DENVER – A Lakewood, Colorado, bakery owner has appealed to the Colorado Court of Appeals an order from the state’s Civil Rights Commission that he take his employees through a mandatory re-education process because of his religious objections to promoting same-sex marriage, which the state constitution does not recognize.
The Alliance Defending Freedom, who represents Masterpiece Cakeshop artist Jack Phillips, says the order by state bureaucrats requires Phillips to “re-educate” his employees so that they “endorse all views.” Phillips also must file quarterly reports for two years proving that the “re-education” has been implemented.
“Americans should not be forced by the government – or by another citizen – to endorse or promote ideas with which they disagree,” said lead counsel Nicolle Martin, one of more than 2,400 attorneys allied with Alliance Defending Freedom.
“This is not about the people who asked for a cake; it’s about the message the cake communicates. Just as Jack doesn’t create baked works of art for other events with which he disagrees, he doesn’t create cake art for same-sex ceremonies regardless of who walks in the door to place the order.”
Two homosexuals filed a complaint with the state agency after Phillips declined to produce a cake celebrating same-sex marriage. According to the records in the case, he explained he doesn’t produce such cakes because of his religious beliefs, just as he does not produce cakes celebrating Halloween, which he considers pagan.
“In America, we don’t force artists to create expression that is contrary to their convictions,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “A paint artist who identifies as homosexual shouldn’t be intimidated into creating a painting that celebrates one-man, one-woman marriage. A pro-life photographer shouldn’t be forced to work a pro-abortion rally. And Christian cake artists shouldn’t be punished for declining to participate in a same-sex ceremony or promote its message.”
It was back in 2012 when Charlie Craig and David Mullins asked Phillips to make a wedding cake to celebrate their same-sex ceremony.
“In an exchange lasting about 30 seconds, Phillips politely declined, explaining that he would gladly make them any other type of baked item they wanted but that he could not make a cake promoting a same-sex ceremony because of his faith,” ADF said.
“Jack, and other cake artists like him – such as those seen on TV shows like ‘Ace of Cakes’ and ‘Cake Boss’ – prepare unique creations that are inherently expressive,” Tedesco said. “Jack invests many hours in the wedding cake creative process, which includes meeting the clients, designing and sketching the cake, and then baking, sculpting, and decorating it. The ACLU [which is representing the homosexual duo] calls Jack a mere ‘retail service provider,’ but, in fact, he is an artist who uses his talents and abilities to create expression that the First Amendment fully protects.”
The appeal contends the determination from a state administrative law judge was incorrect and that the commission lined up in concurrence with his mistakes.
It notes that the bakery owner did not discriminate because of “sexual orientation,” and he “acted in accordance with the provisions” of state law and public policy in Colorado.
The appeal argues Phillips and the other appellants are “protected by the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and by Article II, Section 10 of the Colorado Constitution from being forced to use their artistic talents to design and create expression they disagree with, here in the form of a wedding cake celebrating a same-sex union.”
ADF, in an earlier legal filing, warned that Colorado’s “government seeks “to impose a new belief system upon Jack [Phillips], one that is fundamentally at odds with his conscience and his liberty.”
It was Administrative Law Judge Robert Spencer who ordered Phillips, on pain of fines or even jail time, to provide the wedding cake to homosexuals.
Spencer was wrong, ADF contended, because “the ALJ’s recommendation that respondents ‘[c]ease and desist from discriminating against complainants and other same-sex couples by refusing to sell them wedding cakes or any other product respondents would provide to heterosexual couples’ is overbroad and exceeds the scope of relief authorized [under state law].”
KDVR-TV in Denver said homosexuals Mullins and Craig went to the bakery for a cake for their “wedding,” which was scheduled to be in Massachusetts.
A staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, which advocates for the homosexuals, said the treatment the homosexuals received had to be given priority over the nation’s First Amendment religious-freedom protections.
ADF attorneys say the case cuts to the basics of freedom in America.
“Jack simply exercised the long-cherished freedom to not speak by declining to promote a false view of marriage through his creative work. It’s outrageous that the government would turn its guns on Jack and threaten him with a potential jail sentence unless he says and does what the government demands,” Martin has said.
Phillips told WND he also would refuse to make certain other kinds of cakes based on conscience.
“If a couple were to come in and ask me to do an erotic cake for a wedding, I would refuse to do that as well,” he said. “These are my personal standards taken from Jesus Christ and the Bible.”
Spencer’s ruling said Phillips’ constitutional rights are secondary, because otherwise the “cost to society” isn’t considered. He granted homosexuals a special standard.
But the ACLU, which is representing the duo, said the same standard should not be used in other circumstances, such as asking a Muslim baker to make a cake criticizing his faith or asking a black cake maker to make a cake for the KKK.
Those bakers, because of their beliefs, would be allowed to refuse service, Spencer said.