DENVER — The owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop -- the Lakewood business at the center of a U.S. Supreme Court case -- is suing the Colorado Civil Rights Division and several state officials including Governor John Hickenlooper and Attorney General Cynthia Coffman.
In the complaint filed Tuesday, attorney's claim "Colorado has been on a crusade to crush Jack Phillips because its officials despise what he believes and how he practices his faith."
The suit also claims the state ordered Phillips to either violate his religious beliefs or shut down his wedding cake business. As a result, according to the complaint, Phillips' family lost 40 percent of their income.
Earlier this year, after 6 years of legal battles, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with Phillips. In its 7 to 2 opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court was critical of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.
During the lengthy legal battle, another person asked Phillips to create a cake with a blue exterior and a pink interior to celebrate a gender transition, the complaint said. Phillips declined to create the cake based on his religious beliefs.
Less than a month after the Supreme Court ruling, the suit claims the state told Phillips he violated Colorado law by declining to create that cake. The move -- according to the suit -- went back on what the state told the Supreme Court during its briefing -- that the public accommodation law allows Phillips to decline to create cakes with pro-LGBT-designs or themes.
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The court battle between the Masterpiece Cakeshop and Colorado Civil Rights Commission dates back to July 2012 when David Mullins and Charlie Craig attempted to order a cake for their wedding reception at a small shop in a Lakewood strip mall. Jack Phillips, who owns the bakery, told them they wouldn’t sell wedding cakes to same-sex couples based on his religious beliefs.
“This is an event that goes against my faith,” Phillips said.
This prompted Mullins and Craig to file a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, citing a state law that bars businesses that are open to the public from discriminating based on things like race, religion or sexual orientation.
“The way we were treated at Masterpiece Cakeshop was both illegal and wrong,” Mullins said.
The Colorado Civil Rights Commission sided with the couple – and on Aug. 13, 2015, so did the state court of appeals. This is despite Phillips’ assertion that selling a wedding cake to a same-sex couple violated his freedom of speech and religion.
The suit asks for "compensatory damages" for lost work and time and seeks to recoup expenses and attorney's fees related to the case due to the defendants "unconstitutional actions." They're requesting a jury trial.