Colorado baker returns to court after activist sues over ‘gender transition’ cake

Cake artist Jack Phillips owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood Colorado Credit Alliance Defending Freedom CNA Cake artist Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado. | Credit: Alliance Defending Freedom

A Colorado baker, Jack Phillips, is back in court defending what he sees as his right not to bake a cake celebrating a gender transition on the grounds that doing so would interfere with his religious beliefs. 

In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, who was sued for refusing to make a cake for a same-sex wedding. 

On Tuesday the Colorado Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments in Phillips’ appeal of a lower court’s ruling that found he had discriminated against the individual who had sued him for refusing to make a pink birthday cake with blue frosting.

This latest case began in 2017 when Autumn Scardina, a “transgender” attorney, asked Phillips to make a cake to celebrate Scardina’s “transition.” Scardina later requested the cake shop make a custom cake of Satan smoking marijuana, to “correct the errors of [Phillips’] thinking.”

After both a trial court and an appeals court ruled against him, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) appealed on behalf of Phillips.

“Jack serves everyone at Masterpiece Cakeshop, including those who identify as LGBT,” ADF Legal Counsel Jake Warner told CNA in a statement. “Whether he creates a custom cake always depends on what the cake will express, not who requests it.” 

“For over a decade, government officials and activists have misused state law to threaten and punish Jack because they disagree with him,” he continued. 

“Yesterday, we asked the Colorado Supreme Court to affirm free speech is for everyone and to ensure that the government cannot force Jack to create a custom cake expressing a message that violates his beliefs,” he said of the oral arguments in the Colorado Supreme Court.

The case is related to a recent Supreme Court decision to affirm a graphic designer’s religious freedom, Warner noted. 

“We also argued that the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in 303 Creative v. Elenis reaffirmed that Colorado can’t force artists to express a message inconsistent with their beliefs,” he added. 

Phillips opened Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, in 1993 and runs the shop with his wife, Debi. Both prioritize their faith as Christians and don’t make cakes that go against their consciences. Phillips has noted in the past that he won’t make cakes for messages he disagrees with including Halloween, divorces, or any cakes with disparaging messages. 

“We hope the Colorado Supreme Court will protect free speech for all and finally bring justice for Jack,” Warner said.

Our mission is the truth. Join us!

Your monthly donation will help our team continue reporting the truth, with fairness, integrity, and fidelity to Jesus Christ and his Church.