Lawyers for Colorado’s anti-LGBTI baker Jack Philips said ‘he is just trying to get his life back’ as he appeared in court again this week.
But now, Phillips, owner of the Colorado bakery Masterpiece Cakeshop, is suing the Colorado Civil Rights Commission (CCRC).
Phillips wants to stop the commission taking action against him after he refused to bake a cake for a transgender woman.
On Tuesday (18 December) a federal court agreed to hear the case, according to the Associated Press.
Earlier this year Phillips won a six-year legal battle over his refusal to create a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.
But, in 2017, he refused to make a cake for a transgender woman celebrating both her transition and her birthday. She later filed a complaint with the commission.
Philips argued in federal court the state is punishing him for refusing to bake the cake. He is now seeking US$100,000 in damages from Aubrey Elenis, director of the CCRC.
His lawyers said the state is treating Phillips with hostility because of his Christian faith.
The judge said he would allow the case to move forward despite pleas from state officials.
‘I’m inclined to deny the motion to dismiss,’ said senior US District Court Judge Wiley Y. Daniel according to Washington Post.
Attorney for American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Joshua Block said Phillips’ case should have been dismissed. He said the federal court should not interfere with the CCRC.
This should have been an easy and uncontroversial motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court has squarely held that Younger abstention applies to the state civil rights commission proceedings. https://t.co/09a4QpG4kP
— Joshua Block (@JoshABlock) December 18, 2018
In June, the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of Philips for refusing make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple in a case that began back in 2012.
The court voted 7-2 against the same-sex couple. Phillips cited his religious objections to marriage equality and claimed he was fighting for the rights of ‘creative artists’ to choose what they sell.
White, blue and pink
Last year, Autumn Scardina, called Masterpiece about a birthday cake. She mentioned the cake was to be decorated with white, blue, and pink—the colors of the transgender flag.
She also said the cake would celebrate her transition which coincides with her birthday.
After Phillips’ refusal to bake the cake, she subsequently filed a complaint with the CCRC.
The CCRC determined, with probable cause, that Phillips discriminated against Scardina due to her gender identity. This is in violation of the state’s public accommodation laws.
Phillips lawyers on Tuesday said he ‘believes as a matter of religious conviction that sex — the status of being male or female — is given by God, is biologically determined, is not determined by perceptions or feelings, and cannot be chosen or changed’.
the Supreme Court ruled in June, however, that the CCRC had showed anti-religious bias when it sanctioned Phillips for refusing to make a same-sex wedding cake in 2012.
The court did not rule on whether businesses can refuse service to LGBTI people based on religious objections, however.