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Jack Phillips appeals decision that punishes him for not creating cake celebrating gender transition

ADF attorneys represent owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop
Jack Phillips 2017

DENVER – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing Masterpiece Cakeshop and its owner, cake artist Jack Phillips, filed a notice of appeal to the Colorado Court of Appeals late Monday in Scardina v. Masterpiece Cakeshop. A trial court issued a ruling in June that punished Phillips for declining to design a custom pink-and-blue cake celebrating a gender transition when asked to do so by an activist attorney.

“No one should be forced to express a message that violates their beliefs and conscience,” said ADF Legal Counsel Jake Warner. “Activists and government officials are targeting artists like Jack because they can’t promote messages on marriage and gender that violate their core beliefs. In this case, an activist attorney demanded that Jack Phillips create custom cakes in order to test Jack and to ‘correct the errors’ of his thinking, and the attorney even threatened to sue Jack again if the case is dismissed for any reason. This case and others like it represent a disturbing trend: Activists are weaponizing the legal system to ruin those who simply disagree with them. Someone you disagree with might be the one targeted today, but when political winds shift, it could just as easily be you or anyone else tomorrow.”

The attorney who filed suit requested a custom-designed cake, pink on the inside and blue on the outside, to reflect and celebrate a gender transition. Phillips’ shop declined that request because the customer specifically requested that the cake express messages and celebrate an event contrary to Phillips’ religious beliefs. The decision turned not on who was requesting the custom cake, but on what the cake would express. As the trial court found, Phillips would not create a cake expressing the requested message “for anyone.”

“Jack has been harassed for nearly a decade for living by his faith and making artistic decisions that artists have always made,” Warner explained. “That’s why we have appealed this decision and will continue to defend the freedom of all Americans to peacefully live and work according to their core convictions without fear of government punishment.”

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.


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Jake Warner
Jake Warner
Senior Counsel
Jake Warner serves as legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom’s Appellate Team.