Attorney General Paxton filed a multistate amicus brief in the Colorado Supreme Court to defend Jack Phillips, who runs the Masterpiece Cakeshop, after he was wrongfully brought to court again for allegedly violating Colorado’s anti-discrimination law. Phillips has now spent the past decade defending his First Amendment rights.
“I am profoundly disheartened by the targeted harassment experienced by baker Jack Phillips on the basis of his religion,” said Attorney General Paxton. “His victimization is emblematic of a growing, un-American attempt to impose ideological conformity on our citizens. The Constitution protects us from coerced speech and expression. Courts deciding otherwise risk plunging our nation into totalitarianism.”
In 2012, Phillips declined to bake a custom wedding cake for a same-sex couple and was censured by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission for discrimination. After a number of legal proceedings, the U.S Supreme Court eventually ruled that the Commission acted with “hostility” to Phillips’ “religious viewpoint.”
However, on the very same day that the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, a transgender attorney, Autumn Scardina, called Phillips to ask him to create a cake with a pink interior and a blue exterior to reflect the attorney’s “transition from male-to-female.” After Phillips refused, Scardina sued, and the Colorado courts once again found Phillips liable for discrimination.
The Arkansas-led amicus brief highlights the importance of states stepping up to defend the religious freedoms of all Americans: “The Amici States have an important interest in ensuring that people are not denied equal access to publicly available goods and services. But they are also interested in ensuring that persons providing such goods and services are not compelled to speak. Indeed, our federal Constitution protects the providers of goods and services—like anyone else—from being required to express a particular viewpoint. The Amici States seek to ensure that antidiscrimination policy does not trump that constitutionally protected right.”
To read the full amicus brief, click here.