Colorado baker Jack Phillips was back in court Thursday after a lawyer filed a second lawsuit against him for refusing to create a gender-transition “birthday cake.”
Phillips, who was victorious at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018 following years of litigation for refusing to make a custom cake for a same-sex wedding in 2012 — at a time when the state of Colorado did not recognize same-sex marriage — is again being represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom.
Despite the high court’s 7-2 ruling in his favor two years ago, which found that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had shown “clear and impermissible hostility” on the basis of Phillips’ religion and violated the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the same state agency pursued another case against Phillips because he declined to make a cake celebrating transgenderism.
Phillips filed a lawsuit against the state alleging harassment and it subsequently dropped the matter.
After that, a local trans activist and attorney named Autumn Scardina called Phillips’ Denver-area bakery to order a custom made gender-transition cake. Scardina waited past the appeal deadline so he could file a new lawsuit in a different court.
Scardina is seeking more than $100,000 in damages, fines, and attorney’s fees.
The state court heard oral arguments in the case on Thursday.
ADF has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
Scardina is now claiming in this latest legal action, which was filed in the District Court for the city and county of Denver, that Phillips violated Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act and Consumer Protection Act by refusing to bake what the plaintiff said was a birthday cake.
This birthday cake, as described in the lawsuit, was to be blue on the outside and pink on the inside to represent Scardina’s decision to self-identify as a woman.
“Masterpiece Cakeshop said before the Supreme Court they would serve any baked good to members of the LGBTQ community. It was just the religious significance of it being a wedding cake. We don’t believe they’ve been honest with the public,” said Scardina’s attorney, Paula Greisen, in an interview with CBS’s Denver affiliate last year.
Phillips has long maintained that he does not single out lesbian, gay, bi-sexual or trans-identified individuals regarding his custom orders. However, he’s long maintained that he will not use his creative talents to support messages that conflict with his faith. Thus, he will not make cakes that celebrate Halloween, drug use, or cakes that disparage people, including those who identify as LGBT.
“It wasn’t enough for Jack to lose 40 percent of his business after Colorado pursued him the first time. It wasn’t enough for Jack to have to defend his freedoms all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. And it wasn’t enough for Jack and his family to endure years of harassment and even death threats,” ADF noted on its website Wednesday.
“For some, it won’t be enough until Masterpiece Cakeshop closes its doors and Jack Phillips is in financial ruin. They want Jack, an average American business owner, to pay a hefty price—all because he wants to live according to his faith. It is time to leave Jack alone,” ADF added.
The Supreme Court ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission has been seen as one of the more important modern religious liberty cases to reach the high court. Though a decisive majority of justices sided with Phillips, the scope of the ruling was narrow in that it focused on the Colorado Commission’s lack of neutrality. The high court did not weigh in on the deeper conflict between anti-discrimination statutes and the free exercise of religion and free speech.