Anti-LGBTQ Colorado baker Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop has filed a new lawsuit against Gov. John Hickenlooper and Colorado Civil Rights Commission officials alleging “religious persecution” over his refusal to bake a cake for a transgender individual.
According to The Denver Post, Phillips’ lawsuit states the commission found the baker violated the state’s LGBT protection laws this past June when he declined to bake a pink and blue cake for trans woman Autumn Scardina of Arvada who was celebrating her seventh year of gender transition.
Phillips claims the cake would have amounted to endorsement of messages of sex and gender identity that conflict with his deeply held religious beliefs.
Upon being rebuffed, Scardina filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission which ultimately determined Phillips had discriminated against Scardina based on her gender identity which violates the state’s public accommodation laws.
“The woman on the phone did not object to my request for a birthday cake until I told her I was celebrating my transition from male to female,” Scardina wrote in her complaint, according to ThinkProgress. “I believe that other people who request birthday cakes get to select the color and theme of the cake.”
In a June 28 letter, the commission informed Phillips he was in violation of state laws and to find a way to reach an amicable resolution with Scardina.
According to the lawsuit, Phillips is seeking not only restitution for legal fees but $100,000 from the director of the civil rights commission in "punitive damages.”
Phillips gained national attention in 2012 when he refused to sell a wedding cake to a gay couple.
In June this year, that case made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court which found the Colorado Civil Rights Commission may have been prejudiced against Phillips in doubting the sincerity of his religious claims and asked the commission to review the decision.
The high court carefully noted at the time that the ruling was specific to that case only and not a broad pronouncement in support for LGBTQ discrimination.
Also, nothing in the ruling said the state couldn't investigate him for future violations.
The new lawsuit includes allegations that Phillips lost 40 percent of his business income when he was ordered to either bake cakes for everyone or give up the part of his business that catered to weddings.
In a press release, attorney Kristen Waggoner of the anti-LGBTQ law group Alliance Defending Freedom who is representing Phillips said, “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.”
“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,” she added. “Neither Jack nor any other creative professionals should be targeted by the government for living consistently with their religious beliefs.”
According to The Denver Post, state officials have not made any public comments on the new lawsuit.