In a win for religious liberty, the state of Colorado has decided to drop its case against Christian baker Jack Phillips after years of legal hostility.
Phillips is the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop and was the leading figure in last summer’s 7-2 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned Colorado’s attempt to force him to create a cake for a same-sex wedding. The ruling was a win for both Phillips and religious liberty. Yet, less than a month later, another complaint was filed against him for his refusal to bake a cake that celebrated a transgender transition.
The state of Colorado picked up this complaint and once again charged that Phillips was in violation of anti-discrimination laws. Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) quickly joined his fight, filing a federal suit against outgoing Governor John Hickenlooper (D) and the state’s civil rights commission for religious persecution and refusal to acknowledge the Supreme Court ruling.
Last week ended the long legal battle as the state and Phillips came to an agreement to both dismiss their cases. “After careful consideration of the facts, both sides agreed it was not in anyone’s best interest to move forward with these cases,” stated Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser.
“We’re pleased that the state will be dismissing its case against Jack,” commented Kristen Waggoner, an ADF senior vice president. “While it finally appears to be getting the message that its anti-religious hostility has no place in our country, the state’s decision to target Jack has cost him more than six and a half years of his life, forcing him to spend that time tied up in legal proceedings.”
Phillips’ long struggle began back in 2012 when he turned down a request to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. He explained that his religious convictions would not allow him to fulfill the request, but recommended another baker in the area.
The couple filed a discrimination complaint with Colorado’s Civil Rights Division, which deemed Phillips guilty of violating the state’s anti-discrimination laws. Phillips’ appeal started the long legal journey that was ultimately decided by the Supreme Court.
“Today is a win for freedom,” Phillips declared in a statement. “I’m very grateful and looking forward to serving my customers as I always have: with love and respect.”
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