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Law & the Courts

Masterpiece Cakeshop Owner Sued Again after Refusing to Bake ‘Gender Transition’ Cake

Baker Jack Phillips decorates a cake in his Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colo., September 21, 2017. (Rick Wilking/Reuters)

Jack Phillips — the Colorado bakery owner who prevailed in a religious-liberty case before the Supreme Court last year — has once again been sued, this time for refusing to bake a cake celebrating a customer’s gender transition.

Autumn Scardina, a transgender Colorado woman, filed a civil suit against Phillips on Wednesday over his refusal to bake her a cake that was to be blue on the outside and pink on the inside in celebration of her transition.

The Supreme Court ruled last year that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission displayed “anti-religious bias” in finding that Phillips violated the state’s anti-discrimination laws by refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding. Soon after the decision was handed down, the Civil Rights Commission brought another anti-discrimination complaint against Phillips over his refusal to bake a cake celebrating Scardina’s gender transition.

In response, Phillips sued the state, alleging that he was being persecuted due to his Christian beliefs. Phillips and the Civil Rights Commission then agreed to drop their respective cases in March after the discovery phase demonstrated that the state was displaying “anti-religious hostility” by continuing to pursue Phillips.

Unsatisfied with that result, Scardina, who is herself an attorney, has now decided to sue Phillips in federal district court.

“The dignity of all citizens in our state needs to be honored. 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,” Paula Griesen, one of the attorneys representing Scardina, told a local CBS affiliate. “We don’t believe they’ve been honest with the public.”

Jim Cambell, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented Phillips in previous litigation, cast the latest lawsuit as an extension of the religious bigotry that motivated the other suits against Phillips.

“So this latest attack by Scardina looks like yet another desperate attempt to harass cake artist Jack Phillips,” Cambell said. “And it stumbles over the one detail that matters most: Jack serves everyone; he just cannot express all messages through his custom cakes.”

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