Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Colorado and Masterpiece Cakeshop Agree To End Their Litigation

In a press release yesterday, the Colorado Attorney General's Office announced that the state and Masterpiece Cakeshop have agreed to end their battle over the right of a bakery owner to refuse to design cakes celebrating LGBT events. As previously reported, while the U.S. Supreme Court appeal involving Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillip's refusal to design a cake for a same-sex wedding ceremony was pending, another customer, Autumn Scardina, sought a cake from Masterpiece Cakeshop to celebrate her gender transition. Phillips refused and the Commission issued a probable cause determination.  In response, Phillips filed a federal lawsuit claiming that the Commission was targeting him in violation of his constitutional rights.  In yesterday's announcement, the state said:
Under the terms of the agreement, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission will voluntarily dismiss the state administrative action against Masterpiece Cakeshop and its owner, Jack Phillips, and Mr. Phillips will voluntarily dismiss his federal court case against the State.... This agreement does not affect the ability of Autumn Scardina ... to pursue a claim on her own.
“After careful consideration of the facts, both sides agreed it was not in anyone’s best interest to move forward with these cases. The larger constitutional issues might well be decided down the road, but these cases will not be the vehicle for resolving them. Equal justice for all will continue to be a core  value that we will uphold as we enforce our state’s and nation’s civil rights laws,” said [Attorney General] Weise...
ADF, which represents Phillips, issued a press release yesterday saying that the dismissal of litigation comes "in the wake of newly discovered evidence of the state’s ongoing hostility toward religious freedom."