Alleging religious persecution, the Colorado baker who became a national figure after he refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple and won at the Supreme Court level is suing the state once again. This time, he refused to bake a cake for a transgender woman who is celebrating her transition.
Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, filed a federal lawsuit this week against Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, among other state figures, contending that Colorado officials are on a “crusade to crush” him and his religious rights, CNN reported. Philips believes state officials “despise what he believes and how he practices his faith.”
“This lawsuit is necessary to stop Colorado’s continuing persecution of Phillips,” the filing says, as reported by CNN. Phillips wants $100,000 in punitive damages and is asking the court for permanent injunctions to prevent the state from enforcing Colorado anti-discrimination laws against him, according to NPR.
The case dates back to a June 2017 incident when lawyer Autumn Scardina ordered a cake that was pink inside and blue outside to celebrate the anniversary of her transitioning from male to female, NPR reported.
The lawsuit states that Phillips “serves all people, but will not create cakes that express messages or celebrate events contrary to his religious beliefs.”
Scardina alleged discrimination based on her transgender status in the case, a claim Colorado regulators found was supported by “sufficient evidence,” according to a June determination by the state’s Department of Regulatory Agencies.
“I know the Bible says that God created male and female and that we don’t get to choose that, and we don’t get to change that,” Phillips said, as cited by NPR. “And I don’t feel like the government has a right to compel me to participate in creating a cake that promotes that message.”
In June of this year, the Supreme Court sided with Phillips on his claim that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had shown hostility toward him based on his religious beliefs. The case began in 2012 when a gay couple asked him to create a cake for their wedding.
Because the 7-2 decision was narrow in scope, it left unresolved whether business owners are covered by their free speech rights to refuse to sell goods and services to same-sex couples. The ruling represented a win for Phillips, who continues to contend he is being persecuted for his Christian beliefs.
“This Court should put a stop to Colorado’s unconstitutional bullying,” he pleads is his lawsuit.