NEW YORK—In response to the Supreme Court’s decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, PEN America released the following statement: 

“We welcome the Court’s decision to adopt a very narrow holding in Masterpiece Cakeshop focused on whether Jack Phillips, the bakery owner, received a fair hearing before the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The Court’s ruling does not extend a sweeping right for business owners to refuse service to people whose lifestyles or identities they dislike by justifying this refusal with reference to their own rights to free speech or religious liberty. 

As a literary organization, we are acutely sensitive to infringements on artistic freedom. However, we also recognize that anti-discrimination laws are necessary and important to ensure that all people feel able to participate in our society and culture. Free speech should not give business owners a license to discriminate, and we are glad the Supreme Court has declined to do so here.”


PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.

Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Coordinator:​