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Colorado Court Rules against Baker Who Refused to Make Gender Transition Cake

Baker Jack Phillips speaks with the media following oral arguments in the Masterpiece Cakeshop vs. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case at the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., December 5, 2017. (Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters)

A Colorado court ruled against Masterpiece Cakeshop baker Jack Phillips, after he was sued for refusing to make a cake to celebrate a gender transition.

Autumn Scardina, an attorney, sued Phillips earlier this year for refusing to bake the cake in honor of Scardina’s transition. The cake was ordered on the same day in 2017 that the Supreme Court announced it would take up a separate suit against Phillips, who refused in 2012 to make a custom cake to celebrate a same-sex wedding.

“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,'” the Denver District Court wrote in its ruling on Tuesday.

“Jack Phillips serves all people but shouldn’t be forced to create custom cakes with messages that violate his conscience,” attorney Kristen Waggoner of Alliance Defending Freedom 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.”

Phillips partially won the previous Supreme Court case in 2018, with the Court ruling that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission displayed anti-religious bias after it sanctioned Phillips. However, the Court did not rule at the time on whether businesses can refuse service, based on religious objections, to gays and lesbians.

Although he lost about 40 percent of his business during his first lawsuit and has continued to encounter legal challenges, Phillips told National Review in March that it was “worth it to fight.”

“These are important freedoms for everybody, the freedoms that everybody cherishes,” he said. “I’m sure all liberty-loving Americans cherish their right to speak what they want and to worship the way they want . . . and they all deserve the right to be able to work and live according to their conscience without fear of being punished by the government.”

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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