In 2012, two men came into Jack’s shop and asked him to design a wedding cake for their same-sex marriage.
Jack kindly explained that he could not design a custom cake to celebrate a same-sex wedding. Like millions of people across the globe and throughout history, he affirms the biblical teaching that marriage is the sacred union of a man and a woman. He could not design the requested cake because that would force him to violate his conscience.
But Jack told the men that he would sell them anything else in the shop or make a custom cake for them for another occasion.
Unsatisfied, the men swore at Jack and left. He endured weeks of threatening phone calls and emails. But that was only the beginning. Jack eventually received a letter from the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. He was being sued, accused of violating the state’s nondiscrimination laws.
When the commission ruled against Jack, he knew that the real issue was not “discrimination” but whether he would be forced by the state to violate his conscience.
“I haven't singled out that one issue as something I won't do,” Jack says. “I don't make cakes for bachelor parties, I don't make Halloween cakes, or anything involving witchcraft.” And he even declined to create a three-tiered wedding cake, split right down the middle, to celebrate a divorce.
Jack was ordered by the state to use his talents to celebrate same-sex weddings in violation of his sincerely held religious beliefs so long as he continues to design wedding cakes. He was also told to reeducate his staff, and to file quarterly compliance reports with the state for two years.
Throughout the entire journey, Alliance Defending Freedom and Allied Attorneys have been defending Jack in court, free of charge.
Alliance Defending Freedom can only defend Jack and others like him because friends of religious freedom from across the country give generously to support our work.
And as the facts of Jack’s case demonstrate, that work has never been more needed. One of the commissioners who ruled in Jack’s case went so far as to refer to Jack’s request to affirm his religious freedom as a “despicable piece of rhetoric.”