Jack Phillips Back in Court Again Fighting Ruling Over Gender Transition Cake
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Colorado Christian baker Jack Phillips is back in court again. This time for choosing not to make a cake celebrating a gender transition.
In 2018, Phillips won a partial victory at the Supreme Court after refusing to make a cake for a gay wedding because of his religious beliefs.
As CBN News reported, in a 7-2 ruling, the high court agreed the Colorado Civil Rights Commission overstepped its legal limits. They said the state acted with anti-religious bias in enforcing the anti-discrimination law against Phillips after he refused to bake a cake celebrating the wedding of Charlie Craig and Dave Mullins in 2012.
The justices called the commission unfairly dismissive of Phillips' religious beliefs.
Now his attorney is urging the state's appeals court to overturn a more recent ruling against him that claims he violated the state's anti-discrimination law by not making the transgender cake.
Autumn Scardina 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 her gender transition.
Scardina testified she 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 last year, 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.
Jake Warner, an attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), said the ruling was wrong. He said requiring Phillips to create a cake with a message contrary to his religious beliefs amounts to forcing him to say something he does not believe, violating his right to free speech.
Both Scardina and Phillips argue that there are larger issues at stake.
Scardina said the case was about the "dignity of LGBTQ Americans and Coloradans and the rule of law."
Phillips said 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.
"It's one thing to be sued repeatedly; it's another to watch your family suffer harassment and face death threats, be forced to lay off longtime employees, and lose a substantial part of your business," reads a statement from the ADF.
"No American should be bullied or banished from the marketplace simply for living and working consistently with their faith. But this new lawsuit threatens to do just that," ADF stated. "Opponents of religious freedom want to strip away our freedom to live and work consistently with our deeply held beliefs. And they're going to extreme lengths to punish those—like Jack—who are willing to stand for their faith."
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"Praise God that Jack refused to give up his freedom without a fight. He knows it's not just his own religious freedom on the line—it's yours too," it continued.
Phillips has said he serves everybody that comes into his shop, but he can't create every message that people ask him to create.
He said he will not bake and decorate erotic cakes, Halloween cakes, or cakes that have an anti-American message or are designed to insult someone.
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.
Conservative Christian podcast host and author Allie Beth Stuckey took to Instagram in support of Phillips and encouraged others to stand behind him.
"When we see someone being unfairly maligned, instead of shrinking back and saying, 'glad that's not me!' we raise our hand and say, 'What she said - I believe it too. And any hate you're going to hurl her way, I'll take it with her.' That kind of courage and kindness is contagious. It empowers and emboldens," she explained.
"I don't know the future of the country in the hands of this imperialistic, relentless, malevolent progressivism, but I do know we have to be there for each other as we all stand for truth," she added.
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