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Colorado Supreme Court hears arguments in transgender cake case Tuesday

Jack Phillips
Posted at 6:54 AM, Jun 18, 2024

DENVER — The Colorado Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in a lawsuit against a Christian baker who refused to make a cake celebrating a gender transition.

It's one of three cases in Colorado that have pitted LGBTQ+ civil rights against First Amendment rights.

Two of those cases have involved Jack Phillips, a baker who in 2012 refused to bake a cake for a gay couple’s wedding.

Phillips partially prevailed before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018.

"Over the last ten years , officials and activists have tried to punish me for my religious beliefs. They have even tried to change my beliefs. Thru all this, I believe that free speech is for everyone. And no one should be forced to express a message they don’t believe," Phillips said."

He now is being sued by Autumn Scardina, a transgender woman who ordered a pink cake with blue frosting, commemorating her transition. Phillips refused after learning its significance.

"If he does make a cake and he decides to serve it to you, he can’t then not serve it to somebody else because of their race or gender or status. That’s not appropriate and that’s what’s at stake in this decision," Scardina said.

Under the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, it's illegal for places of public accommodation like retail stores to discriminate against protected classes of people, which includes transgender people. Scardina sued on basis of that law.

The Colorado Court of Appeals sided with Scardina, saying Phillips violated the law because the cake did not have a clear, direct message of significance to Phillips.

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Colorado Supreme Court hears arguments in transgender cake case Tuesday