Colorado officials dismissed the second case against baker Jack Phillips this week.
"This is a big win for Jack—and for religious freedom! Praise God! It has been a long, difficult journey for Jack. He has endured not only multiple drawn-out legal processes, but also hate mail, nasty phone calls and even death threats. Yet through it all, God has proven faithful. And now, we hope that Jack can finally move on," Sarah Kramer wrote for Alliance Defending Freedom, the organization that represented Phillips.
Phillips, a Christian baker who runs Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado, was thrust into the spotlight in 2017 for declining to make a cake for a same-sex wedding. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission claimed Phillips' decision violated the First Amendment.
The Supreme Court in 2018 rejected the state's decision.
"Still, the delicate question of when the free exercise of his religion must yield to an otherwise valid exercise of state power needed to be determined in an adjudication in which religious hostility on the part of the State itself would not be a factor in the balance the State sought to reach," Justice Anthony Kennedy said on behalf of the court. "That requirement, however, was not met here. When the Colorado Civil Rights Commission considered this case, it did not do so with the religious neutrality that the Constitution requires."
In 2018, Phillips was asked to create a cake celebrating a gender transition, and he refused. Once again, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission filed a lawsuit against Phillips.
According to ADF:
One of the commissioners called Jack a "hater" on social media. And two other commissioners voiced their support for comments that a previous commissioner, Diann Rice, made in 2015. Those comments, which the U.S. Supreme Court sternly condemned in its ruling in favor of Jack, called religious freedom "a despicable piece of rhetoric." The evidence of anti-religious hostility is so strong that in a discussion with a Colorado state legislator just a few months ago, one of the Commission's own members expressed the belief that "there is anti-religious bias on the Commission."
State officials said they tossed out the lawsuit because both sides "agreed it was not in anyone's best interest to move forward with these cases.
"The larger constitutional issues might well be decided down the road, but these cases will not be the vehicle for resolving them. Equal justice for all will continue to be a core value that we will uphold as we enforce our state's and nation's civil rights laws," said Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser. Weiser's office represents the commission and the director of the Colorado Civil Rights Division.
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