WASHINGTON – On 5 December 2017, cake artist Jack Phillips provided a statement to the media at a news conference following oral arguments in his case before the U.S. Supreme Court, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. ADF Senior Counsel Kristen Waggoner joined Philips. She also argued on behalf of Phillips before the high court, and ADF CEO, President, and General Counsel Michael Farris. Floral artist Barronelle Stutzman, who has asked the Supreme Court to hear her similar case, also provided a statement.
“Artists shouldn’t be forced to express what the government dictates,” said Waggoner. “The commission ordered Jack to celebrate what his faith prohibits or to stop doing the work he loves. The Supreme Court has never compelled artistic expression, and doing so here would lead to less civility, diversity, and freedom for everyone, no matter their views on marriage.”
The case reached the U.S. Supreme Court after the Colorado Supreme Court declined to review a Colorado Court of Appeals ruling in the case. That ruling affirmed a Colorado Civil Rights Commission decision from May 2014 that ordered Phillips to design custom wedding cakes celebrating same-sex marriages if he creates other wedding cakes.
The commission’s order also required Phillips to re-educate his staff, most of whom are his family members—essentially teaching them that he was wrong to operate his business according to his faith. He must also report to the government for two years, describing all cakes that he declines to create and the reasons why. Because the order has forced Phillips to stop designing wedding cakes, he has lost approximately 40 percent of his income and is struggling to keep his small business afloat. (#JusticeForJack)
ADF attorneys filed their final brief in the case with the Supreme Court on 22 November.
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