The Family Action Council of Tennessee (FACT) has joined 32 other family policy councils nationwide in filing a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of a Colorado baker accused of discrimination for declining to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding.
This fall, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the major, closely-watched case involving Jack Phillips and his family business, Masterpiece Cakeshop. The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled that a state law could force Phillips to create a custom cake that conveys a message contrary to what he believes as a Christian. Phillips and his attorneys petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the case.
The amicus brief was drafted by David French, an attorney and senior writer for National Review who lives in Columbia, about 45 miles south of Nashville.
In a letter to supporters, David Fowler, the president of FACT, said joining the amicus brief is in keeping with “our mission to defend free speech and religious liberty.”
The Supreme Court has received at least 45 friend-of-the-court briefs in support of the baker. The support comes from 479 creative professionals, 20 states including Tennessee, and 86 members of Congress, all Republicans. A variety of legal experts, civil rights advocates and religious groups have also filed briefs.
The Trump administration weighed in on the case last week when the Department of Justice filed a brief backing Phillips.
In July 2012, Phillips was asked by two men to bake a cake for their wedding reception before same-sex marriage even became legal in Colorado. The couple planned to marry in Massachusetts, where it was legal, and hold a reception in Denver. Phillips declined to design the cake because of his faith. The men filed a complaint with the state civil rights commission. The Colorado Court of Appeals upheld a decision by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.
“That decision ordered Phillips and his employees to design custom wedding cakes that celebrate same-sex marriages if the shop designs wedding cakes for opposite-sex marriages,” explains Alliance Defending Freedom. “It also required Phillips to re-educate his staff, most of whom are his family members—essentially telling them that he was wrong to operate his business according to his faith. He must also report to the government for two years, describing all cakes that he declines to create and the reasons why. As a result of the ruling, Phillips has lost an estimated 40 percent of his business.”
Fowler says the family councils’ amicus brief “celebrates the long-standing American tradition of allowing individuals and business owners to use their creative expressions in accordance with their conscience, free from government retribution.”
The entire brief can be read by clicking here.