The Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear a major religious liberties case involving Jack Phillips, a Christian baker in Colorado who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple citing his religious beliefs. The apex court’s decision could change the way business owners treat same-sex couples based on their personal faith.

The case, "Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission," started in 2012 when the bakery owner Phillips declined to make a cake for a gay couple citing his own religious beliefs. The couple, Charlie Craig and David Mullins, filed a discrimination lawsuit in Colorado state courts against the baker and they won. Phillips' refusal violated a Colorado anti-discrimination law, the couple stated. However, Phillips argued the law violated his freedom of speech, expression and free exercise of religion, under the First Amendment specified in the constitution.

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Phillips filed a petition in the apex court in December for a review of the case. The Supreme Court agreed Monday to take up the case. The court is scheduled to hear the case in its next term, during fall that begins in October.

Phillips told the couple in 2012 that due to his Christian beliefs, he had a store policy to deny service to customers who wanted to purchase cakes for celebrating same-sex marriage. Mullins described the owner’s actions as offensive and de-humanizing. “This has always been about more than a cake,” he said. “Businesses should not be allowed to violate the law and discriminate against us because of who we are and who we love.”

In a Supreme Court brief, Phillips’s lawyers explained: “He is happy to create other items for gay and lesbian clients.” But his faith required him, they said, “to use his artistic talents to promote only messages that align with his religious beliefs.”

“Thus,” the brief stated, “he declines lucrative business by not creating goods that contain alcohol or cakes celebrating Halloween and other messages his faith prohibits, such as racism, atheism, and any marriage not between one man and one woman.”

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Phillips considers himself to be a “cake artist,” according to the court documents. His shop, Masterpiece Cakeshop, was opened in Lakewood, Colorado in 1993. His bakery made over 200 custom-made wedding cakes before this case began. However, he stopped taking orders for wedding cakes entirely after he was ordered to create cakes for same-sex couples. The 61-year-old baker had converted to Christianity in late 1970s and belongs to a Baptist church, he told the Daily Signal in an interview in 2015.

“The profit range was higher on the wedding cakes. Now we try to get more volume,” Phillips said. “But God has been supplying everything we need so far." Referring to his decision, Jeremy Tedesco, a lawyer for the Alliance Defending Freedom, who appealed on Phillips’ behalf said: “They [state courts] said you have to create cakes for same-sex couples, so he removed himself from the market. He chose to stop making wedding cakes.”

Phillips has three grown children — Jeremy, Lisa and Jennifer — with his wife Debi. Lisa works at the Masterpiece Cakeshop as a cake decorator and helps her father in his work, the Daily Signal reported.