Colorado drops case against Masterpiece baker who refused trans customer
The state of Colorado has dropped its case against Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips as part of a mutual agreement that sees the baker dropping his own lawsuit.
The two parties agreed to end litigation on Tuesday (March 5), according to a statement from the Colorado Attorney General’s office quoted in local news outlet KOAA News 5.
“After careful consideration of the facts, both sides agreed it was not in anyone’s best interest to move forward with these cases. The larger constitutional issues might well be decided down the road, but these cases will not be the vehicle for resolving them.
“Equal justice for all will continue to be a core value that we will uphold as we enforce our state’s and nation’s civil rights laws,” said Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said in the statement.
“I’m very grateful and looking forward to serving my customers as I always have: with love and respect.”
— Masterpiece baker Jack Phillips
The decision to end litigation against the Masterpiece baker was approved unanimously by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, Weiser’s spokesperson Lawrence Pachecho told the Denver Post.
Phillips did not comment on the case when reached by the local news outlet, but gave a statement to Fox News.
“Today is a win for freedom. I’m very grateful and looking forward to serving my customers as I always have: with love and respect,” he said.
Colorado lost a previous case against the Masterpiece baker when it reached the Supreme Court
Phillips was first came to the attention of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission in 2012, when he refused to bake a cake for a gay couple after learning it was meant to celebrate their wedding.
An administrative judge ruled that Phillips discriminated against the couple on the basis of sexual orientation, but the baker appealed the decision and his case eventually appeared in front of the US Supreme Court in June.
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The court ruled 7-2 in favour of the Masterpiece baker, judging that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission exhibited elements of “hostility” against Phillips’ “sincere religious beliefs.”
A new case against the Masterpiece baker was opened in August, after transgender lawyer Autumn Scardina reported calling the shop to order a cake blue on the outside and pink on the inside and being denied service upon explaining the cake was meant to celebrate the anniversary of her transition.
In December, Phillips filed a lawsuit against the Colorado Civil Rights Commission after it ruled that he had discriminated against the transgender customer.
In both cases, Phillips was represented by the non-profit law firm Alliance Defending Freedom, which in 2017 was designated as a anti-LGBT hate group by civil rights and extremism watchdog the Southern Poverty Law Center.