Here we go again.
Despite the fact that the United States Supreme Court ruled this past June that the state of Colorado had violated Masterpiece Cakes owner Jack Phillips’ freedom of religion, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission has once again notified the beleaguered baker that he has violated Colorado law for declining to create a cake symbolizing a gender “transition.”
We’re finding out that it all started in June of 2017 when a transgender activist attorney began a series of communications with Masterpiece Cakeshop asking for certain kinds of cakes: one celebrating the attorney’s “transition” from male to female (with blue icing on the outside, pink on the inside), others celebrating Satanic messages or containing graphic sexual imagery.
Jack declined to bake those cakes, but offered to sell the attorney any cake on his shelf.
The activist attorney filed a complaint on June 26, 2017, with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission alleging Jack violated the Colorado non-discrimination law regarding public accommodations – Specifically that Jack discriminated against him on the basis that he was (1) a female; and (2) transgender. The Commission took no further action until June 2018, although we’re just learning of the ruling this week.
In response, Jack and Alliance Defending Freedom have filed a lawsuit of their own, in federal district court, asking for an injunction preventing the Commission from pursuing its latest charges against Jack.
Without question, the State of Colorado is again treating a vindicated Christian baker in a deplorable manner. It’s outrageous for Colorado’s state government to go after Jack Phillips a second time, after it has only recently suffered an embarrassing defeat from the U.S. Supreme Court on virtually the exact same issue.
The Colorado Civil Rights Commission has “doubled down” on its unconstitutional treatment of Jack Phillips by charging him with LGBT discrimination again, rather than dismissing the current complaint filed by a transgender activist attorney.
The Commission has already acknowledged – and defended – the rights of other bakers who refused to create cakes with objectionable messages. It cannot now simply ignore those actions – a double standard of treatment which the U.S. Supreme Court relied on in vindicating Jack’s rights once already.
The Commission, by ignoring this double standard element of the Masterpiece decision, shows that it still holds anti-religious animus toward Jack in pursuing him a second time.
Adding insult to injury is the fact this wasn’t a sincere complaint of discrimination. Instead, it’s a “test case” – the transgender activist attorney appeared to be setting Jack up for this claim. Test cases are fine, but when a baker like Jack has already spent years in the courts defending his rights, and lost 40% of his business because of government overreach, piling on with new claims like this is operating in bad faith. This is simply unacceptable behavior by the Commission.
The federal courts should end this injustice and halt the Commission’s proceedings immediately. The Colorado legislature should also take the initiative to rein in this bureaucratic body run amok. The Commission’s hostility to religious freedom must end now.