by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Christian baker Jack Phillips and the Colorado Civil Rights Commission (CCRC) have resolved a legal dispute that set Phillips’ religious beliefs against the state’s public accommodations law.
The deal, announced Tuesday afternoon, provides that the Commission will close an ongoing anti-discrimination probe of Phillips’s Masterpiece Cakeshop if Phillips withdraws a federal lawsuit alleging state officials were subjecting him to a concerted campaign of harassment.
“After careful consideration of the facts, both sides agreed it was not in anyone’s best interest to move forward with these cases,” Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said in a statement. “The larger constitutional issues might well be decided down the road, but these cases will not be the vehicle for resolving them.”
The Supreme Court found that the Commission’s first action against Phillips was infected with anti-religious animus. The June 2018 judgment was 7-2. The case arose when Phillips refused to create a custom wedding cake for a gay couple, Charlie Craig and David Mullins. …
… The state issued a second probable cause finding against Phillips three weeks after the high court’s ruling. In that instance, a prospective customer called Autumn Scardina filed a complaint after Phillips declined to create a cake celebrating a gender transition, consistent with his beliefs about the immutability of sex.
Phillips believes Scardina made other requests for custom baked goods, including cakes featuring dildos and images of the occult.
In turn, Phillips sued nine state officials, alleging a number of constitutional violations. His lawsuit argued the CCRC was enabling harassment of his business by pursuing complaints from possible bad faith actors.