Anti-LGBTQ Baker Agrees To A Ceasefire With Colorado Civil Rights Commission

Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop

Anti-LGBTQ baker Jack Phillips has agreed to call it a draw with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

Phillips was brought up on charges by the commission for declining to make a pink and blue cake in 2017 celebrating a transgender woman’s transition.

Autumn Scardina, a Denver attorney, asked Phillips to make a blue and pink cake celebrating both her birthday and the anniversary of her transition.

The commission found, with probable cause, that Phillips had discriminated against Scardina due to her gender identity, a violation of the state’s public accommodation laws.

Phillips filed a counter-lawsuit against the commission alleging persecution for his Christian faith.

On Tuesday, Phillips’ attorneys and Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser mutually agreed to drop both legal actions.

Weiser told the local CBS news affiliate that both sides “agreed it was not in anyone’s best interest to move forward with these cases.”

Regarding whether religious beliefs can trump public accommodation laws intended to protect LGBTs from discrimination in his state, Weiser said, “The larger constitutional issues might well be decided down the road, but these cases will not be the vehicle for resolving them.”

“Equal justice for all will continue to be a core value that we will uphold as we enforce our state’s and nation’s civil rights laws,” he added.

But attorneys for the anti-LGBTQ legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented Phillips, claimed there was “overwhelming evidence” of hostility towards Phillips by the state.

The Denver Post reports Phillips issued a statement saying, “Today is a win for freedom.”

“I have and will always serve everyone who comes into my shop,” added Phillips. “I simply can’t celebrate events or express messages that conflict with my religious beliefs.”

Phillips famously waged a six-year battle with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission after turning away a gay couple seeking a cake to celebrate their marriage in 2012.

The fight went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court where Phillips won in a narrow ruling saying the commission showed anti-religious bias in determining its sanctions on Phillips.

The issue of religious freedoms over LGBT civil rights was not resolved in that case.

The Denver Post notes that the agreement between Phillips and the CCRC does not preclude Scardina from moving ahead with any legal action of her own.

(h/t Denver Post, CBSDenver)

Colorado: Anti-LGBTQ Baker Refuses To Sell Trans Woman A Cake

Anti-LGBTQ Colorado baker Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop has filed a new lawsuit against Gov. John Hickenlooper and Colorado Civil Rights Commission officials alleging “religious persecution” over his refusal to bake a cake for a transgender individual.
Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop

Anti-LGBTQ Colorado baker Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop has filed a new lawsuit against Gov. John Hickenlooper and Colorado Civil Rights Commission officials alleging “religious persecution” over his refusal to bake a cake for a transgender individual.

According to The Denver Post, Phillips’ lawsuit states the commission found the baker violated the state’s LGBT protection laws this past June when he declined to bake a pink and blue cake for trans woman Autumn Scardina of Arvada who was celebrating her seventh year of gender transition. Phillips claims the cake would have amounted to endorsement of messages of sex and gender identity that conflict with his deeply held religious beliefs.

Upon being rebuffed, Scardina filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission which ultimately determined Phillips had discriminated against Scardina based on her gender identity which violates the state’s public accommodation laws.

“The woman on the phone did not object to my request for a birthday cake until I told her I was celebrating my transition from male to female,” Scardina wrote in her complaint, according to ThinkProgress. “I believe that other people who request birthday cakes get to select the color and theme of the cake.”

In a June 28 letter, the commission informed Phillips he was in violation of state laws and to find a way to reach an amicable resolution with Scardina.

According to the lawsuit, Phillips is seeking not only restitution for legal fees but $100,000 from the director of the civil rights commission in “punitive damages.”
Phillips gained national attention in 2012 when he refused to sell a wedding cake to a gay couple.

In June this year, his case made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court which found the Colorado Civil Rights Commission may have been prejudiced against Phillips in doubting the sincerity of his religious claims and asked the commission to review the decision. The high court specifically noted at the time that the ruling was specific to this case only and not a broad pronouncement in support for LGBTQ discrimination.

In a press release, attorney Kristen Waggoner of the anti-LGBTQ law group Alliance Defending Freedom who is representing Phillips said, “The state of Colorado is ignoring the message of the U.S. Supreme Court by continuing to single out Jack for punishment and to exhibit hostility toward his religious beliefs.”

“Even though Jack serves all customers and simply declines to create custom cakes that express messages or celebrate events in violation of his deeply held beliefs, the government is intent on destroying him — something the Supreme Court has already told it not to do,” she added. “Neither Jack nor any other creative professionals should be targeted by the government for living consistently with their religious beliefs.”

The Internet Responds To Supreme Court’s Colorado Baker Ruling

While today’s ruling from the U.S.Supreme Court was disheartening to say the least, the good news is that the opinion as written by Justice Anthony Kennedy reaffirms our “dignity and worth” in an open marketplace.

While the court sided in a narrow ruling that Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission handled their decision against baker Jack Phillips in a sloppy manner, it did not set precedent for “legal discrimination” against LGBTs.

Plus, there was a lot of support out there on the interwebs for our community.

Take a look:

Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Anti-Gay Colorado Baker

The U.S. Supreme Court has just ruled in favor of an anti-LGBT baker in Colorado who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex wedding.

With Justice Anthony Kennedy writing for the majority, the court rules that when the Colorado Civil Rights Commission considered the Masterpiece Cakeshop matter “it did not do so with the religious neutrality that the Constitution requires.”

The plaintiffs argued that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission showed animus against baker Jack Phillips suggesting that members of the commission believed that Phillips Claimed religious freedom in an effort to justify discrimination.

From the Associated Press:

The Associated Press reports:

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that a Lakewood baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple because of religious beliefs did not violate Colorado’s anti-discrimination law. The case pitted Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, and the couple, Charlie Craig and David Mullins.

The court ruled that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission’s actions violated the free exercise clause. In arguments before the court in December, Justine Anthony Kennedy, the author of all the court’s major gay-rights cases, worried that a ruling in favor of Phillips might allow shop owners to put up signs saying “We do not bake cakes for gay weddings.”

Only Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor opposed the narrow ruling in favor of the baker.

In his conclusion, Kennedy makes clear that the ruling here only addresses vacating the decision by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission regarding religious neutrality.

Kennedy states that this is not a license to discriminate against gay persons “seeking goods and services in an open market.”

From the last paragraph of the ruling:

The outcome of cases like this in other circumstances must await further elaboration in the courts, all in the context of recognizing that these disputes must be re- solved with tolerance, without undue disrespect to sincere religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market.

Louise Melling, deputy legal director of the ACLU, issued a statement which read, “The court reversed the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision based on concerns unique to the case but reaffirmed its longstanding rule that states can prevent the harms of discrimination in the marketplace, including against LGBT people.”

Lamda Legal issued a statement which read, in part:

The Court today has offered dangerous encouragement to those who would deny civil rights to #LGBTQ people and people living with #HIV. Religious freedom under our Constitution has always meant the right to believe whatever you wish but not to act on your beliefs in ways that harm others. The Court alarmingly fails to heed that distinction.

More from LGBT activists:

First Impressions From #MasterpieceCakeshop Arguments At SCOTUS

Mark Stern, reporter for Slate, offers his first impressions after attending the SCOTUS arguments today regarding Colorado baker Jack Phillips who refused to sell a wedding cake to a gay couple for their wedding.

According to Stern, things may not look promising for the good guys.

Just got out of arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop. I think the anti-gay baker wins 5-4.

Kennedy doesn’t seem to agree that refusing to serve a same-sex wedding is inherently anti-gay discrimination. And he said Colorado has been “neither tolerant nor respectful” to the baker’s “religious beliefs.”

Kennedy did suggest that a baker who put an anti-gay sign in his window would create “an affront to the gay community.” But then he implied that Colorado is discriminating against Christian bakers.

Roberts, Alito, and Gorsuch all obviously supported the anti-gay baker. Kagan, Sotomayor, Ginsburg, and Breyer were extremely skeptical of his position.

I only see one way progressives win: Kennedy says compelled cake-baking isn’t speech, but religious discrimination may have infected this case. Then remand for further findings on free exercise.

I think there is a decent chance that there are 5 votes for this resolution. But I also think it’s more likely that 5 justices find a reason to rule for the baker.

David Badash, at The New Civil Rights Movement, posted this on Facebook:

It looks possible, even likely, LGBT civil rights will lose in today’s SCOTUS case. The is bad, not only for the LGBT community but for all minorities, and women.

Those who voted for Trump, Stein, Johnson, or wrote in someone other than Clinton, esp. in battleground states, helped put Gorsuch on the Supreme Court. A Clinton win would have put a progressive on the Court, and we would have won this case.

If people who believe in equality lose this case, so many in America will suffer. This is what happens in a deeply divided society where every single vote is critical.
Go ahead, come at me.

Supporters Launch Crowdfunding Campaign For Anti-Gay Colorado Baker

Baker Jack Phillips refused to bake wedding cake for same-sex marriage

As we’ve seen in the past with other businesses who chose to not serve LGBTs, the friends of a Colorado baker have launched a crowd-funding campaign to help offset the penalties the baker has incurred by violating the state’s public accommodation laws:

“Cake artist” Jack Phillips has said his bakery, Masterpiece Cakeshop, has lost more than a third of its receipts since he stopped making all wedding cakes while the case makes its way through the legal system.

“We hope it will relieve some of the financial pressure on Jack,” his brother-in-law, Jim Sander, said of the new fundraising effort in a phone interview Friday with The Daily Signal. “A business that has a 10 percent loss is a big deal in the Wall Street Journal. So a 40 percent loss is a big hit.”

Sander said the “crowdfunding” campaign, through the website Continue to Give, a Christian-oriented service, went online Thursday afternoon—hours after the Colorado Court of Appeals decided Phillips and his business must provide cakes for gay marriages. The mission: Financially support Phillips, 59, and “protect his freedom of speech and freedom of religion.” The goal: Raise $200,000.

At this writing, six percent (or about $12K) has been raised by the campaign.

Colorado: Bakery happy to bake for dog wedding but not lesbians

Masterpiece Cake Shop in Colorado will bake for dog wedding but not for gay marriage

Another bakery – this time in Colorado – decided they couldn’t possibly bake for a same-sex wedding/commitment ceremony based on deeply held religious beliefs.

And then they agreed to make goods for a dog wedding.

Bakery fail.

From the ACLU.org:

Stephanie Schmalz and her partner, Jeanine, wanted to order some cupcakes to celebrate their commitment ceremony. They contacted Masterpiece Cake Shop in Lakewood, Colorado, but the store refused to take their order, informing the couple that they have a strict policy against selling cakes for same-sex weddings and ceremonies.

Then Stephanie tried a little experiment. She called the bakery and told the owner, Jack Phillips, that she was planning to host a wedding celebration for two dogs. She told him that the dog wedding cake would need to feed 20 people and should be decorated with the names “Roscoe” and “Buffy.” Without hesitation, Phillips quoted her a price and asked how soon she needed it.

When another couple tried to place an order with Phillips, he told them he would not provide a cake for same-sex weddings, the same way he would not provide cakes for pedophiles.

More at ACLU.org

(tipped by longtime Randy Report reader John)