Anti-LGBTQ+ Christian baker loses legal bid to discriminate against trans people – again
Christian baker Jack Phillips has lost his latest appeal where he argued for the right to refuse to make a cake for a trans customer based on his religious beliefs.
Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Denver, appealed a 2021 ruling which saw him fined $500 for discrimination after he refused to bake a cake in the colours of the trans flag.
At the time, Denver district judge A Bruce Jones ruled that Phillips had refused Autumn Scardina because of her status as a transgender woman, which is illegal.
But his lawyers then argued that to force Phillips to bake a cake signifying a message that contradicts his beliefs is the same as violating his right to free speech.
Phillips is represented by Jake Warner of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
‘They object to the existence of transgender people’
Colorado Court of Appeals has now ruled that the cake is not a form of speech, and his refusal to serve Scardina violated Colorado’s anti-discrimination law.
The court ruled: “We conclude that creating a pink cake with blue frosting is not inherently expressive and any message or symbolism it provides to an observer would not be attributed to the baker.”
Warner, Phillips lawyer, said in response to the ruling: “One need not agree with Jack’s views to agree that all Americans should be free to say what they believe, even if the government disagrees with those beliefs.”
Meanwhile, Scardina’s lawyer, John McHugh, said: “They just object to the idea of Ms Scardina wanting a birthday cake that reflects her status as a transgender woman because they object to the existence of transgender people.”
In 2021, Phillips, who is “a devout Christian”, testified he believes being trans is not possible and told a court that he would not “celebrate somebody who thinks that they can” transition.
Masterpiece Cakeshop was first sued in 2012 when it refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple. That case went all the way to the Supreme Court, which eventually ruled in Phillips’ favour in 2018.
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