The Christian baker who won a case at the Supreme Court in June guaranteeing his right not to have to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding is suing Colorado after the state filed a complaint against him for refusing to create a cake celebrating a man’s gender transition.
Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, won a 7-2 decision against the state of Colorado, with then-Justice Anthony Kennedy writing in the majority opinion that state officials had been “neither tolerant nor respectful” of the Christian’s beliefs about marriage.
Kennedy added that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission showed “clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs that motivated his objection.”
Despite this ruling, the Commission filed a complaint against Phillips late last month charging him with discrimination after he declined to bake a cake celebrating a gender transition.
In a Wednesday press release, Alliance Defending Freedom — the religious liberty law firm that represented Phillips at the Supreme Court — recounted the man (attorney Autumn Scardina) asked their client to create a cake pink on the inside and blue on the outside, which Scardina said was to celebrate a gender transition from male to female.
The request to bake the cake came the very day — June 26, 2017 — the Supreme Court had agreed to take up Phillips’ suit against the Commission regarding baking a same-sex wedding cake.
Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Kristen Waggoner said on Wednesday, “The state of Colorado is ignoring the message of the U.S. Supreme Court by continuing to single out Jack for punishment and to exhibit hostility toward his religious beliefs.”
She continued, “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.”
ADF’s complaint filed on behalf of Phillips notes, “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. For over six years now, Colorado has been on a crusade to crush Plaintiff Jack Phillips…because its officials despise what he believes and how he practices his faith.”
The complaint charges the latest attempt to prosecute Phillips is in direct conflict with the Supreme Court’s ruling and that the federal suit is “necessary to stop Colorado’s continuing persecution of Phillips.”
ADF is seeking an injunction against the Colorado Civil Rights Commission from taking any further action against Phillips.
In an Op-Ed for USA Today, the baker explained why he declined Scardina’s requested cake.
“Because I believe that each person’s sex — whether male or female — is given by God and cannot be chosen or changed, the requested message is not one that I can express through my cake art,” he wrote. “But my shop still told the caller that we’d be happy to sell them other items or design cakes with other messages.”
David French, who previously worked as an attorney with ADF, noted in a piece for the National Review that Scardina apparently targeted Phillips with multiple requests that he anticipated would be offensive to the Christian.
A man trolls Colorado baker Jack Phillips, asks him to bake Satanic cakes and a cake celebrating a transgender transition. Colorado's civil rights division falls for it and launches yet another case against Jack. Unreal: https://t.co/Z872jGiO6x
— David French (@DavidAFrench) August 15, 2018
“In September 2017, a caller asked Phillips to design a birthday cake for Satan that would feature an image of Satan smoking marijuana. The name ‘Scardina’ appeared on the caller identification,” recounted French based on ADF’s complaint.
“A few days earlier, a person had emailed Jack asking for a cake with a similar theme — except featuring ‘an upside-down cross, under the head of Lucifer,'” French added.
Phillips believes his federal suit against Colorado is the only proper course of action.
“I have no choice now but to sue, via my Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys, the state officials who are discriminating against me,” he wrote in his USA Today Op-Ed. “My hope is that the federal court will put an end to this bullying — and that it will do so soon. I’d like to get back to the life that my state keeps taking from me.”
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