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Experts and Conservative Leaders React to Masterpiece Decision

Adam Gustafson, Boyden Gray & Associates:

“The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) decision against the Kleins was tainted by the same anti-religious bias that caused the U.S. Supreme Court to rule for Masterpiece Cakeshop on Free Exercise grounds. This anti-religious bias is evident in Commissioner Avakian’s Facebook post about the Kleins’ religious beliefs, the Commissioner’s decision to award damages for Aaron Klein’s quotation of Scripture, and the outrageous magnitude of the $135,000 damage award.

“The U.S. Supreme Court did not reach the free-speech claim in Masterpiece because of uncertainty about whether the proprietor of Masterpiece Cakeshop declined to sell a custom cake or a pre-made cake. ‘If a baker refused to design a special cake with words or images celebrating the marriage . . . that might be different from a refusal to sell any cake at all.’ There is no dispute that the Kleins only sold custom cakes, so their case squarely presents the free-speech question that the Court avoided in Masterpiece.”


Kelly Shackelford, President and CEO for First Liberty Institute:

“The Supreme Court today determined once again that the First Amendment prohibits the government from forcing Americans to violate their religious beliefs. No one in America should be forced by the government to choose between their faith and their livelihood.  But that’s exactly what happened to our clients, bakers Aaron and Melissa Klein.  The Kleins deserve the same protection from a hostile government given Jack Phillips.”


Ashley McGuire, Senior Fellow with The Catholic Association:

“Today’s ruling in the Masterpiece case is a clear win for religious liberty and expression. Justice Kennedy did not mince words; he said efforts to force Jack Phillips into violating his faith amounted to ‘clear and impermissible hostility’ to his ‘sincere religious beliefs.’ This ruling goes beyond affirming religious liberty; it cements the constitutional protections of conscience rights — the right to object — that bolsters the religious and ideological pluralism that sets America apart.”


Ken Blackwell, former Mayor of Cincinnati:

“This is a big win for the First Amendment and religious freedom, and a brutal defeat for government activists who are hostile to people of faith. The Court was clear: sincere religious beliefs may not be shut out of the public square and we need to go forward in the spirit of mutual respect. If liberal extremists, especially those in government, persist in attacking people of faith they can anticipate more losses in court.”


Gayle Trotter, attorney and political activist:

“The Supreme Court’s decision today in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case shows that the Free Exercise Clause still has meaning and that citizens with sincerely held religious beliefs are entitled to a fair hearing in our system of government. Anti-religious liberty activists targeted a Christian baker, Jack Phillips, for his personal religious beliefs, and the Colorado government failed to provide a neutral process — openly deriding those same sincerely held religious beliefs. Thankfully the US Supreme Court voted – by a 7-2 margin – to uphold the religious liberty and free expression that the First Amendment guarantees and that makes America so special.”