After a graphic artist who didn't want to design wedding websites for homosexual couples won a victory at the U.S. Supreme Court this summer, Colorado's highest state court said Tuesday it will hear the case of a Christian baker who declined to make a cake celebrating a gender transition.
The Colorado Supreme Court's announcement is just another move in Jack Phillips's years-long legal ordeal over his religious convictions. The justices didn’t explain how or why they made the determination to hear Phillips' case.
BREAKING The CO Supreme Court will hear Jack Phillips' latest case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Scardina.
Following SCOTUS's landmark decision in 303 Creative, we are asking Colorado's high court to apply that ruling and affirm #FreeSpeech rights for Jack.
— Alliance Defending Freedom (@ADFLegal) October 3, 2023
He was immediately targeted by a transgender person named Autumn Scardina who called Phillips' suburban Denver cake shop in 2017 – on the same day the Supreme Court announced it would hear Jack's initial case. Scardina requested a birthday cake that had blue frosting on the outside and was pink on the inside. The shop refused after Scardina explained it would celebrate his transition from male to female.
The case involves the state’s anti-discrimination law that makes it illegal to refuse to provide services to people based on protected characteristics like race, religion or sexual orientation. The key issue in the case is whether the cakes Phillips creates are a form of speech and whether forcing him to make a cake with a message he does not support is a violation of his First Amendment right to free speech.
As CBN News reported last January, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled that the cake Scardina requested from Phillips and his Masterpiece Cakeshop is not a form of speech.
“We are grateful that the Colorado Supreme Court will hear Jack Phillips’ case to hopefully uphold every Coloradan’s freedom to express what they believe,” said Jake Warner, Phillips' attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom. “Jack has been targeted for years by opponents of free speech, and as the U.S. Supreme Court recently held in 303 Creative v. Elenis, no one should be forced to express messages they disagree with.”
Scardina's attorney, John McHugh, claimed that the 303 Creative ruling was narrow and applied only to businesses that are creating speech of their own.
McHugh added that he was also “excited” Colorado's high court would hear the challenge.