Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission

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Friday, November 10, 2017

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.

Debate: ‘Masterpiece Cakeshop at US Supreme Court’ at Newseum on Nov. 13

Thursday, November 09, 2017

WHO:  David Cortman of Alliance Defending Freedom and Ria Tabacco Mar of the American Civil Liberties Union. Moderators: Adam Liptak of The New York Times, Mark Sherman of the Associated Press, Kate Shaw of ABC News, and Alex Swoyer of The Washington Times

WHAT:  “Masterpiece Cakeshop at the U.S. Supreme Court: A Public Debate

WHEN:  Monday, Nov. 13, 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. EST with reception to follow

WHERE:  Newseum, Knight Conference Center, 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington (use Freedom Forum entrance on 6th St. NW), or watch live video stream


Cake, conscience, and creative professionals: What does it all mean? Heralded as a possible landmark Supreme Court case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission is about a Colorado cake artist, Jack Phillips, who serves all customers but doesn’t create custom cakes that celebrate all events or express all messages. In 2012, two men asked Phillips to create a custom cake for their same-sex wedding ceremony. Because of his religious beliefs about marriage, Phillips politely declined the opportunity, offering to sell them anything else in his shop. The couple sued him under Colorado law, and the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case on Dec. 5.

The case raises issues that strike at the heart of American civil society: What does tolerance in a free and pluralistic society look like? What civil rights are at stake? Can one support same-sex marriage and artists like Phillips? What is the road ahead?

Join Supreme Court litigators David Cortman of ADF and Ria Tabacco Mar of the ACLU for a debate on the merits and implications of the case. Adam Liptak (New York Times), Mark Sherman (Associated Press), Kate Shaw (ABC News) and Alex Swoyer (Washington Times) will moderate*, and time will be allotted for audience Q&A.

The event will be live-streamed. Admission is free. Doors open at 6 p.m. EST. Reception to follow. Please RSVP if you plan to attend in person.

Questions? Contact ADF Communications Director Kerri Kupec at

* Though the moderators will assume the role of “justices,” they will not take votes or promote a particular position.

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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Friday, November 10, 2017

Previous news releases:

  • 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: 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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