Attorney General Ken Paxton today led a 20-state coalition in filing an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of a Colorado cake artist’s constitutionally-protected right to religious liberty. The case is widely regarded as one of the most significant on the high court’s docket in the upcoming term.
Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, is appealing a state court decision he lost after he declined to create a cake for a same-sex marriage because of his deeply-held religious belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. In the past, the Supreme Court held that businesses run on religious principles may be exempted from generally applicable laws.
“The Supreme Court has the opportunity to affirm that the First Amendment contains robust protections for people who choose to operate their businesses consistent with their faith,” Attorney General Paxton said. “The owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop should be allowed to choose what he will or won’t create without fear of being unjustly punished by the government.”
Phillips routinely turns down business that promotes other messages that are also incompatible with his faith, such as racism and atheism. Nevertheless, his refusal to design a cake for a same-sex wedding was rejected by the Colorado Court of Appeals and that state’s Civil Rights Commission.
Texas is joined in the Supreme Court amicus brief by the attorneys general of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin, and Governor LePage of Maine.