Jack is back. On Friday, June 8, around 400 supporters gathered outside of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado to celebrate the major Supreme Court victory of its owner, Jack Phillips.
Almost six years ago, Jack declined to design a custom cake celebrating a same-sex wedding because creating that would have violated his religious convictions about marriage.
The result of this simple action was a long legal battle against the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which punished Jack for allegedly discriminating. In December 2013, the commission ruled that Jack must design cakes celebrating same-sex weddings or get out of the wedding business entirely. The Commission also ordered Jack to “re-educate” his staff, most of whom are his own family members, explaining to them that it is wrong for him to act on his religious beliefs about marriage.
As a result, Jack lost 40 percent of his business and half of his employees, and he received numerous death threats and targeted harassment.
It has been a long and difficult journey. But on Monday, June 4, his case came to a victorious close when the Court ruled 7-2 in Jack’s favor. “I am profoundly thankful that the Court saw the injustice that the government inflicted on me,” Jack said to his supporters. “This is a great day for our family, for our shop, and for people of all faiths, who should not fear government hostility or unjust punishment.”
The crowd chanted: “Jack is back” and “Love free speech!” So many well-wishers showed up to Masterpiece Cakeshop that they were sold out of most items by noon. Friends volunteered at the cash register when the crowds became too big for the staff to handle.
Despite the large influx of customers, Jack took time to offer free cookies to the crowds of people outside his shop, including a small group of about a dozen protestors – offering more proof that Jack serves everyone. The protestors politely (and some not-so-politely) declined the cookies.
Jack said he felt “overwhelmed” by the community’s support. “The Court’s decision reaffirmed that Jack is a part of this community too,” said ADF attorney Jeremy Tedesco. “It was wrong for Colorado officials to bully and banish him from the marketplace for peacefully living out his beliefs about marriage.”
For Jack, his employees, his family, and his community, it is good to be back.
Chike’s case was an important victory for free speech on college campuses. But, unfortunately, college officials still have other ways to avoid accountability.