The Supreme Court will hear the case of a Colorado bakery who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.
Back in 2012, Jack Phillips, the owner of the Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, maintained that making a wedding cake for Charlie Craig and David Mullins would violate his religious belief that marriage is between one man and one woman.
He was charged with violating Colorado’s anti-discrimination law, which bars businesses from denying service to customers based on race, religion, sex or sexual orientation. Phillips appealed but the Colorado Supreme Court declined to hear his case, so, in July 2016, he filed a petition with the Supreme Court.
“I’m not running a sandwich shop or a café, and I’m not just a cake baker,” Phillips said last year. “I’m also a cake artist. And, like all artists, I communicate messages through what I create. It’s not about selling cookies or cupcakes—it’s about investing some part of my creative soul into communicating an idea my heart rejects.”
He’s also reportedly refused to make cakes that celebrate Halloween, that have an “anti-American or anti-family theme,” or that have profane messages. (While his appeal was being considered, Phillips stopped making wedding cakes altogether.)
Phillips is being represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, which has previously defended the Boy Scouts’ ban on gay troop leaders, California’s Prop 8 and a wedding photographer who refused to shoot a civil union.
There is no federal anti-discrimination law protecting LGBT Americans, but 21 states have public accommodation laws that protect gays and lesbians. At the same time, several states have enacted so-called “religious freedom” laws that protect businesses and individuals who discriminate against LGBT Americans.
The case, which will be heard in the fall, will doubtless have a massive impact on the ongoing issue.
The high court was previously slated to hear the case of Gavin Grimm, the trans teen suing his Virginia school district for the right to use the men’s bathroom, but later decided to send the case back to the lower court.