Masterpiece Cake Shop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission
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Jack Phillips is a Christian and baker. For almost 25 years he has run Masterpiece Cake Shop in Denver, using his creativity and guided by his faith to make custom designed cakes for his customers.
In 2012, a same-sex couple asked him to bake a cake for their wedding. Phillips explained that he could not, in good conscience, participate in a wedding ceremony he disagreed with. Although the couple quickly received a cake from another bakery, they filed a complaint against Masterpiece with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.
The Commission ruled against Masterpiece and would have required Phillips to create cakes regardless of his religious views. Following an appeal and a ruling against Phillips by the Colorado Court of Appeals, he petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court.
In a diverse and pluralistic society, individuals of different faiths and backgrounds will disagree on many issues, and we must allow for these differences to flourish without the threat of government forcing a religious individual to violate his or her conscience. Weddings are viewed as important and sacred events by many Americans. Religious dissenters shouldn’t be forced to participate in a wedding ceremony they do not agree with.
In September 2017, Becket filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting Phillips, defending his right to decline to participate in wedding ceremonies that he religiously objects to. Becket separately asked the Court to hear his case in tandem with another religious wedding vendor case, Ingersoll v. Arlene’s Flowers. The case was heard at the Supreme Court on December 5, 2017. On June 4, 2018, the Justices ruled 7-2 that the Free Exercise Clause of the Constitution protects Jack Phillips from unfair treatment of his religious beliefs.