Christian baker Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado lost his appeal on Thursday in a case surrounding his refusal to bake a cake celebrating a gender transition.
A three-judge panel of the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled against Phillips, upholding a previous ruling requiring Phillips to bake the cake for Autumn Scardina, a transgender woman. The design for the cake was supposed to have pink and blue frosting, the colors of the transgender flag, to celebrate Scardina’s gender transition.
“Scardina testified she requested a custom pink and blue cake with no message or other design elements. The trial court found that Debra agreed to make that cake but then retracted the commitment once Scardina told her what the cake was for,” Judge Timothy Schutz wrote in the panel’s decision.
“It was only after Scardina disclosed that she was transgender and intended to use the cake to celebrate both her birthday and her transition that Masterpiece and Phillips refused to provide the cake. Thus, it was Scardina’s transgender status, and her desire to use the cake in celebration of that status, that caused Masterpiece and Phillips to refuse to provide the cake.”
According to The Christian Post, the appeals court contended that Phillips was not being forced to present a message that contradicts his faith because the cake “expressed no message.” The court also asserted that “not all conduct constitutes speech.”
Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian legal advocacy group, criticized the appeals court’s decision and plans to appeal it.
“Over a decade ago, Colorado officials began targeting Jack, misusing state law to force him to say things he does not believe. Then an activist attorney continued that crusade. This cruelty must stop,” said ADF Senior Counsel Jake Warner in a statement.
“One need not agree with Jack’s views to agree that all Americans should be free to say what they believe, even if the government disagrees with those beliefs.”
Phillips previously won a U.S. Supreme Court case in 2018 for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple in 2012. Same-sex marriage was not legal in Colorado at the time.
Photo courtesy: Alliance Defending Freedom, used with permission.
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.