Johnson, Hartzler Praise SCOTUS Decision to Protect First Amendment
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 7-2 ruling in favor of Jack Phillips inMasterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, fortifying our constitutionally protected rights and acknowledging that the government overstepped its bounds in punishing Phillips for operating his business according to his sincerely held religious beliefs.
In September 2017, Reps. Mike Johnson (LA-04) and Vicky Hartzler (MO-04) led an effort with 86 members of Congress to submit an amicus brief to help explain why Jack Phillips' right of conscience should be protected.
Rep. Johnson released the following statement:
"Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a historic ruling affirming the first freedom listed in the Bill of Rights--religious liberty. This victory for Jack Phillips, the Colorado baker who was compelled to shut down part of his business simply because he respectfully lived out his Christian faith, is a victory for every American. In this country, no government entity has the power to force a person to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs. To maintain a free society, we must ensure that even views disfavored by the government are still allowed. Tolerance is a two-way street.
“Jack loves all people, serves all people and happily sells his baked goods to all people. He simply had a humble, respectful objection that prevented him from using his artistic ability to create a cake for a ceremony that violated his Biblically-based beliefs. The Court recognized that if the government could force him to do so, it would violate more than two centuries on constitutional precedent and set a dangerous precedent for the rights of every American."
Rep. Hartzler released the following statement:
“Today’s decision is a landmark win for Jack Philips and Masterpiece Cakeshop. No one should be banished from the marketplace for peacefully living out his or her faith and for shaping best business practices accordingly. The First Amendment protects Jack’s deeply held beliefs in the sanctity of marriage and his ability to create art reflective of his convictions and conscience.
“Justice Kennedy delivered a solid 7-2 U.S. Supreme Court victory for men and women of all faiths across America. Hostility towards peoples of faith has no room in our society and the government should not punish Jack, or others like him, whose religious perspective differs from others’ perspectives.”
In 2012, two men entered Jack Phillips’ shop, Masterpiece Cakeshop, and asked Jack to design a wedding cake for their same-sex marriage. Because of his religious conviction that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, Jack told the couple that he would gladly sell them anything in his store or create a cake for them for another occasion, but would not design a custom cake to celebrate a same-sex marriage.
The couple filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, and in 2014, the commission determined that Phillips’ decision to live by his conscience was unlawful. The Colorado Court of Appeals upheld the commission’s ruling in 2015. Jack took his case to the Supreme Court asking them to recognize that the government oversteps its authority when it compels artists to apply their expressive talents to celebrate events or express ideas that contravene their sincerely held religious beliefs.