Justice Kennedy: Colorado Has ‘Neither Been Tolerant nor Respectful’ of Jack Phillips’ Beliefs

Kelsey Harkness /

During oral arguments for Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the U.S. Supreme Court justice who is expected to cast the crucial swing vote in the historic case involving religious liberty and the First Amendment appeared to express sympathy—and even anger—for the way that Colorado has treated the petitioner, Jack Phillips.

“Tolerance is essential in a free society,” Justice Anthony Kennedy said on Tuesday. “It seems to me that the state in its position here has neither been tolerant nor respectful of Mr. Phillips’s religious beliefs.”

Earlier this year, The Daily Signal visited Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, who was sued for declining to make a cake for a same-sex ceremony, and addressed the ways in which state officials have disparaged his religious beliefs.

In 2014, for example, Colorado Civil Rights Commissioner Diann Rice compared Phillips’ actions to slavery and the Holocaust. Little did Rice know, Phillips’ father fought in World War II, and saw many of the Holocaust atrocities for himself.

In an interview with The Daily Signal, Phillips recounts learning about the Nazi concentration camps from his father in the years before he died, and describes what it was like to hear a government official compare not making a cake for a same-sex wedding to the atrocities committed during the Holocaust. Learn more about those instances and see Phillips’ reaction in the video above.