Baker who refused cake for same-sex couple, now sues Colorado after refusing to bake one for trans woman
Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, is now embroiled in another controversy, this time for refusing to bake a cake for trans woman
Fresh off his Supreme court victory over denying service to a same-sex couple citing his religious beliefs, Colorado baker Jack Phillips is now suing Colorado officials, saying they violated his rights to freedom of speech and religion over his refusal to bake a cake celebrating a gender transition. On Tuesday, Phillips, the owner of the Masterpiece Cakeshop, filed a federal lawsuit against the Colorado Civil Rights Commission and Gov. John Hickenlooper saying he had been targeted for his religious beliefs. In June, the Supreme Court ruled in his favor, saying the state Civil Rights Commission displayed anti-religious attitudes toward the baker in a case involving his refusal to bake a cake for a same-sex couple.
The recent case pertains to lawyer Autumn Scardina, who approached the bakery on June 26, 2017 to create a cake to celebrate her gender transition from male to female.
But Phillips denied the request as the cake would have expressed a message about sex and gender identity contrary to his religious beliefs as a devout Christian, something which the Supreme Court upheld in his case over the same-sex couple.
Scardina then filed a discrimination complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, after which, Phillips was contacted by the state to inform him that it had found probable cause with the issue.
According to the commission, Scardina “is a member of protected classed (sic) based on her sex (female) and transgender status (gender identity).”
However, the law firm that represented Phillips at the Supreme Court - Alliance Defending Freedom - disparaged the commission's investigation into the matter.
During an appearance on the Todd Starnes Radio Show, ADF attorney Kristen Waggoner said, “Jack is being targeted. He’s being bullied by the state of Colorado.”
According to her, Scardina, who is also an LGBT activist, “essentially set him up.”
“It’s nothing more than hostility towards people of faith,” she said on the syndicated radio show. “How could you say this kind of cake – blue on the outside, pink on the inside – how can you say that doesn’t have a message? It clearly has a message.”
Now, the lawsuit filed by Phillips is accusing the government of anti-religious hostility against him.
“The Constitution stands as a bulwark against state officials who target people – and seek to ruin their lives – because of the government’s anti-religious animus,” the lawsuit states.
So the woman who called Masterpiece Cakeshop and asked for a cake celebrating her transition was "stunned" to discover they wouldn't.— Alex Griswold (@HashtagGriswold) August 15, 2018
The date in question-- June 26, 2017-- is the same day SCOTUS granted cert to the Masterpiece case.
She's a local lawyer.
Come on. pic.twitter.com/DlPPYcjNCw
For over six years, commissioners in Colorado have allegedly harassed Phillips, even calling his beliefs akin to that of slave owners and perpetrators of the Holocaust, reported Fox News.
“Even though Jack serves all customers and simply declines to create custom cakes that express messages or celebrate events in violation of his deeply held beliefs, the government is intent on destroying him – something the Supreme Court has already told it not to do,” Waggoner said.
Phillips's attorneys are demanding punitive damages for the same.
Governor Hickenlooper said he expects the issue to return to the Supreme Court, according to The Denver Post.
Daniel Ramos of the LGBTQ advocacy group One Colorado, said in a statement, "All people – including LGBTQ people – deserve to be served equally in public spaces, & no religious belief gives anyone the right to pick & choose whom they serve & what laws they want to follow."