Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Craig
What's at stake
- The freedom to operate a business according to your religious beliefs
- The freedom to express yourself artistically without endorsing a view with which you disagree
Jack Phillips and his bakery, Masterpiece Cakeshop, came under attack when Jack respectfully declined to create a wedding cake celebrating a same-sex marriage, even though same-sex marriage is not recognized in Colorado where Masterpiece Cakeshop is located. Jack declined because using his God-given talents to promote same-sex marriage would go against his religious belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. While Jack could not use his artistic skill to design and create a cake to celebrate a same-sex marriage, he offered to create cakes for the same-sex couple for different events or sell them pre-made items from the bakery.
Alliance Defending Freedom and its allies came to Jack’s defense after the two men contacted the ACLU and filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission for sexual-orientation discrimination. They explained to the commission that Jack did not engage in sexual orientation discrimination because his objection was to the message the cake would send, not the people requesting the cake. They also explained that any state attempt to force Jack to create cakes celebrating same-sex marriages would violate the First Amendment.
An administrative law judge rejected these arguments in December 2013 and ordered Jack to violate his religious beliefs by designing cakes for same-sex ceremonies. The judge ruled that designing and creating cakes for these ceremonies is not speech protected by the First Amendment and that the state could determine where Jack’s “rights end and [others’] rights begin.” The judge also held that coercing Jack to participate in a same-sex ceremony did not “unduly abridge [his] right to the free exercise of religion.”
Alliance Defending Freedom and its allies appealed this decision to the Colorado Human Rights Commission, which also ruled against Jack. Alliance Defending Freedom and its allies are considering an appeal to the Colorado Court of Appeals to continue defending Jack’s and Masterpiece Cakeshop’s right to free speech and the free exercise of religion.
Our role in this case
Alliance Defending Freedom and its allies defended Jack Phillips and his bakery, Masterpiece Cakeshop, free of charge.
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