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USA News

Christian baker heading back to court over gender transition cake

by Heather Preston

A Christian cake maker, who previously won a religious discrimination case at the US Supreme Court, is having his appeal heard following fresh legal action over his refusal to make a gender transition cake.

In 2018, Colorado cake artist Jack Phillips was granted the right to refuse to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple based on his religious beliefs.

Following the ruling, transgender woman Autumn Scardina sued the owner of the Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado, after he declined to make a pink and blue birthday cake to celebrate the transition.

On Tuesday, the Colorado Supreme Court announced it would hear Phillips’ case.

This is the third lawsuit Philips has faced in his career.

Represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, Phillips is appealing a Colorado Court of Appeals decision that would force him to express messages that violate his beliefs.

“Free speech is for everyone," ADF Senior Counsel Jake Warner argues, "the government can’t force artists to express messages they don’t believe.”

The appeal comes in the wake of a recent victory for a graphic artist who didn´t want to design wedding websites for same-sex couples.

Warner is calling for Colorado's highest court to apply the same ruling of "free speech for all" to reverse the appeals court’s decision to penalise Phillips.

"You don’t need to agree with Jack’s views to agree that Americans shouldn’t be compelled to express what they don’t believe,” he added.

Phillips has stated that he will work with “all people” and decides whether to create a custom cake based on "what message it will express, not who requests it."

Scardina, an attorney, requested the custom gender transition cake after the Supreme Court announced it would hear Phillips’ first case, regarding a custom cake to celebrate a same-sex wedding.

According to ADF, the attorney made a second request for a custom cake depicting Satan smoking marijuana, to “correct the errors of [Phillips’] thinking.” Phillips declined both requests as the cakes expressed messages that violate his core beliefs.

Scardina's attorney has insisted the cake order was not a "set up" intended to file a lawsuit.

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