UPDATE (June 5, 2018). In a 7-2 opinion, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Colorado cake artist Jack Phillips and reversed the state’s decision to punish Mr. Phillips for his religious beliefs about marriage. Specifically, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had ordered Phillips to design custom wedding cakes celebrating same-sex marriages and to re-educate his staff on the law and the requirement to design such cakes. Phillips filed suit and four years later can now once again design wedding cakes.
In the words of Justice Anthony Kennedy, “the Commission’s consideration of Phillips’ case was neither tolerant nor respectful of his religious rights.” The case leaves open various legal questions surrounding the First Amendment, but given that there is no shortage of similar cases, we are hopeful to the Supreme Court will more fully address these issues. SLF stands ready to defend the First Amendment through direct litigation and amicus support.
Click here for SCOTUS decision
WASHINGTON, DC (Sept. 7, 2017): Southeastern Legal Foundation, joined by a prominent group of international law scholars, filed an amicus brief supporting Jack Phillips – the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado - who is being prosecuted for declining to make a custom cake celebrating a same-sex wedding due to his religious beliefs.
The Colorado Civil Rights Commission ruled that Mr. Phillips engaged in sexual orientation discrimination in violate of state law and rejected his First Amendment defenses, ordering him to create the custom cake.
Mr. Phillips petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for review and the Court will now address whether Colorado’s state law which compels Mr. Phillips to create expression that violates his sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage violates the Free Speech or Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment. SLF’s amicus brief details the history of the First Amendment and the protection it provides for those who dissent with a prevailing line of thought, and urges the Supreme Court to not abandon its precedent on the issue and our country’s legal tradition in favor of a restrictive view of the free speech and free exercise similar to that of European countries and Canada.
Click here for SLF's Supreme Court brief