Christian Baker Will Appeal Colorado State Court Discrimination Case Loss (Getty Images)
By Charles Kim | Wednesday, 16 June 2021 10:31 PM
Colorado baker Jack Phillips, who won a U.S. Supreme Court case where he refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, is now appealing the loss of a state court discrimination case involving a transgender female attorney.
Denver District Court Judge A. Bruce Jones decided Tuesday that Phillips and his Masterpiece Cakeshop discriminated against transgender attorney Autumn Scardina by not making her a birthday cake in 2017 to celebrate her transition.
In his decision, Bruce said that making the cake, with pink frosting on the inside and blue on the outside, was not “compelled speech,” which Phillips said went against his strong religious beliefs.
“The anti-discrimination laws are intended to ensure that members of our society who have historically been treated unfairly, who have been deprived of even the every-day right to access businesses to buy products, are no longer treated as ‘others,’” Bruce said in his decision. “This case is about one such product—a pink and blue birthday cake—and not compelled speech.”
Phillips, who is represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, said he will appeal the ruling.
“Every American should have the freedom to live and work according to their beliefs without fear of government punishment,” the organization said regarding the case. “Jack serves everyone; what he can’t do is create custom cake art that celebrates events or expresses messages in conflict with his religious beliefs. And now, he is once again being threatened with punishment for exercising this freedom. It is time to leave Jack alone.”
According to the court documents, Scardina became aware of Phillips’s bakery during the case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court where he refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple in 2012 on religious grounds.
That court ruled 7-2 in June 2018 in favor of Phillips and overturned the state’s decision to punish Phillips for living and working in a consistent manner with his Christian beliefs.
“Jack serves all customers; he simply declines to express messages or celebrate events that violate his deeply held beliefs,” Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Kristen Waggoner said at the time. “Creative professionals who serve all people should be free to create art consistent with their convictions without the threat of government punishment.”
According to the Alliance Defending Freedom’s website, Scardina initially filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division, which eventually dropped the case when Phillips sued them for targeting him.
Scardina then filed a complaint in a different court and the case proceeded to a trial, which ended with Bruce’s ruling Tuesday.