A demonstrator dressed as the Holy Bible holds up a sign that states "use me not for your bigotry" during protests outside the Supreme Court over the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case in Washington, D.C., on December 5, 2017. File Photo by Erin Schaff/UPI | License Photo
Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Colorado cake shop owner Jack Phillips is likely to move ahead with a second federal lawsuit against state officials after winning his first this year at the U.S. Supreme Court, saying he continues to face harassment.
U.S. District Judge Wiley Daniel did not make an official ruling Tuesday, but said during a hearing in Denver that he is likely to allow Phillips' current lawsuit to move forward, the Denver Post reported. Phillips, who Colorado Public Radio reported was not at the hearing Tuesday, charges that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission is targeting himbecause he refusing to make LGBT-theme cakes on religious grounds.
In a narrowly-worded decision in June, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in Phillips' favor after he refused to bake a cake for a same-sex couple six years earlier, saying that the commission was "neither tolerant nor respectful of his [Phillips'] religious beliefs."
The civil rights commission and an appeals court sided with the same-sex couple before Phillips pursued the matter to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In August, Phillips sued again, adding Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and other state officials, charging that the state has renewed its "crusade" against him and his Lakewood-based Masterpiece Cakeshop for refusing to create a cake Autumn Scardina, a transgender woman celebrating her gender transition, the Denver Post reported.
The state's civil rights commission in June once again ruled against Phillips after Scardina complained just weeks after the Supreme Court ruling in his favor.
"For exercising his faith this way, Colorado has doggedly pursued Phillips, turning his life upside down," the lawsuit said.
Phillips' attorney Jim Campbell argued at the hearing Tuesday that the state civil rights commission is inherently biased because it is required to have four of its seven members come from diverse backgrounds, possibly excluding others who are not part of a protected class.
Hickenlooper was added to the lawsuit because the commission members are gubernatorial appointees.