Scardina v. Masterpiece Cakeshop
Description: The same attorney who filed an unsuccessful complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission in 2017 commenced a lawsuit in state court over the same custom cake request the attorney made at that time. The request was for a custom-designed cake, pink on the inside and blue on the outside, to reflect and celebrate a gender transition. Masterpiece Cakeshop declined that request because the customer specifically requested that the cake express messages and celebrate an event in conflict with owner Jack Phillips’ religious beliefs. The decision was not because of the person who requested it, as Phillips would not create a cake expressing the requested message no matter who asked for it.
Jack Phillips asks CO Court of Appeals to protect his right to create freely
WHO: Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys
WHAT: Available for media interviews following oral arguments in Scardina v. Masterpiece Cakeshop
WHEN: Immediately following hearing, which begins at 2:30 p.m. MDT, Wednesday, Oct. 5
WHERE: Colorado Court of Appeals, 1st floor, 2 E. 14th Ave., Denver, or watch online. To schedule an interview, contact ADF Media Relations Specialist Hattie Troutman at (771) 200-7630.
DENVER – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing Masterpiece Cakeshop and its owner, cake artist Jack Phillips, will be available for media interviews Wednesday following oral arguments at the Colorado Court of Appeals in Scardina v. Masterpiece Cakeshop. The appeal asks the court to uphold Phillips’ First Amendment rights after a trial court issued a ruling that punished Phillips for declining to design a custom cake celebrating a gender transition.
“No one should be forced to express a message that violates their beliefs and conscience,” said ADF Senior Counsel Jake Warner, who will be arguing before the court on behalf of Phillips. “Activists and state laws have threatened artists like Jack and graphic artist Lorie Smith because they can’t express messages on marriage and gender that violate their core beliefs. In this case, an activist attorney demanded that Jack create expressive cakes to test him and ‘correct the errors’ of his thinking. The attorney even promised to sue Jack again if the case is dismissed for any reason. Free speech is for everyone. The Constitution protects the freedom of every American to express ideas even if the government disagrees with those ideas.”
On the same day the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would hear Phillips’ previous case involving the custom creation of a cake celebrating a same-sex wedding—a case in which Phillips prevailed in 2018—the activist called Phillips’ business requesting that Phillips create a custom-designed cake, pink on the inside and blue on the outside, that would symbolize and celebrate a gender transition. Phillips’ shop declined that request because that cake expresses messages contrary to Phillips’ religious beliefs, and the activist filed this lawsuit. Phillips works with everyone and decides whether to take a project based on what message a cake expresses, not who is requesting it.
The other case that ADF attorneys are litigating in Colorado is 303 Creative v. Elenis, which is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. Both cases involve the same state law, which forces artists to express messages about marriage and gender that contradict their core beliefs and faith.
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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- Adam Liptak: Cake is his ‘art.’ So can he deny one to a gay couple? (New York Times, 2017-09-16)
- William McGurn: The Christian baker who said ‘no’ (Wall Street Journal, 2021-03-22)
- Fox & Friends: Interview with Jack Phillips and Kristen Waggoner (Fox News, 2021-03-25)
- Night Court with Shannon Bream: Interview with Jack Phillips and Kristen Waggoner (Fox News, 2021-03-27)
Previous News Releases
Jake Warner serves as senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, where he is a key member of the Center for Conscience Initiatives. Since joining ADF in 2017, Warner has focused on protecting the conscience rights of individuals being unjustly forced to compromise their beliefs under threat of heavy fines and punishment. His practice also includes defending the freedom of Christians to exercise their faith in the marketplace without government interference. Prior to joining ADF, Warner served as a judicial law clerk to Senior United States District Judge Malcolm J. Howard in the Eastern District of North Carolina. Before his clerkship, Warner also engaged in private practice with the firm of Perry, Perry & Perry, in Kinston, North Carolina, where he primarily represented criminal defendants in both federal and state courts. Warner earned his J.D. at the Regent University School of Law, graduating magna cum laude in 2011. He obtained his B.A. in history and political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2006. Warner is admitted to practice in Arizona, North Carolina, and the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as several federal district and appellate courts.
As the CEO, president, and general counsel of Alliance Defending Freedom, Kristen Waggoner leads the faith-based legal organization in protecting fundamental freedoms and promoting the inherent dignity of all people throughout the U.S. and around the world. Waggoner oversees the efforts of more than 400 ADF team members in seven global offices as well as 4,500 network attorneys engaged in litigation, legislation, training, funding, and public advocacy. ADF also provides legal counsel to over 3,500 churches and ministries through its Ministry Alliance program and defends the persecuted church in dozens of countries. Since 2011, ADF has won 14 cases at the U.S. Supreme Court, including serving on Mississippi’s legal team in the case that overturned Roe v. Wade. Waggoner successfully argued two of those cases, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission and Uzuebgunam v. Presczewski and will argue her third case before the Supreme Court in the fall of 2022. She is a Peer Review Rated AV® Preeminent™ attorney in Martindale-Hubbell, who clerked for Justice Richard B. Sanders of the Washington Supreme Court after law school and served in private practice in Seattle for nearly 20 years.