A Denver court has fined a baker $500
for refusing to make a cake celebrating a transgender woman's
birthday and gender transition.
In 2017, Jack Phillips, the owner of
Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, refused to bake a pink
cake with blue frosting for Autumn Scardina, a lawyer, to mark her
birthday and the seventh anniversary of her gender transition.
Phillips' lawyers have said that he
refused to make the cake because he believes that gender is “given
by God” and “not determined by perceptions or feelings.”
Phillips was involved in a similar case
involving a gay male couple who asked for a wedding cake that reached
the Supreme Court. The high court handed Phillips a narrow victory.
Scardina attempted to order her cake on
the same day that the Supreme Court agreed to hear Phillips' case.
Judge Bruce Jones of the Denver
District Court ordered Phillips to pay Scardina $500 for violating
Colorado's Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA).
“The anti-discrimination laws are
intended to ensure that members of our society who have historically
been treated unfairly, who have been deprived of even the every-day
right to access businesses to buy products, are no longer treated as
'others,'” Jones wrote.
Colorado officials in 2017 found that
Phillips had violated the law when he refused Scardina's request.
Phillips in turn sued the state. Both cases were dropped after the
state and Phillips reached a settlement in 2019. However, Scardina
pursued her own litigation.
Phillips is represented by the Alliance
Defending Freedom (ADF), which is opposed to LGBT rights. ADF said
that it would appeal the ruling.
“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 lawyer Kristen Waggoner said in a statement.
Several Republican lawmakers, including
Senators Ted Cruz and Tom Cotton, condemned the ruling.
“Shameful,” Cruz tweeted. “This
is religious persecution. Naked & unabashed. And it is lawless
disregard of binding Supreme Court precedent.”