“This is about a business that is open to the public that simply says to an entire class of people in the community that your identity, who you are, is something that objectionable,” legal counsel for Ms Scardina says
The Colorado baker who secured a partial win in the US Supreme Court after refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding has broken the law for refusing to make a transgender woman’s birthday cake, according to judge’s ruling.
Denver District Judge A. Bruce Jones ruled that Jack Phillips’ rejection of an order from Autumn Scardina went against the law. Ms Scardina wanted her cake to be blue, pink and white (the colours of the trans pride flag). The cake was intended to celebrate Ms Scardina’s transition, thus Mr Phillips’ said he was unable to make it.
In the decision, Judge Jones highlighted Mr Phillips’ testimony, in which he said that he did not believe someone could amend the gender they were assigned at birth and he would not honour “somebody who thinks that they can”.
The judge said in the ruling, “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 not longer treated as ‘others.’”
According to a 2020 survey conducted by The Center for American Progress, 55 per cent of transgender individuals said they had avoided venues like restaurants and shops to avoid discrimination.
Alliance Defend Freedom, the organisation speaking on behalf of Mr Phillips, said on 16 June they were seeking to appeal the ruling.
“Radical activists and government officials are targeting artists like Jack because they won’t promote messages on marriage and sexuality that violate our core convictions,” Kristen Waggoner, the group’s general counsel said in a statement.
The ruling also forced Mr Phillips to pay a fine of $500. This is the maximum financial penalty for breaching the state’s Anti-Discrimination Act.
The first instance that Ms Scardina, a lawyer, placed a cake order was in 2017, on the day the U.S Supreme Court said it would hear Mr Phillips’s appeal on the same-sex wedding cake case. Ms Scardina said she was seeking to “challenge the veracity” of Mr Phillips claims of not selling to LGBT+ customers.
Judge Jones acknowledged in the ruling this attempt was not a “set up” to legal proceedings.
“This is about a business that is open to the public that simply says to an entire class of people in the community that your identity, who you are, is something that objectionable,” John McHugh, Ms Scardina’s attorney.
This ruling was delivered in June, during Pride Month, which celebrates the LGBT+ community.
With additional reporting from AP