A cake shop is filing an appeal in its religious liberty case, citing a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that found a web designer could not be forced to create same sex wedding sites as a matter of free speech.
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) attorneys filed a supplemental notice Tuesday with the Colorado Supreme Court asking it to apply that ruling and thus affirm the First Amendment rights of cake artist Jack Phillips and Masterpiece Cakeshop, said ADF in a statement.
The U.S. Supreme Court previously found that Colorado’s anti-discrimination laws violate Phillips’ religious rights, but the attorneys are asking the state court to find those laws also violate free speech rights.
“Free speech is for everyone. As the Supreme Court recently reaffirmed in 303 Creative, the government can’t force Americans to say things they don’t believe,” said ADF Senior Counsel Jake Warner. “That ruling makes clear that public accommodation laws like Colorado’s can remain firmly in place, but the government can’t misuse those laws to compel Jack to create custom art expressing messages he does not believe.”
In the web designer case, 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, the U.S. Supreme Court found that a website designer could not be compelled to create same sex wedding sites because free speech rights also include the right not to spread a message.
The Masterpiece Cakeshop case involves an activist, transgender attorney who requested the baker make a cake that celebrated transgender transition.
“I designed the cake and told him it was going to be a pink cake with blue frosting,” said attorney Autumn Scardina, according to local ABC News Denver 7. “At that point, I shared with him that this cake to me is the celebration of both my birth, and the fact that I am transgender.”
Phillips at that point refused to make the cake.
Scardina afterwards called back and requested “another custom cake, one depicting Satan smoking marijuana” to force the point that Colorado’s public accommodation laws force people to help spread messages with which they don’t agree, according to the account by ADF.
Phillips declined both requests because the cakes expressed messages that violate his core beliefs.
Scardina then filed a lawsuit, “threatening to continue harassing Phillips until he is punished,” said ADF.
Phillips said that he would never refuse a request from a person based on their sexual orientation, but he believes the U.S. Constitution allows him to refuse to create a message that he doesn’t believe in.
“I’m just hopeful that it’s encouraging to everybody to understand what their rights are, and that the government shouldn’t be able to force people to speak messages or convey messages that they don’t want to express,” Phillips told Denver 7 about the recent appeal.