Cake Walk

Colorado baker sued over refusing service to a transgender woman

Jack Phillips. Via Shutterstock

Jack Phillips, a Colorado baker sued for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple, has landed himself another lawsuit–and more news headlines. This time, Phillips has refused to bake a birthday cake for a transgender woman, citing religious beliefs.

Phillips took his case involving the gay couple to the Supreme Court back in 2018, where he won a partial victory. While that case sat before the court, Autumn Scardina called Phillips’ bakery, Masterpiece Cakeshop, to order a birthday cake. The cake would have celebrated her gender transition as well, with blue icing on the outside and pink filling on the inside. Phillips refused, noting his religious beliefs against transgender people.

Related: Colorado Bakery Celebrating Dog Marriages Refuses To Service Gay Weddings

Now the case has gone before a Colorado court. Fox 8 News reports that in opening arguments, Phillips’ lawyer Sean Gates argued that making the cake would violate his client’s religion. He also cited other examples where Phillips had refused to make items based on the message they would send, including Halloween baked goods.

“The message would be that he agrees that a gender transition is something to be celebrated,” said Gates.

The Colorado Civil Rights Commission had previously found that Phillips likely violated Scardina’s civil rights by refusing her service. Phillips, meanwhile, filed a lawsuit against the state of Colorado, accusing it of a “crusade to crush” his business, though he subsequently dropped the suit.

Should the case make it before the Supreme Court, it could have far-reaching consequences for businesses and the queer community. The 2018 ruling by the High Court in the case of Phillips found that while he did discriminate against the gay couple, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission which had initially ordered Phillips to provide all services to LGBTQ people regardless of his religious objections had overstepped its bounds. In other words, the court punted on the issue of anti-discrimination, essentially issuing a decision in favor of both sides. With the court makeup heavily changed since 2018, another it could potentially issue a broader ruling which would set precedent for how businesses interact with queer people nationwide.