Courts LGBTQ

Masterpiece Cakeshop Owner Faces Second Lawsuit for LGBTQ Discrimination

Autumn Scardina is the plaintiff in the second lawsuit against Masterpiece Cakeshop Owner Jack Phillips for LGBTQ discrimination. The lawsuit argues that the business unlawfully refused service to Scardina, a transgender woman, who requested a trans-themed birthday cake.

Scardina had previously filed a complaint against Phillips when the refusal happened in 2018, but Phillips sued the state claiming the state was targeting his religious beliefs. The state of Colorado settled in March of 2018 and agreed not to pursue the case. Last June, Scardina filed a separate lawsuit that cites Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act and the Colorado Consumer Protection Act. The lawsuit argues that the shop “refused to sell a birthday cake to Ms. Scardina because she is transgender despite repeatedly advertising that they would sell birthday cakes to the general public, including LGBT individuals.”

In 2018, the Supreme Court voted on Phillip’s first case in denial of a same-sex couple’s wedding cake. The court ruled 7-2 that the commission violated Phillip’s first amendment rights over his refusal to provide service. In the Supreme Court case, Masterpiece Cakeshop claimed it would serve any baked good to the LGBTQ community, but it was the religious significance of the wedding cake that prompted the refusal. Based off the owner’s own words it would seem that a birthday cake would be a normal transaction of the shop and not carry religious significance.

The 2018 Supreme Court case failed to issue a broader ruling on religious objections based on gender and sexuality. The Denver court has not yet released whether the state intends to dismiss that case, but if allowed to continue, Scardina’s lawsuit could prompt decisions that the 2018 case did not cover.

Sources: The Hill 4/15/21; NBC News 4/15/20

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