In 2012, Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips was sued by the Colorado Civil Rights Division (CCRD) for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple because of his deeply held Biblical beliefs. After he was found guilty by the CCRD, the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) appealed the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme court, which ruled 7-2 that CCRD had violated the U.S. Constitution’s Free Exercise clause in Jack’s case. Thus in the first round, the Supreme court clearly ruled that Jack had been persecuted for not making a special cake for this gay couple.
In 2017, the Lakewood, CO baker was asked by an Autumn Charlie Scardina to bake a special cake. This was to celebrate Scardina’s conversion from being a man to being a woman. Again Jack refused because of his religious beliefs and again was pursued by the CCRD after Scardina filed a complaint with them. After the ADF filed suit against the CCRD on Jack’s behalf, the CCRD voted overwhelmingly to drop the case. Thus, in round 2, the CCRD decided that there was no merit in trying to punish Jack for his religious beliefs. In both these instances, Jack offered to sell these people any cake that was already made. However, they both demanded that he use his incredible creative talents to make a special cake that violated his deeply held religious beliefs.
Now Scardina, unhappy with the CCRD’s decision, has filed a lawsuit against Jack over the same issue and requested a jury trial. So now we have round 3 of this struggle, which Jack and his family have endured for seven long years. During all those years, they have received death threats and ongoing harassing phone calls. This makes one wonder if the LGBTQ community will ever stop persecuting this humble man who just wants to follow the Lord and bake things to support his family.
After The Wall Street Journal’s reporting of the religious discrimination against Jack in round 2, the whole world now knows of Colorado’s attempts to silence Jack’s freedom of religious expression. If this current lawsuit goes to a jury trial, let’s hope the citizens of Colorado send a clear message by ruling in favor of Jack’s right to free religious expression. Perhaps then the ugly stain of religious intolerance can finally be removed from Colorado.
Highlands Ranch, CO
Aurora is leading, and we are proud. In April, Governor Jared Polis signed SB19-181, landmark legislation that puts health, safety and the environment at the forefront of regulating the oil and gas industry and provides local governments with the authority to play a larger role in the permitting and siting of operations within their boundaries.
In Aurora, our city council was ahead of the curve. Prior to the legislation’s passage – and respecting the interest of citizens to have a better understanding oil and gas operations and their impacts – our municipal leaders took the bold step of negotiating highly technical and detailed Operator Agreements with the companies who wish to do business in our city.
The Operator Agreements being developed will hold companies accountable to best management practices that exceed Colorado State law, which is often noted as among the strictest energy-related statutes in the nation. These contracts are a great tool for Aurora in exercising its expanded authority.
As Aurora citizens, as friends with different political affiliations, and as former elected officials, we have closely monitored the ongoing negotiations that have been underway for several months. City staff and elected officials have discussed the path forward in open study sessions and Council meetings where the public is able to share their thoughts and opinions. Additionally, the city has posted the agreements they will consider on the website to allow constituents to review the document and share any feedback. We appreciate their diligence and transparency.
On Monday night, city council will consider adoption of the proposed Operator Agreement for ConocoPhillips, and we both respectfully request it be approved. Our city is using its newfound powers for the betterment of our community and its residents. We’re proud to be from Aurora, where leaders lead.
Brad Pierce and
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