DENVER, January 9, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) — A Colorado cake artist who was ordered to make cakes for same-sex ceremonies has filed an appeal, asserting his religous rights under the First Amendment. In December, Judge Robert Spencer of the Colorado Administrative Law Court ruled that the cake artist must bake cakes for same-sex “wedding” ceremonies – and then prove that he has complied.
In July 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins asked Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, to make 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 make 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.
“America was founded on the fundamental freedom of all citizens to live and work without fear of government punishment,” said lead counsel Nicolle Martin, who is allied with Alliance Defending Freedom. “Jack simply exercised the long-cherished freedom to not speak by declining to promote a false view of marriage through his creative work. It’s outrageous that the government would turn its guns on Jack and threaten him with a potential jail sentence unless he says and does what the government demands.”
ADF’s summary judgment brief in the case explains that “the government and complainants seek to impose a new belief system upon Jack, one that is fundamentally at odds with his conscience and his liberty. Complainants and the government want this court to order Jack Phillips to cease and desist from holding views about marriage that they disagree with, and conform his conscience to their definition of marriage,” Moreover, “The government is unconstitutionally attempting to force Jack to violate his sincerely held religious beliefs and to compel him to speak a message that is contrary to his actual beliefs.”
“Every artist must be free to create work that expresses what he or she believes and not be forced to express contrary views,” added Senior Counsel Kristen Waggoner. “Forcing Americans to promote ideas against their will undermines our constitutionally protected freedom of expression and our right to live free. If the government can take away our First Amendment freedoms, there is nothing it can’t take away.”