The Colorado Civil Rights Commission is targeting Christian baker Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop — again.
Phillips, along with the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), are suing the Colorado Civil Rights Commission (CCRC) for what they claim is a continued attack on his religious beliefs, even after he won the famous Masterpiece v. Colorado ruling in the U.S. Supreme Court.
On the same exact day the Supreme Court announced it would review Phillip’s case, the baker received a call from Autumn Scardina, an attorney who requested that Phillips make him a custom cake for his gender transition celebration. Similar calls followed in the weeks and months to come, with requests for cakes featuring sexually explicit messages, marijuana, Satan, sex toys, and more. Phillips denied all of these requests, which he believes came exclusively from Scardina, who filed a complaint to the CCRC for discrimination on the basis of gender identity.
The commission then issued a probable cause determination just three weeks after the Supreme Court decision they lost to Phillips, leading ADF to file a new lawsuit against the CCRC in federal court Tuesday.
“Colorado has renewed its war against [Phillips] by embarking on another attempt to prosecute him, in direct conflict with the Supreme Court’s ruling in his favor,” the lawsuit reads. “This lawsuit is necessary to stop Colorado’s continuing persecution of Phillips.”
ADF attorney Kristen Waggoner, who represents Phillips, echoed these sentiments Tuesday.
“The state of Colorado is ignoring the message of the U.S. Supreme Court by continuing to single out Jack for punishment and to exhibit hostility toward his religious beliefs,” Waggoner said. “Even though Jack serves all customers and simply declines to create custom cakes that express messages or celebrate events in violation of his deeply held beliefs, the government is intent on destroying him — something the Supreme Court has already told it not to do.”
The suit states that the CCRC violated Colorado’s anti-discrimination law, and names its chair, Aubrey Elenis, whom Phillips is seeking damages from for reputational harm, emotional distress, and loss of work time and profits.
The suit also challenges a Colorado law that prohibits business owners from publicly expressing their religious objections to certain customers. ADF claims the law is unconstitutional and prevents entrepreneurs such as Phillips from properly communicating their beliefs in relation to their business.