expression
  • 2016-04-25: Colo. cake artist weighing all options after state high court declines to take case
  • 2015-10-23: Cake artist asks Colo. Supreme Court to affirm his freedom of expression
  • 2015-08-13: Colo. court lets government punishment of cake artist stand, rejects his First Amendment freedoms
  • 2015-04-06: Colo. Civil Rights Commission issues inconsistent cake artist decisions
  • 2015-04-01: Colo. cake artist exemplifies need for state laws protecting religious freedom
  • 2015-01-23: ADF: Don’t force cake artist who supports same-sex marriage to speak against her beliefs
  • 2015-01-12: Revealed: Colo. commissioner compared cake artist to Nazi
  • 2014-07-17: Colo. cake artist appeals govt ‘re-education’ order
  • 2014-05-30: Colo. cake artist considering appeal of Civil Rights Commission decision
  • 2014-05-30: Artistic expression at stake in Colo. cake artist case
  • 2014-01-06: Cake artists are citizens, not government servants
  • 2013-12-06: Colo. court denies baker’s freedom in same-sex ceremony suit
  • 2013-12-03: ADF: Colo. cake artist shouldn’t be forced to support same-sex ceremonies


  • Jack Phillips: I’m the Masterpiece Cakeshop baker. Will the Supreme Court uphold my freedom? (Washington Post, 2018-04-26)
  • Michael Farris: The three most important First Amendment cases of 2018 (PoliZette, 2018-04-19)
  • Barronelle Stutzman: All we ask is for the freedom to live out our beliefs (USA Today, 2018-02-25)
  • Marissa Mayer: This week I was denied a service because of the company’s values—and I’m okay with that (Daily Signal, 2018-01-10)
  • Paul Coleman: Masterpiece Cakeshop: Are we free to disagree? (Spiked, 2017-12-15)
  • Jack Phillips: Colo. baker at the center of a Supreme Court case takes no guff from Duff (Baltimore Sun, 2017-12-14)
  • James Gottry: In ‘Masterpiece’ case, the Supreme Court will decide what tolerance requires (The Hill, 2017-12-09)
  • Jordan Lorence: Line drawing in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case (National Review, 2017-12-09)
  • Jeff Shafer: Masterpiece wedding cakes: The context-dependence of meaning (Jurist, 2017-12-08)
  • Kristen Waggoner: Artistic freedom in a cake at stake (Washington Times, 2017-12-04)
  • James Gottry: Cake artist Jack Phillips deserves First Amendment protection (Denver Post, 2017-12-04)
  • Jack Phillips: Here’s why I can’t custom-design cakes for same-sex weddings (USA Today, 2017-12-04)
  • Michael Farris: Why Masterpiece Cakeshop case could bring a major Supreme Court ruling on free expression (Fox News, 2017-12-04)
  • Jim Campbell: Cake shop case is about much more than same-sex marriage (Arizona Republic, 2017-12-01)
  • James Gottry: Freedom of expression is a right the Supreme Court must uphold (The Hill, 2017-11-28)
  • James Gottry: Artists shouldn't need to choose between their conscience and their craft (The Hill, 2017-11-10)
  • James Gottry: It’s entirely possible to support both artistic freedom and same-sex marriage (The Hill, 2017-10-25)
  • James Gottry: Bakers should be allowed to have their cake—and their freedom (The Hill, 2017-10-13)
  • Michael Farris: Masterpiece Cakeshop’s case is about artistic freedom, not discrimination (Washington Post, 2017-09-25)
  • James Gottry: Christian artists should have the same free speech game as Colin Kaepernick (The Federalist, 2017-08-30)
  • Jonathan Scruggs: Masterpiece Cakeshop: Can the state force us to agree with its views? (National Review, 2017-08-28)
  • Andreas Thonhauser: A luta de um confeiteiro pela liberdade interessa a todos (Gazeta do Povo, 2017-08-22)
  • Jonathan Scruggs: Google memos and pro-Trump cakes: When free speech values collide (The Hill, 2017-08-09)
  • Samuel Green: Freedom for Christian cake artist is freedom for all, even same-sex marriage backers (The Hill, 2017-07-18)
  • Jim Campbell: The Supreme Court puts a baker’s business—and artistic freedom—on the line (Washington Post, 2017-06-28)
  • James Gottry: U.S. Supreme Court to consider whether government can be the Cake Boss (Denver Post, 2017-06-26)
  • Jim Campbell: Arguments separating fashion designers from other artists aren’t worthy of the runway (National Review, 2017-01-23)
  • Samuel Green: Religious freedom under attack in Colorado (Washington Examiner, 2016-10-12)
  • Jack Phillips: Why I’m asking the U.S. Supreme Court to protect artistic freedom (Denver Post, 2016-07-22)
  • Jeremy Tedesco: Everyone should be able to have their First Amendment cake & eat it too (Religion News Service, 2015-01-29)

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