Congressman Steve King, Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, releases the following photo and statement after appearing today at a rally held in front of the United States Supreme Court on behalf of Jack Phillips, a Colorado cake baker. Phillips has been sanctioned by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission for refusing to design cakes for same-sex ceremonies. Phillips contends that Colorado’s efforts to force him to do so violate his First Amendment right to freely exercise his sincere religious convictions. King appeared at a “Justice for Jack” rally to express his support for Mr. Phillips’ First Amendment right to operate his small business in a manner consistent with his religious beliefs.
“I am urging the United States Supreme Court to say ‘I Do’ to the First Amendment by respecting this wedding cake baker’s right to operate his small business in a manner which is consistent with the free exercise of his religious beliefs even if that means the baker will choose not to produce cakes for same-sex ceremonies,” said King. “The right to freely exercise one’s religion is an explicit right in the First Amendment, whereas the Founding Fathers would have scoffed at the suggestion that a State could punish a baker who refused to violate his conscience by supplying cakes for a same-sex ceremony. The Supreme Court needs to return to reading the Constitution with the meaning it holds as ratified by ‘We the People,’ or maybe a Constitutional amendment should be introduced that will allow ‘We the People’ to start directly voting on who gets to sit on the Supreme Court.”
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. V. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.
Jack Phillips is a cake artist and owner of “Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd.” Phillips believes the State of Colorado is violating his First Amendment right to freely exercise his religious beliefs by requiring him either to participate in the design of cakes for same-sex wedding ceremonies or to face state mandated penalties for refusing to do so. The State of Colorado asserts it has the right to assess fines and require “comprehensive staff training” of cake shop employees if Phillips refuses to decorate cakes requested for same-sex weddings.
Mr. Phillips, in operating his business, chooses not to decorate cakes in a manner which conflicts with his Christian faith. In fact, Phillips does not decorate cakes that celebrate Halloween, that promote atheism, that celebrate divorce, or that contain anti-LGBT messages. He is seeking a ruling from the United States Supreme Court that strengthens the First Amendment rights of all Americans by protecting his right to freely exercise his religious beliefs while running his small business.