On the heels of a U.S. Supreme Court victory this summer for a graphic artist who didn't want to design wedding websites for same-sex couples, Colorado's highest court said Tuesday it will now hear the case of a Christian baker who refused to make a cake celebrating a gender transition.
The announcement by the Colorado Supreme Court is the latest development in the yearslong legal saga involving Jack Phillips and LGBTQ+ rights.
Phillips won a partial victory before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018 after refusing to make a gay couple's wedding cake but was later sued by Autumn Scardina, a transgender woman, who asked his suburban Denver bakery to make a pink cake with blue frosting for her birthday. It refused after Scardina explained it would celebrate her transition from male to female.
The justices didn't explain how or why they made the determination. It was announced in a long list of decisions about which cases they will hear and reject.
The case involves the state's anti-discrimination law that makes it illegal to refuse to provide services to people based on protected characteristics like race, religion or sexual orientation. The key issue in the case is whether the cakes Phillips creates are a form of speech and whether forcing him to make a cake with a message he does not support is a violation of his First Amendment right to free speech.
Earlier this year, the Colorado Court of Appeals sided with Scardina in the case, ruling that the cake was not a form of speech. It also found that the anti-discrimination 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.
Attorneys for Phillips and Scardina didn't immediately return requests for comment.
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