The owner of a specialty cakes shop in Lakewood, Co. is under fire for refusing to sell a cake to a trans woman, which sparked the third lawsuit against him involving discrimination against customers on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.
In the latest lawsuit, filed on June 5 in Denver District Court, Denver-based attorney Autumn Scardina said that Masterpiece Cakeshop’s owner Jack Phillips refused to sell her a birthday cake “because she is transgender, despite repeatedly advertising that they would sell birthday cakes to the general public, including LGBT individuals.”
In August 2012, Scardina wanted to order a cake that was blue on the outside and pink on the inside, to celebrate her gender transition. But when she called the shop, she was told that they didn’t make cakes for “sex changes.”
Masterpiece Cakeshop’s website says that Phillips will “happily create custom cakes for anyone,” but he won’t “create custom cakes that express messages or celebrate events that conflict with his religious beliefs.”
Scardina initially filed a lawsuit with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission in 2018, after Phillips refusal to make her cake. The baker, in turn, sued the state claiming that he was being prosecuted because of his religious beliefs.
In March of this year, both parties agreed to drop the case, and State Attorney General Phil Weiser said that Scardina was free to pursue her own lawsuit, as the state would no longer use resources to investigate Phillips.
In her second lawsuit Scardina claims “continued discrimination against the LGBT community in violation of Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act and the Colorado Consumer Protection Act.”
“The dignity of all citizens in our state needs to be honored. Masterpiece Cakeshop said before the Supreme Court they would serve any baked good to members of the LGBTQ community. It was just the religious significance of it being a wedding cake,” Paula Griesen, one of the attorneys representing Scardina, told the local CBS station.
“We don’t believe they’ve been honest with the public,” she added.
Phillips had made national headlines before over his refusal to provide services to LGBTQ customers on the basis of his religion.
In 2012, a much publicized decision to deny baking a cake for the wedding of a gay couple, Charlie Craig and David Mullins, resulted in a lawsuit that made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.