The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday morning in the case involving a Christian cake baker who is fighting for his right to not be forced to express a message that violates his religious beliefs.
Cake artist Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop delivered the following statement during a news conference Thursday.
Good morning! I’m Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado. I serve all who walk through my doors, people from all walks of life. I’ve spent many years honing my craft as a cake artist, combining baking with my love of sculpting, painting, and sketching. And I love my craft because a cake is a canvas on which I express ideas, celebrate events, and bring joy to people’s lives.
One of my favorite parts of my job has always been designing and creating wedding cakes. They allow me to use my artistic vision to create works of art that are beautiful and distinctive and that mark the beginning of something sacred.
Though I serve everyone who comes into my shop, like many other creative professionals, I don’t create custom designs for events or messages that conflict with my conscience. I don’t create cakes that celebrate Halloween, promote sexual or anti-American themes, or disparage people, including individuals who identify as LGBT. For me, it’s never about the person making the request. It’s about the message the person wants the cake to communicate.
I am here at the Supreme Court today because I respectfully declined to create a custom cake that would celebrate a view of marriage in direct conflict with my faith’s core teachings on marriage. I offered to sell the two gentlemen suing me anything else in my shop or to design a cake for them for another occasion.
For that decision, which was guided by an established set of religious beliefs, I’ve endured a five-year court battle. It’s been very hard on me and my family. There have been tears and many difficult days for us. We have faced death threats and harassment. I’ve had to stop creating the wedding art that I love, which means we’ve lost much of our business—so much so, that we are now struggling to pay our bills and keep the shop afloat.
It’s hard to believe that the government is forcing me to choose between providing for my family and employees and violating my relationship with God. That is not freedom. That is not tolerance.
I’m profoundly thankful to the Supreme Court of the United States for taking my case. I hope and pray it will affirm the freedom of artists to peacefully express themselves in ways consistent with who they are.