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Thomas Gallatin / August 16, 2018

Colorado Goes After Cake Baker … Again

The Christian baker was cited for refusing to bake a cake celebrating “gender transition.”

Less than a month after the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that the state of Colorado violated Jack Phillips’s right to free expression by demonstrating an overt animus against his religious convictions, the Masterpiece Cakeshop owner and custom baker finds himself targeted by the state yet again. First it was over a custom cake for a same-sex wedding. Now the Colorado Civil Rights Commission cited Phillips for his refusal to bake a custom cake celebrating a “gender transition.”

According to Alliance Defending Freedom, on June 26, 2017, the same day the Supreme Court agreed to review Phillips’s case, a lawyer named Autumn Scardina contacted Masterpiece Cakeshop asking the store “to create a custom cake with ‘a blue exterior and a pink interior’ — a cake ‘design’ that, according to the lawyer [reflected] the fact that [the lawyer] transitioned from male-to-female and that [the lawyer] had come out as transgender.” But this was only one of several order requests Scardina made for overtly offensive cake designs, several of which included requests for explicit sexual and/or anti-Christian elements. In other words, it’s clear that Scardina’s order requests were intentionally designed to harass Phillips.

But worse than Scardina’s campaign of harassment is the malicious attitude displayed by the Colorado Civil Rights Division — specifically its director, Aubrey Elenis, who found on June 28 “probable cause” that Phillips violated Scardina’s civil rights. That’s particularly vindictive in light of the fact that SCOTUS specifically rebuked the division over its animus against Phillips’s religious convictions. This is the equivalent of Elenis and her cohorts giving SCOTUS the middle finger.

As National Review’s David French notes, “With its probable-cause finding, the Colorado Civil Rights Division demonstrates it’s as foolish as it is malicious. It has just launched yet another legal campaign against Phillips based on nothing more than a bad-faith complaint from an angry troll. It hasn’t cured its devotion to double standards. And by seeking to punish Phillips when the expressive message of the proposed cake is crystal clear, the Division has only strengthened his First Amendment claim.”

So why would the Colorado Civil Rights Division make a decision it knows it’s are almost certain to lose? Politics. As we previously noted, Democrats and their Leftmedia propaganda machine will seize upon this as a campaign issue, spinning it as evidence of continuing discrimination against the civil rights of “LGBT” individuals and arguing that Donald Trump must be stopped from appointing more judges. Secondly, it serves as an effective fundraising issue that Dems can exploit by playing to the emotions of their biggest and most loyal constituency, women voters.

This case is an egregious instance of government overreach by what is ostensibly a “civil rights division” seeking to use its power to compel individuals to conform to and espouse only speech it finds “correct.” Government should be defending the First Amendment rights of every citizen, not burning them in the oven of hateful intolerance.

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