Jack Phillips, a Christian baker in Colorado, ended up in court after two homosexuals complained to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission that he’d refused to make a custom “wedding” cake for them. Phillips serves all kinds of people, and anyone can buy any pre-made cake in the store. But he didn’t want to use his artistic talents to make custom cakes for services that conflicted with his faith. Phillips has said he won’t make custom Halloween or bachelor party-themed cakes.
The Commission sided with the homosexuals and ruled that Phillips had discriminated against them. His rights were of lesser concern to the Commission. It ordered staff re-education training, store policy changes, and quarterly reports to the government. Phillips appealed. And lost again.
Phillips asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear his case. The court ruled in 2018 that the Commission had treated Phillips’s religious beliefs with hostility and violated the Free Exercise Clause. In the 7-2 decision, liberal Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan joined the conservatives. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented. The decision, while a victory for Phillips, was narrow in scope. The court didn’t rule definitively under what circumstances religious business owners can claim exemption from being compelled by their government to bake cakes, arrange flowers, or take photographs for such “weddings.”
Despite his high court win, Phillips is still in litigation. A lawyer pretending to be a woman asked Phillips to make a custom “transitioning” cake, and he declined. The man complained to the Commission, which eventually dismissed his case. The man filed a lawsuit, and a court dismissed one of the claims in what sounds like a frivolous and harassing lawsuit.
But Phillips has reason to celebrate. Regnery will publish his book, The Cost of My Faith How a Decision in My Cake Shop Took Me to the Supreme Court, on May 25.
People have asked Phillips why he didn’t just bake the cake. Doing so would have made his life easier. He reveals the answer in his book, which is available for pre-order.