Do you remember Masterpiece Cakeshop? The Colorado bakery made headlines last year after the Supreme Court sided with its Christian owner and against “social justice” activists — and the shop just got even more good news.
On Tuesday, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission finally dismissed its administrative action against Masterpiece Cakeshop and its owner, Jack Phillips. As part of a settlement, Phillips in return ended a court case that he had filed against Colorado, meaning that the long saga is finally coming to an end.
“Today is a win for freedom. I’m very grateful and looking forward to serving my customers as I always have: with love and respect,” Phillips told Fox News, clearly relieved that the ordeal was over.
The controversy surrounding Masterpiece Cakeshop began back in 2012 when Phillips declined to supply custom cakes for a gay wedding between residents Charlie Craig and David Mullins.
Phillips cited his religious beliefs for not being part of the wedding but indicated that he didn’t hold any ill will toward gay couples.
“I have and will always serve everyone who comes into my shop,” Phillips explained to Fox. “I simply can’t celebrate events or express messages that conflict with my religious beliefs.”
The state of Colorado stepped in, sanctioning the baker and essentially saying that he had no choice but to contribute his services to the wedding, which went against his religious beliefs.
The squabble then escalated when a liberal activist, a transgender lawyer named Autumn Scardina, ordered a cake celebrating transgender issues. In a move that seemed to be purposely meant to rile the Christian baker and cause controversy, Scardina allegedly also ordered a cake with satanic imagery.
But in 2018, the Supreme Court weighed in on the case. A majority of the high court justices sided with the owner of the shop and scolded Colorado for being hostile toward Phillips’ constitutionally-protected religious freedoms.
“The State’s interest could have been weighed against Phillips’ sincere religious objections in a way consistent with the requisite religious neutrality that must be strictly observed,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion.
“(T)he Commission’s consideration of Phillips’ case was neither tolerant nor respectful of Phillips’ religious beliefs,” the Supreme Court found.
That view was bolstered by evidence, which seemed to show that state officials were openly hostile to Christian religious beliefs, despite the First Amendment.
Attorneys from the Alliance Defending Freedom, a group that defended Phillips, “said they uncovered statements from a 2018 public meeting in which two commissioners voiced their support for comments that a previous commissioner, Diann Rice, made in 2015, calling religious freedom ‘a despicable piece of rhetoric,'” Fox News reported.
Multiple commissioners in Colorado seemed to stand by the comments calling constitutionally-protected religious freedom “despicable.”
Legal representatives of the cake shop owner said that they were, of course, pleased that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission is finally dropping its case against Phillips, but expressed frustration that the entire situation happened in the first place.
“While it finally appears to be getting the message that its anti-religious hostility has no place in our country, the state’s decision to target Jack has cost him more than six-and-a-half years of his life, forcing him to spend that time tied up in legal proceedings,” an Alliance Defending Freedom representative said.
This will likely not be the last time conservative Christians find themselves at odds with activists, but for now, it looks like religious liberty has prevailed.
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