Jack Phillips, the owner of the Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, is fighting for his religious freedom once more.
Phillips, a Christian, first sparked controversy when in 2012, he denied two gay men his services of baking a custom cake for the couple's celebration. The gay couple then filed a complaint to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, claiming that Phillips failed to comply with the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, which prohibits the discrimination of any business open to the public, against customers based on race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.
The Masterpiece Cakeshop owner was assisted by the Alliance Defending Freedom in appealing to the decision of the Court of Appeals and later withdrew his cake business, costing him about 40% of his earnings.
The discrimination charges filed by the gay couple was victorious for them, as it won in the courts and before a civil rights commission. However, in June 2017, the Supreme Court heard a new case filed following a petition for certiorari (review), and sided with Phillips in a lawsuit, The New York Times reported.
Phillips' legal nightmare was thought to be over, but on the very same day the Supreme Court agreed to hear his case, a local Denver attorney named Autumn Scardina phoned in to the Masterpiece Cakeshop and asked the owner to craft a cake that celebrates his "gender transition" to that of a transgender woman.
The Masterpiece Cakeshop owner found himself in the same situation that caused him a major lawsuit. Scardina, who requested for a pink and blue cake that represented his newfound transgender identity, filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission alleging discrimination on the basis of gender identity. Phillips responded with his own lawsuit against the Commission.
Scardina's case before the Commission was dismissed in March 2019, but he was determined to take down the Masterpiece Cakeshop owner. He then filed a private lawsuit that accused Phillips of violating Colorado's Anti-Discrimination Act and the Colorado Consumer Protection Act.
Scardina's representatives insisted that Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Philips and his cake business refused to sell a birthday cake to him because of his sexual identity even if they had previously advertised that they would sell their products to the general public, including LGBTQ individuals, NBC News reported.
That said, Masterpiece Cakeshop's website clearly states that Philips "cannot create all custom cakes":
"Masterpiece Cakeshop will happily create custom cakes for anyone. But like many cake artists, Jack cannot create all custom cakes. He cannot create custom cakes that express messages or celebrate events that conflict with his religious beliefs."
Alliance Defending Freedom representatives were quick to defend Phillips, calling out Scardina's camp for "harassing" the Masterpiece Cakeshop owner over his religious beliefs.
Kristen Waggoner, senior vice president of ADF's U.S. legal division said in a statement that the Masterpiece Cakeshop owner is being targeted because of his refusal to create cakes that "express messages or celebrate events in conflict with his conscience."
Waggoner said, "This attorney's relentless pursuit of Jack was an obvious attempt to punish him for his views, banish him from the marketplace and financially ruin him and his shop."
Christian Headlines reported that a new trial awaits Masterpiece Cakeshop Owner Jack Philips in March, during which he has to defend himself against Scardina's consumer protection claim.
Believers are urged to pray for Philips as he keeps fighting for his freedom to stand for his convictions.