The conservative group representing Colorado baker Jack Phillips vowed to appeal after a judge sided with the plaintiff, a transgender woman, on Tuesday following Phillips’ refusal to make a cake celebrating a gender transition.
“In this case, an activist attorney demanded Jack create custom cakes in order to ‘test’ Jack and ‘correct the errors’ of his thinking, and the activist even threatened to sue Jack again if the case is dismissed for any reason,” Alliance Defending Freedom General Counsel Kristen Waggoner said in a statement. “Radical activists and government officials are targeting artists like Jack because they won’t promote messages on marriage and sexuality that violate their core convictions.”
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Waggoner said the case “represents a disturbing trend: the weaponization of our justice system to ruin those with whom the activists disagree.”
“We will appeal this decision and continue to defend the freedom of all Americans to peacefully live and work according to their deeply held beliefs without fear of punishment,” she said.
Judge A. Bruce Jones said that Phillips refused to make a cake for plaintiff Autumn Scardina because of Scardina’s gender identity and said enforcing Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act does not violate Phillips’ religious freedom or First Amendment rights.
“The anti-discrimination laws are intended to ensure that members of our society who have historically been treated unfairly, who have been deprived of even the every-day right to access businesses to buy products, are no longer treated as ‘others.’ This case is about one such product—a pink and blue birthday cake—and not compelled speech,” Jones wrote.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, denounced Jones’ decision Wednesday. “This is religious persecution. Naked & unabashed,” Cruz wrote on Twitter. “And it is lawless disregard of binding Supreme Court precedent.”
Phillips previously won a case before the Supreme Court in 2018 after refusing to make a custom wedding cake for a same-sex couple.
“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,” Phillips told Fox News exclusively in March. “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.”
Phillips told Fox News that he was told “it was two colors, a color scheme, a combination, designed to celebrate a gender transition.”
Scardina requested the cake in 2017 in honor of her gender transition.
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“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 told Fox News. “This customer came to us intentionally to get us to create a cake or deny creating a cake that went against our religious beliefs.”
He added: “This customer had been tracking our case for multiple years. This case was just a request to get us to fall into a trap.”
Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.