April 2019 Church & State Magazine - April 2019

Colorado Officials Drop New Inquiry Into Anti-LGBTQ Bakery

  Rob Boston

Officials in Colorado have agreed to drop a state inquiry into Masterpiece Cakeshop, a Lakewood bakery that refuses to make wedding cakes and other types of desserts for LGBTQ couples. In return, the bakery’s owner, Jack Phillips, has agreed to drop a lawsuit against the state.

The truce means the legal proceedings in the case will end. But several similar cases are still pending.

Phillips, who is represented by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a Religious Right legal group, was sanctioned by the state for violating a law that bans discrimination against LGBTQ residents after he refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. Phillips argued he had a right under religious freedom to refuse to provide the services. The case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled that state officials had exhibited bias toward Phillips. However, the high court did not rule that businesses have a broad religious-freedom right to refuse services to wide classes of people.

While that case was pending, a transgender resident of Colorado asked Phillips to make a cake, and he refused. A new investigation was opened. The ADF then sued the state, alleging harassment.

Under the terms of the settlement, both sides have agreed to pay their own legal fees.

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