A lawyer for Jack Philips is challenging a ruling against the baker over his refusal to make a gender transition cake. In 2017, Autumn Scardina placed an order with Jack’s cake shop in Denver for a blue birthday cake with pink toppings to signify her gender transition.
But with Jack being a Christian, he refused the request, testifying in court in June 2021 that he doesn’t believe someone can change genders.
At the time, Jack insisted he wouldn’t celebrate somebody who thinks they can change genders.
He further claimed he couldn’t make the cake because of its message, and in response, Bruce Jones – the Denver District Judge, pointed out that the case was about a refusal to sell a product, not compelled speech. The judge wrote: “The anti-discrimination laws are intended to ensure that members of our society who have historically been treated unfairly are no longer treated as others.”
And as the verdict, Judge Jones stated that Scardina [pictured] was denied a cake for violating the law and fined the baker $500, the maximum penalty under Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act.
Forward to 2022, Jake Warner, the lawyer for Jack, is pushing for the court to overturn the ruling because forcing the baker to bake a cake signifying a message in contradiction with his beliefs is tantamount to violating his right to free speech. Warner, of the Christian legacy advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom [ADF], accused Scardina, an attorney, of being an activist who set out to test Jack.
The attorney pointed out that Scardina attempted to order her cake on the same day the U.S. Supreme court announced Jack won a partial victory for refusing to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.
“In this case, an activist attorney demanded Jack create custom cakes in order to test Jack and correct the errors of his thinking, and the activist even threatened to sue Jack again if the case is dismissed for any reason. Radical activists and government officials are targeting artists like Jack because they won’t promote messages on marriage and sexuality that violate their core convictions, ADF general counsel Kristen Waggoner said.
Ms. Waggoner added that the case represents a disturbing trend: the weaponization of our justice system to ruin those with whom the activist disagree.
She continued: “We will appeal this decision and continue to defend the freedom of all Americans to peacefully live and work according to their deeply held beliefs without fear of punishment.” In response to the allegations against her, Scardina said she wanted to challenge the veracity of Jack’s statements that he would serve LBGT customers and that her attempt to get a cake wasn’t a setup.
Scardina’s attorney, John McHugh, insisted that the case concerns how LGBT people are treated, not just what happened to her.
“This is about a business that is open to the public that simply says to an entire class of people in the community that your identity, who you are, is something that is objectional,” McHugh said. When Jack won the Supreme Court case, it was ruled that Colorado’s Civil Right Commission displayed an anti-religious bias for sanctioning the baker for refusing to make a wedding cake for Charlie and Dave Mullins.
Same-sex couple Mullins and Charlie, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, alleged that Jack used his Christian faith as a pretext for unlawful discrimination.
The ACL also said the baker was advocating for a discriminatory license that could have broad repercussions beyond gay rights. The case became a cultural hit in the United States at the time, highlighting the tensions between gay rights proponents and conservative Christians.