This time, the controversy is over a cake intended to celebrate the anniversary of a woman's gender transition.
18 Aug, 2018FORTUNE.COM
The Colorado baker who made headlines for refusing to make a gay couple’s wedding cake in 2012, citing his religious beliefs, is suing the state once again. This time, he’s fighting the Colorado Civil Rights Commission’s ruling that he discriminated against a transgender woman by failing to make her a cake, the Associated Press reports.
Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, won his battle in his first court case when the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in his favor earlier this year. The court said that the state had violated Phillips’s First Amendment rights by sanctioning him over the wedding cake. The Court’s narrow ruling, however, did not address the larger issue of whether shop owners can refuse service on the grounds of religion.
In the latest controversy, Autumn Scardina, a Denver attorney, says Phillips denied her request in 2017 for a cake made with a pink interior and blue exterior. The cake was intended to celebrate the anniversary of Scardina’s gender transition, NPR reports.
In June, the state had ruled that Phillips discriminated against Scardina because she’s transgender, and ordered the two to find a mediated solution. Phillips, instead, sued.
Phillips says that he has the right to refuse making a cake that celebrates a cause that is contrary to his religious beliefs. According to AP, the lawsuit filed by Phillips says “the status of being male or female … is given by God, is biologically determined, is not determined by perceptions or feelings, and cannot be chosen or changed.”
In his court filings, Phillips says the state is on a “crusade to crush” him “because its officials despise what he believes and how he practices his faith.” The Alliance Defending Freedom, a nonprofit Christian law firm, is representing Phillips, as they did in the case of the gay couple’s wedding cake.
Phillips is seeking a reversal of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission’s ruling, as well as $100,000 in damages.