Jack Phillips and the state of Colorado are going their separate ways.
Mr. Phillips has what I will call religiously-grounded “traditional” beliefs about men and women, and refuses to make custom cakes that violate his beliefs.
In “Masterpiece One,” the Colorado Commission went after him for refusing to make a custom cake for a same-sex wedding. (Mr. Phillips was willing to sell the couple a ready-made cake.) Masterpiece One went up to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of Mr. Phillips last summer but on fairly narrow grounds.
Shortly after the Supreme Court decision in Masterpiece One, the Colorado Commission filed another complaint against Mr. Phillips — this time for refusing to make a custom cake to celebrate the transition of a transgender woman.
This time, Mr. Phillips went on the offensive and sued the Colorado Commission (“Masterpiece Two”). A federal judge in Colorado refused to dismiss his claims that the Commission violated his rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
Well, now, Masterpiece Two is over. Mr. Phillips has dismissed his lawsuit in exchange for the Commission’s dropping its complaint against Mr. Phillips. (If he received any monetary settlement, that would not be disclosed in the court documents.)
However, according to an article in this morning’s Law360, the transgender woman could still file suit against Mr. Phillips on her own.
Robin Shea is a Partner with the law firm of Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP and has more than 20 years’ experience in employment litigation, including Title VII and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (including the Amendments Act), the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act, the Equal Pay Act, and the Family and Medical Leave Act; and class and collective actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act and state wage-hour laws; defense of audits by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs; and labor relations. She conducts training for human resources professionals, management, and employees on a wide variety of topics.