Baker loses lawsuit over refusing to make transgender cake

birthday cake
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A Colorado baker who refused to make a birthday cake celebrating a gender transition, saying it was against his religious beliefs, has lost a legal battle over the confection.

The case stretches back to 2017, when Autumn Scardina went to Masterpiece Cakeshop, owned by Jack Phillips, and requested a custom-designed cake that was blue on the outside and pink on the inside to celebrate her transition from male to female.

Attorneys say Phillips declined to create the cake because it expressed messages and celebrated an event that violated his core religious beliefs.

Scardina then filed an anti-discrimination lawsuit. In 2021, a district judge ruled that Phillips violated the state's anti-discrimination law and ordered him to pay a $500 fine.

Phillips appealed the ruling in 2022, saying it essentially forces him to express messages that violate his beliefs, and asked the court to uphold his First Amendment rights.

Last week, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled against Phillips. The court found that the state law that makes it illegal to refuse to provide services to people based on protected characteristics like race, religion or sexual orientation does not violate business owners' right to practice or express their religion, the Associated Press reported.

"We conclude that creating a pink cake with blue frosting is not inherently expressive and any message or symbolism it provides to an observer would not be attributed to the baker," the court ruled, per the AP.

Phillips, who is represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, plans to appeal the decision to the Colorado Supreme Court.

"Free speech is for everyone. No one should be forced to express a message that violates their core beliefs," ADF senior counsel Jake Warner sad in a statement. "One need not agree with Jack's views to agree that all Americans should be free to say what they believe, even if the government disagrees with those beliefs."

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