Attorneys for a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple on religious grounds—a stand partially upheld by the US Supreme Court—argued in federal court Tuesday that the state is punishing him again over his refusal to bake a cake celebrating a gender transition, the AP reports. Lawyers for Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in suburban Denver, are suing to try to stop the state from taking action against him over the new discrimination allegation. They say the state is treating Phillips with hostility because of his Christian faith and pressing a complaint that they call an "obvious setup." "At this point, he's just a guy who is trying to get back to life. The problem is the state of Colorado won't let him," Jim Campbell, an attorney for the Alliance Defending Freedom, said after the hearing. The conservative Christian nonprofit law firm is representing Phillips.
The Colorado Civil Rights Commission says Phillips discriminated against Denver attorney Autumn Scardina because she's transgender. Phillips' shop refused to make a cake last year that was blue on the outside and pink on the inside after Scardina revealed she wanted it to celebrate her transition from male to female. She asked for the cake on the same day the US Supreme Court announced it would consider Phillips' appeal of the previous commission ruling against him. In that 2012 case, he refused to make a wedding cake for same-sex couple Charlie Craig and Dave Mullins. The Supreme Court ruled in June that the Colorado commission showed anti-religious bias when it sanctioned Phillips for refusing to make the cake, voting 7-2 that it violated Phillips' First Amendment rights. But the court did not rule on the larger issue of whether businesses can invoke religious objections to refuse service to gays and lesbians. (Much more on both cases here.)