Southeastern Legal Foundation supports Masterpiece Cakeshop First Amendment challenge

DENVER, CO (Dec. 15, 2023): Southeastern Legal Foundation (SLF), together with Mountain States Legal Foundation (MSLF), Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFP), and Manhattan Institute, filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court of Colorado supporting baker Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop who is represented by Alliance Defending Freedom. Several years ago, Phillips’ case went up to the United States Supreme Court when he declined to bake a cake celebrating same-sex marriage because it violated his religious beliefs. The Supreme Court ruled that the State of Colorado had been hostile to Phillips and failed to treat him neutrally as required by the First Amendment.

Phillips is now appealing another case to the Supreme Court of Colorado. This time, the state is trying to force him to create a cake celebrating transgenderism.

But as SLF and its fellow organizations write in their brief, even cake-baking is protected speech because it conveys a message. The Supreme Court has held time and time again that the government cannot force individuals to express views they do not believe. A cake celebrating transgenderism conveys a message of support for the idea that sex and gender are unrelated, malleable concepts. Phillips does not support that belief and should not be forced to express it in his work.

Director of SLF Litigation Braden Boucek states, “Colorado is plainly violating the First Amendment. We support Mr. Phillips’s challenge because his First Amendment rights do not end just because he is participating in the marketplace. He is entitled to engage in speech in the markets free from government interference and overreach.”

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