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Artistic expression at stake in Colo. cake artist case

ADF attorneys, allied attorneys available to media following Colorado Civil Rights Commission hearing
Published On: 5/30/2014

WHO: Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys and allied attorneys

WHAT: Available for media interviews concerning Craig v. Masterpiece Cakeshop after public hearing

WHEN: Friday, May 30, immediately following hearing, which begins at 10 a.m. MDT

WHERE: Colorado Civil Rights Commission, Colorado State Capitol, 200 E. Colfax Ave., Old Supreme Court Chambers, Room 220, Denver


DENVER — Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys and allied attorneys representing a Lakewood, Colo., cake artist who declined to use his creative talents to promote and endorse a same-sex ceremony will be available for media interviews following a public hearing Friday at the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

In December of last year, the Colorado Administrative Law Court ruled that Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, must design cakes for same-sex wedding ceremonies and then prove that he has complied with the coerced speech order. ADF attorneys and allied attorneys appealed in January and filed their opening brief on appeal in April.

“In America, we don’t separate a person’s creative expression from what he believes,” said lead counsel Nicolle Martin, one of more than 2,300 attorneys allied with Alliance Defending Freedom. “Jack simply exercised the long-cherished American freedom to decline to use his artistry to promote a message with which he disagrees. The government should not force him to choose between his faith and his livelihood.”

“Every artist must be free to create work that expresses what he or she believes and not be forced to express contrary views,” added ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “The First Amendment protects our freedom to speak or not speak on any issue without fear of punishment by the government.”

In July 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins asked Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, to design a wedding cake to celebrate their same-sex ceremony. In an exchange lasting about 30 seconds, Phillips politely declined, explaining that he would gladly make them any other type of baked item they wanted but that he could not design a cake promoting a same-sex ceremony because of his faith. Craig and Mullins, now represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, immediately left the shop and later filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division.

“Jack, and other cake artists like him--such as those seen on TV shows like ‘Ace of Cakes’ and ‘Cake Boss’--prepare unique creations that are inherently expressive,” Tedesco explained. “Jack invests many hours in the wedding cake creative process, which includes meeting the clients, designing and sketching the cake, and then baking, sculpting, and decorating it. The ACLU calls Jack a mere ‘retail service provider,’ but, in fact, he is an artist who uses his talents and abilities to create expression that the First Amendment fully protects.”

Celebrity cake artists have written publicly about their art and the significant expressive work that goes into the artistic design process for wedding cakes.


  • Pronunciation guide: Tedesco (Tuh-DESS’-koh)


Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.


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