In a widely-watched case involving free speech, a Colorado state appeals court has ruled against baker Jack Phillips who declined a request to make a cake celebrating a gender transition.
The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled that the cake Autumn Scardina requested from Phillips and his Masterpiece Cakeshop is not a form of speech.
Phillips refuses to make cakes that express messages that violate his Christian beliefs. After spending more than a decade in court fighting for those beliefs, he's enduring yet another lawsuit from activists.
Attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom, a nonprofit religious rights law firm, have indicated that they plan to appeal the decision to the Colorado Supreme Court.
"Free speech is for everyone. No one should be forced to express a message that violates their core beliefs," ADF Senior Counsel Jake Warner said in a statement. "Over a decade ago, Colorado officials began targeting Jack, misusing state law to force him to say things he does not believe. Then an activist attorney continued that crusade. This cruelty must stop. One need not agree with Jack's views to agree that all Americans should be free to say what they believe, even if the government disagrees with those beliefs."
ADF Senior Vice President of Communications Greg Scott also tweeted, "Colorado appeals court sides with activist who demanded that Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, create a cake of Satan smoking marijuana and one celebrating a 'gender transition.' This cruelty must stop. Jack is appealing. @ADFLegal."
Colorado appeals court sides with activist who demanded that Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, create a cake of Satan smoking marijuana and one celebrating a "gender transition."
This cruelty must stop. Jack is appealing. @ADFLegal
— Greg Scott (@GScottSays) January 26, 2023
As CBN News reported, Phillips won a partial victory at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018 after refusing to make a cake for a gay wedding because of his religious beliefs.
Scardina, an attorney, called Phillips' suburban Denver cake shop in 2017 – on the same day the Supreme Court announced it would hear Jack's initial case – requesting a birthday cake that had blue frosting on the outside and was pink inside to celebrate their gender transition.
Scardina testified they wanted to "challenge the veracity" of Phillips' statements that he would serve LGBT customers.
Jack said he couldn't bake the cake due to his religious convictions. At a trial in 2021, he testified he did not think someone could change genders and he would not celebrate "somebody who thinks that they can."
Scardina won the lawsuit. The Colorado court ruled the baker violated the state's anti-discrimination law. Judge Timothy Schutz noted Phillips' wife initially told Scardina the bakery could make the cake before Scardina volunteered that the design was meant to celebrate her gender transition.
Both Scardina and Phillips argue that there are larger issues at stake.
Scardina says the case is about the "dignity of LGBTQ Americans and Coloradans and the rule of law."
Phillips says he's fighting for the rights of all Americans to live according to their consciences "without fear of punishment" by the government.
Since 2012, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop has been targeted nonstop and has continually found himself in court defending his religious beliefs.
Phillips, who has operated his shop for 20 years, told CBN News his creations, from cookies and cupcakes to signature cakes, are all inspired and motivated by his faith in Jesus Christ.
"It's the most important thing that I think about throughout the day. When I wake up, when I go to work, I want to know what I'm doing is pleasing to Him, that I honor Him and His Word because that's the most important thing," said Phillips.