A Colorado baker who refused to bake a woman a birthday cake over her status as transgender lost his appeal in court. In 2017, the same baker was involved in a high-profile case before the Supreme Court (pictured) in which he had denied service to a gay couple who wanted to buy a cake from his business. File Photo by Erin Schaff/UPI | License Photo
Jan. 26 (UPI) -- A Colorado baker who refused to bake a woman a birthday cake over her status as transgender lost his appeal in court.
The Colorado appeals court shared its decision Thursday, ruling that a 2018 court decision against the cake shop owner stands.
The case stems from an incident in 2017, when the plaintiff, Autumn Scardina, contacted Masterpiece Cakeshop to order a custom pink cake with blue frosting. She was told the shop would make the cake, but when she shared that it was to celebrate her birthday and her transition from a man to a woman, the owner, Jack Phillips, objected.
Phillips said he would not make the cake because of his religious beliefs, saying he "won't design a cake that promotes something that conflicts with [his] Bible's teachings," the court ruling reads.
When Phillips was taken to court for violating the state's Anti-Discrimination Act, he argued that his decision to deny service is protected free speech.
"Turning to the constitutional issues presented, the division concludes that the act of baking a pink cake with blue frosting does not constitute protected speech under the First Amendment," the trial court ruled, and the court of appeals affirmed.
The trial court ruled that Phillips must pay a fine of $500, which he appealed. He argued that the ruling infringed upon his right to free speech and punished him for expressing his religious beliefs. He also asserted that the court "demonstrated hostility" toward his religious beliefs.
The appeals court rejected Phillips' arguments.
The legal battle was not the first in which Phillips denied a customer service by citing his religious beliefs. In 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins, a same-sex couple, attempted to order a wedding cake from Phillips' business. Phillips denied the couple service, citing his belief that marriage must only be between a man and a woman.
Craig and Mullins filed a discrimination charge with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The Supreme Court ultimately ruled that Phillips was not given a fair hearing. Phillips filed a lawsuit against the state, claiming harassment, before later dropping the suit.