Jose Andres, Carla Hall and Elizabeth
Falkner are among the chefs who have signed onto a brief asking the
Supreme Court to rule against a Colorado baker who refused to serve a
The case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v.
Colorado Civil Rights Commission, marks the first major case for
the high court involving LGBT rights since Obergefell, the
2015 case that struck down same-sex marriage bans nationwide.
In 2012, Jack Phillips, the owner of
Denver-based Masterpiece Cakeshop, refused to consider baking a cake
for Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig. The men married in Massachusetts
and wanted to buy a cake from Phillips for their Denver reception
(Colorado at the time recognized gay and lesbian couples with civil
unions, not marriage.). Phillips said that serving the couple would
violate his religious faith.
The couple sued, saying that Phillips'
faith does not give him a right to discriminate, and a Colorado court
found that Phillips had discriminated against the men under Colorado
law. After the Colorado Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal,
Phillips turned to the Supreme Court, arguing that the First
Amendment protects his religious rights.
who refused gay couple says Jesus would do the same.)
In their brief, written by the Human
Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, the
chefs deny Phillips' argument that anti-discrimination laws stifle a
baker or chef's creative control.
“It's not about your art,” said
Falkner, a celebrity chef who has owned restaurants in New York
and San Francisco.
“I can decide what to create and what
to serve, but not to say I won't serve it to a gay person, or a
transgender person or a woman or a person of color,” said Mary
Jennifer Russell, owner of Sugaree's Bakery in New Albany,
The U.S. Justice Department, under the
leadership of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has sided with
Phillips, arguing in a 41-page amicus brief that “Forcing
Phillips to create expression for and participate in a ceremony that
violates his sincerely held religious beliefs invades his First