Colorado Rights Commission & Denver Baker Agree To A Ceasefire Over Anti-LGBT Bias

Anti-LGBTQ baker Jack Phillips has agreed to call it a draw with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

Phillips was brought up on charges by the commission for declining to make a cake in 2017 celebrating a transgender woman’s transition. 

Autumn Scardina, a Denver attorney, asked Phillips to make a blue and pink cake celebrating both her birthday and the anniversary of her transition.

The commission found, with probable cause, that Phillips had discriminated against Scardina due to her gender identity, a violation of the state’s public accommodation laws.

Phillips filed a counter-lawsuit against the commission alleging persecution for his Christian faith.

On Tuesday, Phillips’ attorneys and Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser mutually agreed to drop both legal actions.

Weiser told the local CBS news affiliate that both sides “agreed it was not in anyone’s best interest to move forward with these cases.”

Regarding whether religious beliefs can trump public accommodation laws intended to protect LGBTs from discrimination in his state, Weiser said, “The larger constitutional issues might well be decided down the road, but these cases will not be the vehicle for resolving them.”

“Equal justice for all will continue to be a core value that we will uphold as we enforce our state’s and nation’s civil rights laws,” he added.

But attorneys for the anti-LGBTQ legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented Phillips, claimed there was “overwhelming evidence” of hostility towards Phillips by the state.

The Denver Post reports Phillips issued a statement saying, “Today is a win for freedom.”

“I have and will always serve everyone who comes into my shop,” added Phillips. “I simply can’t celebrate events or express messages that conflict with my religious beliefs.”

Phillips famously waged a six-year battle with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission after turning away a gay couple seeking a cake to celebrate their marriage in 2012.

The fight went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court where Phillips won in a narrow ruling saying the commission showed anti-religious bias in determining its sanctions on Phillips.

The issue of religious freedoms over LGBT civil rights was not resolved in that case.

The Denver Post notes that the agreement between Phillips and the CCRC does not preclude Scardina from moving ahead with any legal action of her own.

(h/t Denver Post, CBSDenver)

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