Masterpiece Cakeshop loses transgender birthday case

Owner says he will appeal judge’s ruling

Bob Wooley
bwooley@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 6/23/21

Lakewood’s Masterpiece Cakeshop is back in the news — this time, for refusing to make a cake for transgender attorney Autumn Scardina. In the case, Denver District Court Judge A. Bruce …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Username
Password
Log in

Don't have an ID?


Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.

Non-subscribers

Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.

If you made a voluntary contribution in 2020-2021, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access includes access to all websites and online content.


Our print publications are advertiser supported. For those wishing to access our content online, we have implemented a small charge so we may continue to provide our valued readers and community with unique, high quality local content. Thank you for supporting your local newspaper.

Masterpiece Cakeshop loses transgender birthday case

Owner says he will appeal judge’s ruling

Posted

Lakewood’s Masterpiece Cakeshop is back in the news — this time, for refusing to make a cake for transgender attorney Autumn Scardina.

In the case, Denver District Court Judge A. Bruce Jones ruled last week that the cake shop violated Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act (CADA) by refusing to bake a blue and pink birthday cake Scardina ordered to celebrate her transition from male to female.

Scardina attempted to order the birthday cake the same day in 2017 that the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would hear Masterpiece Cakeshop’s owner Jack Phillips’ appeal in a different case in which he was sanctioned by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission for refusing to make a wedding cake for same-sex couple Charlie Craig and Dave Mullins in 2012.  

In 2018, Phillips partially prevailed in that case when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Colorado Civil Rights Commission showed anti-religious bias when it sanctioned him for refusing to make the same-sex wedding cake.

The Scardina case was conducted virtually in March 2021. During the hearing, Scardina said Phillips had maintained that, as a Christian, he opposed making the same-sex wedding cake in 2012 because it involved a religious ceremony but would sell any other type of product.

Scardina said she called Masterpiece Cakeshop to place her order for the transgender birthday cake as a way to call Phillips’ bluff.

In his decision, Jones reasoned that baking and decorating the requested style of cake was not a form of compelled speech.  Therefore, the cake shop, and the cake decorator do not have a valid First Amendment claim that outweighs CADA’s anti-discrimination provisions. He also stated the average person would perceive the message presented by the cake to be Scardina’s, not that of the cake decorator. 

“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 no longer treated as ‘others,’” the judge wrote. “This case is about one such product — a pink and blue birthday cake — and not compelled speech.”

Jones ordered Masterpiece Cakeshop to pay Scardina $500 — the largest fine the statute allows, for refusing to make her cake as requested. 

The newspaper contacted Phillips for comment. He declined but provided contact information for his attorney to make arrangements for an interview. At press time, an interview has not been scheduled.

Comments

Our Papers

Ad blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.