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Christian Baker Under Fire Again—This Time for Refusing to Bake a Transgender Cake

In June, the Supreme Court decided the case Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, issuing a powerful rebuke to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission for its "religious hostility" toward Christian baker Jack Phillips. Phillips had refused to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding, and the commission had compared his decision to religious arguments in favor of the Ku Klux Klan and Nazism.

Now, the commission is again going after Phillips for declining to create a custom cake — this time a cake celebrating transgenderism. On Tuesday night, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the Christian law firm that represented Phillips before the Supreme Court and helped him gain an important 7-2 victory, filed a federal lawsuit against the commission to forestall action against Phillips.

"The state of Colorado is ignoring the message of the U.S. Supreme Court by continuing to single out Jack for punishment and to exhibit hostility toward his religious beliefs," ADF Senior Vice President of U.S. Legal Division Kristen Waggoner declared in a statement. “Even though Jack serves all customers and simply declines to create custom cakes that express messages or celebrate events in violation of his deeply held beliefs, the government is intent on destroying him—something the Supreme Court has already told it not to do."

On the very day the Supreme Court decided to hear Masterpiece Cakeshop (June 26, 2017), a caller asked the bakery to make a cake with a pink inside and a blue outside, celebrating a gender transition from male to female. The shop politely declined, but Phillips believes that the same lawyer, on other occasions, requested that he create other custom cakes with messages that violate his faith — a cake celebrating Satan and a cake with Satanic symbols. The lawyer, a man identifying as a woman, goes by the name Autumn Scardina.

Shortly after the Supreme Court gave Jack Phillips his win, denouncing the Colorado Civil Rights Commission for "religious hostility," the state began to investigate Phillips again, finding probable cause that he had discriminated against the transgender lawyer who Phillips believes placed the call.

The commission had originally ruled that Phillips had discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation against Charlie Craig and Greg Mullins when he refused to craft a cake celebrating their same-sex wedding ceremony in 2012. ADF and Phillips presented two basic arguments: that his free speech rights enabled him to opt out of baking a cake with a message he disagreed with (endorsing a same-sex wedding), and that he was treated unfairly on the basis of his religion.

The Supreme Court granted him a tremendous victory on the second argument, but his case wasn't decided until 6 years later.