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A Colorado baker is suing for the second time for alleged LGBTQ bias.



A Colorado baker is suing for the second time for alleged LGBTQ bias.
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A Colorado baker is suing for the second time for alleged LGBTQ bias.

A Colorado baker is suing for the second time for alleged LGBTQ bias.


A Colorado baker who earned a partial win in the United States Supreme Court in 2018 for refusing to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple is on appeal again, this time for a transgender woman’s birthday cake.

Autumn Scardina attempted to order the birthday cake on the same day that the Supreme Court declared that baker Jack Phillips’ appeal in the wedding cake case would be heard. In celebration of her gender change, Scardina, an attorney, ordered a cake that was blue on the outside and pink on the inside.

Her case is the latest in a string of legal battles pitting LGBTQ people’s rights against religious opposition from merchants around the world, a question that the nation’s highest court has yet to address.

Scardina said Phillips had insisted as a Christian that he would not make the gay couple’s wedding cake because it included a religious rite, but would sell any other form of product, during a virtual trial held by a state judge in Denver on Monday.

She said she called Phillips’ Masterpiece Cakeshop to place the order after hearing about the court’s announcement to see if he meant it.

Her lawyer, Paula Greisen, asked if the call was a “setup,” and she said no.

“It was more of a bluff call,” she said.

Sean Gates, a lawyer for Phillips, said in opening arguments that his refusal to make Scardina’s cake was about the message, not discrimination against Scardina, reiterating claims made in Phillips’ legal dispute over his refusal to make a wedding cake for Charlie Craig and Dave Mullins in 2012. Phillips couldn’t make a cake with a message he didn’t agree with because of the media coverage he’d received since then, according to Gates.

“The message would be that he believes that a gender change is something to be celebrated,” Gates said, later adding that Phillips had objected to making cakes with other messages he didn’t like, such as Halloween decorations.

Scardina lodged a complaint against Phillips with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission before filing her case, and the Colorado Civil Rights Commission found probable cause that Phillips had discriminated against her. Phillips then filed a federal lawsuit against Colorado, accusing the state of pursuing the case as part of a “crusade to crush” him.

In March 2019, the state and Phillips’ attorneys decided to drop both cases as part of a deal that also required Scardina to file her own lawsuit. At the time, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said that both parties decided that moving forward with the cases was not in anyone’s best interests.

In 2018, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission acted with anti-religious prejudice when it punished Phillips for refusing to make Craig and Mullins’ same-sex wedding cake. The justices did not rule on the broader question of whether companies should deny service to gays and lesbians based on religious objections.

In a case in Philadelphia, the court is currently debating whether a Catholic social welfare organization should refuse to work with same-sex couples as foster parents.

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