Attorneys representing Colorado cake artist Jack Phillips and his Masterpiece Cakeshop filed a new motion in state court to dismiss the latest legal attack against him for declining to create custom cakes that express messages or celebrate events in violation of his faith.
The same attorney who filed an unsuccessful complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission in 2017 commenced the lawsuit Scardina v. Masterpiece Cakeshop last month over the same custom cake request. The commission filed charges against Phillips but abandoned the claim in the wake of more evidence of the state’s hostility toward religious freedom—hostility that the U.S. Supreme Court had first condemned in a separate lawsuit that began years earlier but that Phillips won last year.
The attorney could have appealed the commission’s decision to drop its action on the 2017 complaint but instead filed a new lawsuit in state court in order to seek monetary damages of more than $100,000 against Phillips in addition to legal fees. The same attorney has also asked Phillips to create a custom cake depicting satanic themes and images.
“It’s time to move on and leave Jack alone. This new lawsuit is nothing more than an activist’s attempt to harass and ruin Jack because he won’t create custom cakes that express messages or celebrate events in conflict with his conscience,” said ADF Senior Vice President of U.S. Legal Division Kristen Waggoner, who argued on behalf of Phillips before the U.S. Supreme Court. “Jack’s victory at the Supreme Court was great news for everyone. Tolerance for good-faith differences of opinion is essential. It’s the only way for diverse people with differing views to peacefully coexist. This attorney’s relentless pursuit of Jack is an obvious attempt to punish him for his views, banish him from the public square, and bankrupt him and his shop.”
The request was for a custom-designed cake, pink on the inside and blue on the outside, to reflect and celebrate a gender transition. Phillips’ shop declined that request because the customer specifically requested that the cake express messages and celebrate an event in conflict with Phillips’ religious beliefs. The decision was not because of the person who requested it. Phillips would not create a cake expressing the requested message no matter who asked for it.
“Phillips wants to peacefully live out his faith as a cake artist by serving all people while declining to express messages that violate his beliefs,” the motion to dismiss filed Monday, July 22 explains. “After losing in court, the state was content to leave Phillips alone to do just that. But Scardina won’t allow it. Phillips requests that the Court dismiss the complaint so that he can return to the life he had before the state and Scardina targeted him and his faith.”
— CNJ staff report