The Colorado baker who famously won a Supreme Court case asserting the right to observe his Christian faith at his private business is now facing new legal challenges.
Jack Phillips, the owner and operator of Masterpiece Cakeshop, had been tied up in litigation for years as he wound his way through the court system trying to defend the right to be a Christian and operate his business to reflect those values.
Phillips was sued when he refused to create a special cake for a gay couple who wished to celebrate their marriage. Phillips said they could buy anything already existing on the shelves but that he wouldn’t participate in their vows.
Although legally victorious for the issue of helping a gay couple celebrate their gay marriage, Phillps is now currently undergoing a new, contentious, and so far unsuccessful defense of a similar second case.
A Colorado baker who had won a narrow U.S. Supreme Court victory over his refusal to make a wedding cake for a gay couple on Thursday lost his appeal of a ruling in a separate case that he violated a state anti-discrimination law by not making a cake to celebrate a gender transition.
The Colorado Court of Appeals agreed with a trial judge that Masterpiece Cakeshop and the bakery’s owner, Jack Phillips, violated Autumn Scardina’s rights by denying her service because of her identity as a transgender woman.
Phillips’ legal team argued that he was protected by the First Amendment to free speech and by his sincerely-held religious beliefs. Making a cake for the gender transition was tantamount to participating in and celebrating something he did not personally believe.
However, a three-judge panel disagreed, saying Phillips had no right to turn down a customer whose request consisted of only blue and pink frosting. They reasoned that since no specific messaging or iconography would have been present, he was merely rejecting a potential customer on the basis of their protected status as a transgender.
Transgenders recents become the latest protected class thanks to a 2020 Supreme Court ruling.
“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,” one of the judges wrote in their decision.
Of course, this is entirely inaccurate. The transgender flag consists of the blue and pink colors desired by the customer, and since the customer is suing based on their supposed violation of rights for being transgender, it would appear safe to say both the customer and baker knew what it meant.
Either the transgender person had a cake denied because the baker didn’t like the colors and knew nothing of the reason for the cake, thus not violating the rights of the protected class – or the baker knew why the cake was being requested and could thusly argue that his religious convictions would be jeopardized by making it.
If a lowly writer with no legal training can arrive at this conclusion, how is it possible three judges cannot? The only logical conclusion is that these judges are not practicing law as much as they are activism.
Phillips and his team intend to appeal.
“No one should be forced to express a message that violates their core beliefs,” one of his lawyers from the Alliance Defending Freedom said.
Reuters notes, without saying it, that this lawsuit over alleged transgender discrimination was basically a set up. The plaintiff is an attorney, therefore knew how to go about this set up; moreover, the plaintiff made the order on the same day that the Supreme Court first agreed to hear Phillips’ original case. Reuters wrote:
Scardina, an attorney, tried to order her cake the same day the U.S. Supreme Court in 2017 agreed to hear Phillips’ challenge to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission’s conclusion he discriminated against a gay couple for whom he had refused to make a wedding cake.
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