The Colorado Civil Rights Commission is not done with Masterpiece Cakeshop is once again targeting the Christian baker who fought a lengthy court battle over his religious right to deny baking a cake for a same-sex-wedding.
This time, the baker is under fire for declining to make a custom cake that celebrates being transgender.
Tuesday night, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the Christian law firm that represented Jack Phillips before the Supreme Court in June and helped the baker achieve a significant 7-2 victory in the case, filed a federal lawsuit against the commission to thwart any actions against Phillips.
“The state of Colorado is ignoring the message of the U.S. Supreme Court by continuing to single out Jack for punishment and to exhibit hostility toward his religious beliefs,” ADF Senior Vice President of U.S. Legal Division Kristen Waggoner declared in a statement. “Even though Jack serves all customers and simply declines to create custom cakes that express messages or celebrate events in violation of his deeply held beliefs, the government is intent on destroying him—something the Supreme Court has already told it not to do.”
The same day that the Supreme Court decided to hear Masterpiece Cakeshop, June 26, 2017, someone called the bakery and requested a cake be made that was pink on the inside with a blue outside, that was a celebration of gender transformation from male to female.
Phillips and Masterpiece Cakeshop politely declined. Phillips believes the calls came from the same lawyer, Autumn Scardina, a man who identifies as a woman.
The ADF and Phillips presented two basic arguments in the case regarding the same-sex wedding of Greg Mullins and Charlie Craig: that his free speech rights enabled him to opt out of baking a cake with any message he did not agree with (in this case endorsement of same-sex weddings), and also that he was being treated unfairly based on his religious beliefs.
Jeremy Tedesco, ADF’s senior counsel and vice president of U.S. Advocacy and Administration, said his firm would “preemptively file a lawsuit in federal court to try to stop what the commission is doing,” according to an interview with PJ Media. “We think the circumstances are uniquely aligned to do that,” Tedesco explained.
Tedesco explained that in Colorado, the victim of alleged discrimination can file complaint with the Civil Rights Division. The organization then conducts an investigation that determines probable cause.
Phillips will have to go through this entire process once again.
“He’s going to be fully investigated again, there will be hearings from an administrative law judge,” Tedesco said. “It’s restarting the entire scenario.”
Phillips has always turned down cake orders that do not align with his religious beliefs, including any Halloween-themed cakes.
In 2015, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission defended a different bakery that refused to bake a cake that was shaped like the Bible and had messages against homosexuality.
The owner of Azucar Bakery, Marjorie Silva had refused to bake the cakes because she thought the imagery and writing they wanted were “hateful and offensive.”
The Colorado Civil Rights Commission declined to take up an appeal against Silva and the bakery. Now, the same Commission that defended Silva’s free speech rights are stomping all over Phillips’.
If the ADF has filed an injunction agains the Commission that would prevent them from pursuing the matter further.
“The most common misconception amongst people generally and people who care about religious freedom is that you can win a case and then walk away,” Tedesco said. “We always tell our friends that our opposition doesn’t rest. I don’t think there’s any better example of that principle than this same commission taking up essentially the same case against the same man.”
“The left and progressively-minded commissions like this will never rest,” Tedesco explained. “It’s just a matter of eternal vigilance.”
“If we tire out, if we become weary in defending these things, we will ultimately lose these freedoms for the next generation.”
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