The Colorado Supreme Court announced Tuesday that it would take up the case involving Christian baker Jack Phillips, who was sued for refusing to make a gender transition cake due to his religious beliefs.
Phillips was sued by Autumn Scardina, a transgender attorney, in March 2021 after Scardina called his bakery in 2017 and asked him to make a cake with blue on the outside and pink on the inside for a gender transition birthday party. An appeals court ruled that Phillips’ religious freedom was not covered under the First Amendment but the state Supreme Court decided to take up the case, according to the court’s order list for the upcoming term.
John McHugh, Scardina’s attorney, told the Daily Caller News Foundation that they are pleased the court is going to “address these ongoing challenges to Colorado’s anti-discrimination laws.”
“As the U.S. Supreme Court recently held, it is ‘unexceptional’ for Colorado to apply these important laws to most businesses,” McHugh said. “All citizens in our state have the right not to be turned away from any store because of who they are, the color of their skin, or who they love. We look forward to the Court reaffirming that right once again.”
Scardina called the same day in 2017 that the U.S. Supreme Court decided to take up Phillip’s previous case after he refused to make a cake with statements in support of a gay wedding, with the court eventually ruling that the state of Colorado could not compel Phillips to make a cake with an “expressive statement” that would violate his religious beliefs. Scardina argued in the lawsuit that Phillips had violated the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act which prohibits, discrimination based on sexual orientation in a “place of business engaged in any sales to the public and any place offering services . . . to the public.”
The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled against Phillips in January, and determined that his refusal to comply with Scardina’s request “does not constitute protected speech under the First Amendment.” The Supreme Court, however, recently ruled against a similar argument made in the case of Christian web designer Lorie Smith in June, who was sued for refusing to make wedding websites celebrating same-sex marriage and Jake Warner, senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, told the DCNF that this same logic should apply to Phillips’ case.
“Free speech is for everyone. 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,” Warner said. “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.”
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