In early June, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Jack Phillips, the baker at Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado, who refused to make a cake for a gay couple’s wedding. And now, the baker is once again suing the state after facing backlash for denying service to a transgender customer.
NBC News reported that on June 28th, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission ruled that Phillips had discriminated against a transgender woman by refusing to bake her a cake. In a statement for the discrimination charge, the woman, an attorney named Autumn Scardina, wrote that the Lakewood shop had only denied her request once she revealed that she wanted the cake to celebrate the anniversary of her “transition from male to female.”
According to CNN, on August 14th, Phillips sued Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper over the charges, claiming that the state was on a “crusade” against Phillips for his religious beliefs. Phillips also reportedly named the director of the Colorado Civil Rights Division, members of the commission, and the state’s attorney general in his suit.
The lawsuit, published by HuffPost, argues that the state “will not rest until Phillips either closes Masterpiece Cakeshop or agrees to violate his religious beliefs.”
Phillips told Colorado Public Radio that he would not make a cake celebrating someone coming out as transgender because he believes it goes against the will of God.
The Supreme Court’s June ruling in the earlier Masterpiece Cakeshop case determined that the commission had been hostile toward Phillips.
But in its decision, the court also wrote that future cases like this “must await further elaboration in the courts.” In other words, it still hasn’t been determined if businesses can do this as a rule.
If Phillips’ current lawsuit goes all the way to the Supreme Court, it could finally determine if business owners can reject clientele based on their religious beliefs. In the meantime, we hope the court recognizes how important it is to protect those who, like the LGBTQ community, have routinely been oppressed.