Crowds gathered outside the US Supreme Court this week to support Jack Phillips, the Christian baker sued for declining to produce a custom-made cake for a same-sex wedding.
Conservative leaders and politicians stood with Phillips as he addressed supporters, following oral arguments to the court.
Phillips declined to make the cake for a homosexual couple in 2012 and has spent the last five years defending himself.
In a statement to the media yesterday, Phillips said: “I am here at the Supreme Court today because I respectfully declined to create a custom cake that would celebrate a view of marriage in direct conflict with my faith’s core teachings on marriage.
“For that decision, which was guided by an established set of religious beliefs, I’ve endured a five-year court battle. It’s been very hard on me and my family. There have been tears and many difficult days for us. We have faced death threats and harassment.
“It’s hard to believe that the government is forcing me to choose between providing for my family and employees and violating my relationship with God. That is not freedom. That is not tolerance.”
Ryan Anderson of The Heritage Foundation also spoke out in support of Phillips.
He said: “Today involves a baker. It could involve a painter. It could involve a florist, a photographer. It could involve a speechwriter, a videographer, a movie-maker.
“All of these people have First Amendment freedoms to speak their message, not the government’s message.”
Judges are expected to reach a decision on Phillips’ case by June next year.
The result will come after UK Supreme Court judges hear arguments on the Ashers Baking Company case in Northern Ireland.
Ashers also involves a Christian-owned bakery politely declining to produce a cake which would endorse same-sex marriage.
And both bakeries were pursued by Government bodies: Phillips by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission and Ashers by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland.
However, Ashers was asked to write a political slogan – ‘Support Gay Marriage’ – on its cake. The cake would not have been used in a same-sex ceremony and was not requested by a gay couple.
Supreme Court bid
Supported by The Christian Institute’s Legal Defence Fund, Ashers hopes that the Supreme Court will overturn previous judgments against them.
Most recently, the Court of Appeal in Belfast ruled that Ashers discriminated against the customer who requested the cake – despite the fact they did not know his sexual orientation.
The family assert that business owners should not be compelled to endorse ideas that they fundamentally disagree with.