The owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colo. has filed a lawsuit against the state, claiming officials discriminated against his religious beliefs.
The lawsuit stems from a custom cake request in 2017 from Autumn Scardina, a lawyer who wanted to celebrate her birthday and the seventh anniversary of the day she came out as transgender. Jack Phillips, the owner of the cake shop, refused to make the cake because of his religious beliefs.
The Colorado Civil Rights Commission ruled this past June that there was probable cause that Masterpiece Cakeshop discriminated against Scardina for being transgender.
The lawsuit filed by Phillip claims that the ruling violated his First Amendment Rights with its “clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs motivating his objection.”
“Phillips declined to create the cake with the blue-and-pink design because it would have celebrated messages contrary to his religious belief that sex — the status of being male or female — is given by God, is biologically determined, is not determined by perceptions or feelings, and cannot be chosen or changed,” the lawsuit said.
This isn’t the first time Phillips has been under fire for his religious beliefs. He refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple in 2012 and was sued for discrimination. This past June, however, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Phillips.
The Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal nonprofit that funded Phillips’s previous case, said that Colorado officials are being hostile toward Phillip for his faith.
“You would think that a clear Supreme Court decision against their first effort would give them pause,” the group stated. “But it seems like some in the state government are hellbent on punishing Jack for living according to his faith. If that isn’t hostility, what is?”
Phillips has been allegedly harassed, received death threats and had his shop vandalized while the same-sex wedding cake case was in the judicial system.
The current lawsuit seeks to overturn the Colorado Civil Rights Commission ruling and at least $100,000 in punitive damages.