Discourse

Colorado baker again faces legal trouble and accusations of bigotry for refusing to bake 'gender transition' cake

Because the Supreme Court punted the true core issues of the case down the road, Phillips faces another thrashing via targeted, time-consuming lawsuits.
Nicole Russell
Nicole Russell Texas, US
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Jack Phillips isn't the only baker in Lakewood, Colorado, a suburb just 15 minutes outside Denver. But given he is in court for the second time, fighting a lawsuit claiming he is discriminatory because he wouldn't bake a cake for a specific celebration—celebrations he happens to disagree with due to his traditional values rooted in his Judeo-Christian faith—you would think so.

The fact that there are dozens of bakers in Denver, Colorado from which nearly any cake for any celebration could be purchased, is both a salient point and, as both the right and left of center politics can keenly observe, would argue, pointless.

As most people are by now aware, a same sex couple sued Jack Phillips in 2012 when he refused to bake them a cake for their wedding. The couple complained to the local government, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which claimed discrimination; Phillips claimed it was unconstitutional to force him to bake a cake to celebrate a message with which he vehemently disagreed.

The case finally made it to the Supreme Court in 2018. In a 7-2 decision, the Justices barely sided with him, and it was on the grounds that the government can't compel speech—and a custom cake was declared, after intense debate among the Justices, a form of "speech."  The government was also pointedly hostile toward Phillips. Justice Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion, said the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, "showed elements of a clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs motivating his objection."

Unfortunately, Jack Phillips failed to learn his lesson and surrender his beliefs for the good of the cause du jour: It is not enough for marginalized people or groups to have equality under the law, they demand fealty by way of entitlement.

They demand that orthodox people change their belief systems and give them preference or they will force it by any means necessary, including targeted harassment campaigns that are costly and time-consuming. This is why it does not matter if there are 1,000 bakeries in Denver or there is only 1 bakery in Denver so long as every baker bows to the demands of the newly-entitled.

Because Phillips failed to learn his lesson and because the Supreme Court punted the true core issues of the case down the road—free speech and free exercise questions—it opened him up for yet another thrashing via targeted, purposeful, time-consuming lawsuits.

This time a transgender person, an attorney named Autumn Scardina called the dutiful but obstinate baker in 2017 and requested a custom case to celebrate the gender transition Scardina had undergone. Again, Jack refused to bend to the will of the LGBTQ mob. When he refused, Scardina filed a lawsuit with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. When they dropped it, Scardina filed a suit.

One part of Scardina's lawsuit was so weak it has already been dismissed. Scardina claimed Phillips had misled her via advertising, claiming he would sell a gender transition cake—and then didn't. How ironic Scardina would claim she'd been gaslit when she's the one doing the gaslighting: By 2017, the year she filed her lawsuit, Jack's case, his refusal to bake a custom cake that contradicted his orthodox beliefs was known the world over. Scardina knew he would refuse—the point was not that he would refuse, but it was to target his refusal, to convince a court to find it unconstitutional, and to continue to make an example of him until he capitulated.

Alliance Defending Freedom General Counsel Kristen Waggoner represented Phillips, and as regards the District Court of Colorado's decision a few weeks ago to dismiss one of the two claims against Colorado cake artist Jack Phillips in Scardina v. Masterpiece Cakeshop, said in a statement:

"The decision by the court to dismiss one of the claims against Jack Phillips is the first step towards final justice. Jack has been threatened with financial ruin simply because he makes decisions about which messages to create and celebrate—decisions that every other artist in Colorado is free to make. Tolerance for different opinions is essential. We look forward to defending Jack—and ultimately prevailing—on the remaining claim."

Some people might ask: Why not just bake the cake? The same question could be reversed: Why not ask another baker to bake a cake? Phillips can no more disregard his belief system and cede to the mob then progressives can, apparently, stop targeting Christians for those same beliefs. The only problem is, one is protected under the Constitution, and one is not.

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