A Christian baker from Colorado has been fined after refusing to make a gender transition cake, as supporters claim he is being targeted by LGBT activists.
Jack Phillips violated the state’s anti-discrimination law by refusing to make the birthday cake for lawyer Autumn Scardina, a transgender woman, the state judge ruled in the case.
Phillips famously won a partial victory at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018 for refusing to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.
In Tuesday’s ruling, Denver District Judge A. Bruce Jones said Scardina was denied a cake that was blue on the outside and pink on the inside to celebrate her gender transition on her birthday in violation of the law.
While Phillips said he could not make the cake because of its message, Jones said the case was about a refusal to sell a product, not compelled speech.
He pointed out that Phillips testified during a trial in March that he did not think someone could change their gender and he would not celebrate ‘somebody who thinks that they can.’
‘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,’, Jones wrote.
A Colorado baker violated the state’s anti-discrimination law by refusing to make a birthday cake for a transgender woman, a state judge has ruled. The same baker, Jack Phillips (pictured), famously won a partial victory at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018 for refusing to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple
The group representing Phillips, Alliance Defending Freedom, said Wednesday that it would appeal the ruling, which ordered him to pay a $500 fine.
The maximum fine for each violation of Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act is $500. But it was not clear from the ruling if the fine was for the two attempts that Scardina made to order the cake or just one.
‘In this case, an activist attorney demanded Jack create custom cakes in order to ‘test’ Jack and ‘correct the errors’ of his thinking, and the activist even threatened to sue Jack again if the case is dismissed for any reason,’ the group’s general counsel, Kristen Waggoner, said in a statement.
‘Radical activists and government officials are targeting artists like Jack because they won´t promote messages on marriage and sexuality that violate their core convictions,’ the statement added.
Ms Waggoner said that the case ‘represents a disturbing trend: the weaponization of our justice system to ruin those with whom the activists disagree.
‘We will appeal this decision and continue to defend the freedom of all Americans to peacefully live and work according to their deeply held beliefs without fear of punishment,’ she said.
In Tuesday’s ruling, Denver District Judge A. Bruce Jones said Autumn Scardina (pictured) was denied a cake that was blue on the outside and pink on the inside to celebrate her gender transition on her birthday in violation of the law
Scardina, an attorney, attempted to order the cake on the same day in 2017 that the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would hear Phillips’ appeal in the wedding cake case, that Phillips ultimately won.
Scardina said she wanted to ‘challenge the veracity’ of Phillips statements that he would serve LGBT customers, but her attempt to get a cake was not a ‘set up’ intended to file a lawsuit, Jones said.
One of Scardina’s attorneys, John McHugh, said the case is about how LGBT people are treated, not just what happened to her.
‘This is about a business that is open to the public that simply says to an entire class of people in the community that your identity, who you are, is something that is objectional,’ he said.
‘This case started the day the Supreme Court decided they were going to hear our case. It was a very busy, very crazy day at the shop,’ Phillips said of the transgender cake to Fox News in March.
‘In the middle of all of this chaos, we got a phone call from an attorney in Denver asking us to create a cake pink on the inside with blue icing on the outside.’
A Bible verse is displayed in baker Jack Phillips’ Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado U.S. September 21, 2017. Picture taken September 21, 2017
He said that he was told the cake would be ‘two colors, a color scheme, a combination, designed to celebrate a gender transition.’
‘We told the customer, this caller, that this cake was a cake we couldn’t create because of the message, the caller turned around and sued us,’ Phillips told Fox News. ‘This customer came to us intentionally to get us to create a cake or deny creating a cake that went against our religious beliefs.
‘This customer had been tracking our case for multiple years. This case was just a request to get us to fall into a trap,’ he added at the time.
Phillips previously won a case that was heard before the Supreme Court in 2018 after he refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.
In a 7-2 ruling, the Supreme Court ruled that Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission displayed anti-religious bias when it sanctioned Phillips for refusing to make a wedding cake in 2012 for Charlie Craig and Dave Mullins, a same-sex couple.
In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission displayed anti-religious bias when it sanctioned Phillips for refusing to make a wedding cake in 2012 for Charlie Craig and Dave Mullins, a same-sex couple (pictured)
In a 7-2 ruling, the Supreme Court ruled that Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission displayed anti-religious bias when it sanctioned Phillips for refusing to make a wedding cake in 2012 for Charlie Craig and Dave Mullins, a same-sex couple
Phillips’ lawyers argued that his cakes are an art form – a ‘temporary sculpture’ – and being forced to create one to commemorate a gay wedding would violate his rights under the U.S. Constitution to freedom of speech and expression and free exercise of religion.
He told the state civil rights commission at the time that he can make no more than two to five custom cakes per week, depending on time constraints and consumer demand for the cakes that he sells in his store that are not for special orders.
Mullins and Craig, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, said Phillips was using his Christian faith as pretext for unlawful discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The ACLU said the baker was advocating for a ‘license to discriminate’ that could have broad repercussions beyond gay rights.
The case became a cultural flashpoint in the United States, underscoring the tensions between gay rights proponents and conservative Christians.
The litigation, along with similar cases around the country, is part of a conservative Christian backlash to the Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling.
Phillips and others like him who believe that gay marriage is not consistent with their Christian beliefs, have said they should not be required to effectively endorse gay marriage, despite it being legal.