Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission

Additional media resources available at right. To book an interview, click on the "Book an Interview" button.
Tuesday, July 23, 2019

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.

US Supreme Court rules in favor of Colorado cake artist

Justices reversed punishment of Jack Phillips, Masterpiece Cakeshop
Monday, June 04, 2018

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7 to 2 Monday in favor of Colorado cake artist Jack Phillips in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The ruling reversed the state’s decision to punish Phillips for living and working consistent with his religious beliefs about marriage.

“Jack serves all customers; he simply declines to express messages or celebrate events that violate his deeply held beliefs,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Kristen Waggoner, who argued before the high court on behalf of Phillips and Masterpiece Cakeshop. “Creative professionals who serve all people should be free to create art consistent with their convictions without the threat of government punishment.”

Audio of Monday's media briefing featuring Waggoner is available here.

“Government hostility toward people of faith has no place in our society, yet the state of Colorado was openly antagonistic toward Jack’s religious beliefs about marriage,” Waggoner added. “The court was right to condemn that. Tolerance and respect for good-faith differences of opinion are essential in a society like ours. This decision makes clear that the government must respect Jack’s beliefs about marriage.”

On behalf of the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that “the record here demonstrates that the Commission’s consideration of Phillips’ case was neither tolerant nor respectful of his religious beliefs.”

The case reached the U.S. Supreme Court after the Colorado Supreme Court declined to review a Colorado Court of Appeals ruling in the case. That ruling affirmed a Colorado Civil Rights Commission decision from May 2014 that ordered Phillips to design custom wedding cakes celebrating same-sex marriages if he creates other wedding cakes.

The commission’s order also required Phillips to re-educate his staff, most of whom are his family members—essentially teaching them that he was wrong to operate his business according to his faith. An additional requirement was to report to the government for two years all cakes that he declined to create and the reasons why. Because the order left Phillips with no realistic choice but to stop designing wedding cakes, he lost approximately 40 percent of his income and has been struggling to keep his small business afloat. (#JusticeForJack)

“It’s hard to believe that the government punished me for operating my business consistent with my beliefs about marriage. That isn’t freedom or tolerance,” said Phillips. “I’m so thankful to the U.S. Supreme Court for this ruling.”

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
# # # | Ref. 17556

Additional resources: Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission

Scroll down to view additional resources pertaining to this case and its surrounding issue
Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Previous news releases:

  • 2018-06-04: US Supreme Court rules in favor of Colorado cake artist’s freedom
  • 2017-12-05: Statement of cake artist Jack Phillips following oral arguments at US Supreme Court
  • 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


  • James Gottry: A third Jack Phillips lawsuit demonstrates that persistence can be virtue or vice (Denver Post, 2019-07-23)
  • John Bursch: How Masterpiece Cakeshop fell short (Wall Street Journal, 2019-06-20)
  • Jim Campbell: Compelled speech in Masterpiece Cakeshop: What the Supreme Court’s June 2018 decisions tell us about the unresolved questions (Federalist Society Review, 2018-09-24)
  • Jeremy Tedesco: I wish you knew Jack. I think you’d really like him (Colorado Politics, 2018-06-28)
  • Chris Potts: Here’s why the florist and the baker aren’t like the Red Hen’s owner (PoliZette, 2018-06-28)
  • Jessica Prol Smith: A tale of two business owners (Daily Wire, 2018-06-27)
  • Kristen Waggoner: Floral artist faced same intolerance as Jack Phillips (National Review, 2018-06-25)
  • Jay Hobbs: Think the Supreme Court is done with free speech post-Masterpiece? Think again. (Daily Wire, 2018-06-21)
  • Jim Campbell: I represent Christian baker Jack Phillips. Believe me, he’s a good man. (Daily Signal, 2018-06-18)
  • Jim Campbell: The government must respect religious beliefs about marriage (Denver Post, 2018-06-08)
  • Jack Phillips: The Supreme Court let me live my faith again (Wall Street Journal, 2018-06-08)
  • Kristen Waggoner: This is why Masterpiece Cakeshop is huge First Amendment win (LifeZette, 2018-06-07)
  • Kate Anderson: Cake-shop decision is about broad liberties (Arizona Republic, 2018-06-07)
  • James Gottry: Tolerance and respect are two separate concepts (Daily Wire, 2018-06-06)
  • Kristen Waggoner: The baker isn’t the only winner in the wedding cake ruling (Washington Post, 2018-06-06)
  • Chris Potts: SCOTUS resisted roar of PC crowd, delivered win for all Americans in Masterpiece decision (CNS News, 2018-06-05)
  • Michael Farris: The Supreme Court affirms: Tolerance is a two-way street (National Review, 2018-06-04)
  • James Gottry: First Amendment paves the road to tolerance in Masterpiece case (The Hill, 2018-06-04)
  • Kristen Waggoner: Supreme Court’s same-sex wedding cake decision--a significant victory for freedom (Fox News, 2018-06-04)
  • Jack Phillips: Supreme Court decision says my faith is welcome back in America (USA Today, 2018-06-04)
  • Kristen Waggoner: Freedom to disagree is one all Americans should be able to support (The Hill, 2018-06-02)
  • 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)

Links concerning the art of cake design:

Legal documents, related news, and other related resources available in the right panel when this page is viewed at