The Colorado Christian baker who was famously sued over his refusal to make a custom cake celebrating a same-sex couple's wedding has now been fined by a Colorado court for refusing to make a cake celebrating transgenderism.
Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips was ordered to pay a $500 fine by Denver District Judge A. Bruce Jones on Tuesday for violating anti-discrimination laws by denying a transgender activist attorney's request that he make a cake celebrating their gender transition.
The request in question was made June 26, 2017, by a local attorney named Autumn Scardina, who asked Phillips to make a custom cake with a blue exterior and pink interior to celebrate and reflect a transition from male to female.
Phillips, who notched a pyrrhic victory at the Supreme Court in 2018 over his refusal to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, used essentially the same argument in his denial of Scardina: that as a devout Christian, he cannot "create custom cakes that express messages or celebrate events in conflict with his religious beliefs."
During court proceedings, Phillips' lawyers explained that he "believes as a matter of religious conviction that sex — 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."
After Scardina's initial lawsuit, which was pursued through the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, failed, the attorney filed another lawsuit, this time taking the complaint to the state court. That avenue has proven fruitful for Scardina's cause.
In the decision, Judge Jones wrote, "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.'"
In response to the ruling, the Alliance Defending Freedom, the firm representing Phillips, wrote that Scardina's most recent lawsuit "could bring financial ruin on Jack and his business," and vowed to appeal the district court's ruling.
"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," ADF general counsel Kristen Waggoner said in a statement. "We will appeal this decision and continue to defend the freedom of all Americans to peacefully live and work according to their deeply held beliefs without fear of punishment."
She added that the case "represents a disturbing trend: the weaponization of our justice system to ruin those with whom the activists disagree."