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Colorado Baker Who Refused Same-Sex Couple Back In Court for Refusing Trans Customer

“Remix!” is not just something Missy Elliott loves to yell on a track. It also describes the fact that the Colorado baker who went to the Supreme Court defending his right to discriminate against same-sex couples will soon be back in court defending his right to discriminate against trans people.

BuzzFeed reports that lawyers for Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, filed a complaint in a US District Court saying that he couldn’t bake a cake because the design “would have celebrated messages contrary to his religious belief 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.”

Phillips says that after his previous lawsuit he has become a target for harassment from “emboldened” LGBTQ people.

Autumn Scardina, a Denver lawyer, called Masterpiece Cakeshop on June 26, 2017, to order a cake to celebrate her transition.

“They asked what I wanted the cake to look like, and I explained I was celebrating my birthday on July 6, 2017, and that it would also be the 7th year of my transition from male to female,” Scardina told the Colorado Civil Rights Commission in a complaint filed last summer. “When I explained I am a transexual and that I wanted my birthday cake to celebrate my transition by having a blue exterior and a pink interior, they told me they will not make the cake based on their religious beliefs.”

Scardina says the employee told her that they don’t make cakes celebrating gender changes. Originally, Scardina says, the employee was fine making a birthday cake until Scardina said what the cake was for.

Scardina said she was “stunned” in her complaint.

According to BuzzFeed, the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act bans public places like Masterpiece Cakeshop from discriminating against customers based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The commission found probable cause that Phillips did break the law when the shop declined to make Scardina her cake.

The United States Supreme Court awarded Phillips a narrow victory in June, though that was in a suit filed by the state against Phillips. This time, Phillips and his lawyers are filing suit first, along with the Alliance Defending Freedom. Phillips is arguing that the state’s transgender protections are “blatantly and brazenly hostile toward religion.”

According to BuzzFeed, this new case differs from the original on two fronts: this lawsuit doesn’t have specific examples of hostility towards Phillips’ religious beliefs and this cake is not going to be used in a ceremony, as the cake for the same-sex couple at the original was going to be.

Phillips’ lawsuit asks the court to block the state of Colorado from enforcing its nondiscrimination law because the law violates his rights to freedom of religion. He also claims that his refusal to make a cake for a trans person is free speech.

Photo via scardinalaw.com


Mathew Rodriguez

Mathew is a staff writer at INTO. His work has appeared in Mic, Slate and Complex. He loves "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," Flannery O'Connor and female rappers and is working on a memoir.

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