Colorado baker who sparked SCOTUS case fights ruling on cake celebrating gender transition

Colorado baker who sparked SCOTUS case fights ruling on cake celebrating gender transition
A birthday cake in 2006 (Wikimedia Commons)

In 2012, Colorado-based baker Jack Phillips was praised by far-right Christian fundamentalists after refusing to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple. And a decade later, the Christian Right is still rallying to Phillips’ defense — only this time, his legal battle involves a transgender woman who filed a discrimination lawsuit against him.

According to Associated Press reporter Colleen Slevin, “The Colorado baker who won a partial Supreme Court victory after refusing on religious grounds to make a gay couple’s wedding cake a decade ago is challenging a separate ruling he violated the state’s anti-discrimination law by refusing to make a cake celebrating a gender transition. A lawyer for Jack Phillips, on Wednesday, (October 5), urged Colorado’s appeals court — largely on procedural grounds — to overturn last year’s ruling in a lawsuit brought by a transgender woman.”

The transgender woman in Colorado is named Autumn Scardina. In 2017, Scardina called the bakery in the Denver suburbs where Phillips works to request a birthday cake to celebrate her gender transition. But Phillips refused. When the case went to trial in 2021, Phillips testified that he does not believe it is physically possible for someone to change genders and said he would not celebrate “somebody who thinks that they can.”

READ MORE: Health officials decry Oklahoma GOP's 'unbelievably mean-spirited' campaign against transgender youth

Phillips is being represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian Right legal group, and its attorney Jake Warner. According to Slevin, Warner “said requiring Phillips to create a cake with a message contrary to his religious beliefs amounts to forcing him to say something he does not believe, violating his right to free speech.”

“One of Scardina’s lawyers, John McHugh, said Scardina did not ask the shop to endorse her idea, just sell her a cake that they would sell anyone else,” Slevin reports. “He said whether or not Phillips sells a cake to someone cannot depend on what the client tells him when he is making the cake. Both Scardina and Phillips spoke outside the court of larger issues involved. Scardina said the case was about the ‘dignity of LGBTQ Americans and Coloradans and the rule of law.’ Phillips said he was fighting for the rights of all Americans to live according to their consciences ‘without fear of punishment’ by government.”

READ MORE: 'Only legitimate gender in his world is men': Hawley blasted for bizarre claim about 'transgender propaganda'

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