Colorado baker Jack Phillips who won a SCOTUS case after being sued for refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding in 2012, is now facing yet another lawsuit over his declining to create a cake for an event with which he disagreed.
The Supreme Court sided with Phillips in 2018 against a Colorado human rights commission over the cake, which the devout Christian baker had declined to make on the basis of his faith.
On the very same day in 2017 that the Supreme Court decided to hear Phillps’ case, Masterpiece Cake Shop in Boulder, Colorado received a phone call from a customer who wanted a cake to celebrate their gender transition.
Again, Phillips declined on the basis of his personal religious beliefs as he simply did not agree with the message of the cake.
The customer, as it happens, was one Autumn Scardina, an attorney and transgender activist who. Now, Phillips and his lawyers charge that the whole thing was a deliberate set-up.
“My experience this week has been trying, at best,” Phillips explained to Fox News this week. “We’ve closed down our bakery just so we could be in this trial. My wife had to testify, my daughter had to, I had to.
“This case started the day the Supreme Court decided they were going to hear our case. It was a very busy, very crazy day at the shop,” he told the outlet. “In the middle of all of this chaos, we got a phone call from an attorney in Denver asking us to create a cake pink on the inside with blue icing on the outside.”
Scardina had requested “two colors, a color scheme, a combination, designed to celebrate a gender transition.”
“We told the customer, this caller, that this cake was a cake we couldn’t create because of the message, the caller turned around and sued us,” Phillips continued. “This customer came to us intentionally to get us to create a cake or deny creating a cake that went against our religious beliefs.”
“This customer had been tracking our case for multiple years. This case was just a request to get us to fall into a trap,” he added.
In fact, Phillips said, in a conversation with Scardina in 2020 the latter said that whether “the case were rejected or dismissed, that they would be back the next day to request another cake order and then sue me and charge me again.”
The business owner’s attorney, Kirsten Waggoner of the Alliance Defending Freedom, told Fox that the case stems from “an obvious type of setup.”
“At the trial, and in other testimony, this attorney confirmed that Jack was contacted in an effort to make a test case and to ‘correct the errors’ of Jack’s thinking,” she explained.
At a deposition in 2019, Fox News explained, Scardina expressed his intentions to convince Phillips of his “errors.”
“I truly believed that — I want to believe that he’s a good person. I want to believe that he could be, sort of, persuaded to the errors of his thinking,” Scardina had said, according to a transcript reviewed by the outlet.
When asked during this week’s trial if calling Masterpiece Cake Shop was “some sort of test” or “setup,” Scardina merely professed to dislike hearing it phrased as such.
“I don’t like that phrase. I think it’s got a negative connotation. Nor do I associate it was a test, it wasn’t a test,” Scardina testified. “More of a challenge of the veracity. It was more a calling of somebody’s bluff.”
“I wanted Mr. Phillips to be telling the truth. I think he’s a good man. I think he is a good Christian; and I think his beliefs are noble, valid, are entitled to protection. I believe that he is being genuine in what he feels is his truth.”
All the same, Scardina still believes Phillips has no right to decline to create something for a customer that would violate his religious beliefs, it would seem.
“I disagree and don’t feel as if he has the right to do what he believes he has the right to do.”
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