That Bigoted Cake Bakery Is Now Discriminating Against a Trans Woman

After the Supreme Court finally weighed in on the Colorado bakery that refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, it seemed like, mercifully, that would be the last we’d have to hear about Masterpiece Cakeshop. Alas, it seems that Masterpiece has yet to learn its lesson that discrimination has consequences, because now the bakery is waging a new lawsuit after declining to make a cake for a transgender customer.

Autumn Scardina, an attorney in Colorado, called the shop last year to order a birthday cake. She requested a cake that was pink on the inside with blue icing on the outside in a nod to her previous gender transition. It was at that point that the bakery declined to make the cake.

“The woman on the phone did not object to my request for a birthday cake until I told her I was [also] celebrating my transition from male to female,” said Scardina. “I believe other people who request birthday cakes get to select the color and theme of the cake.”

For good reason, Scardina filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission (CCRC,) but she’s not the litigious one in this instance. It’s Masterpiece owner, Jack Phillips, that filed a suit that against CCRC for harassing him over his religious beliefs.

It appears that Phillips and his lawyers are willfully misinterpreting their recent Supreme Court “victory” (that effectively established no precedent.) In that decision, the justices upheld that stores could not discriminate against people based on their gender identity and sexual orientation. At the same time, they thought Colorado’s civil rights commissioners demonstrated too much “hostility” toward Phillips’s religious beliefs, leading to an extra layer of discrimination.

The takeaway was not that the CCRC was wrong to uphold the law that would require Masterpiece to make the cake, but that commissioners should have made the request in kinder language that wouldn’t “disparage” Phillips’s religion or make it seem like his belief was insincere.

What Phillips seems to miss, however, is that the Supreme Court ruling does not shield him from any further claims of discrimination. So long as the CCRC handles the claims without the supposed sass that bothered the judges, they have every right to enforce non-discrimination rules. It is not harassment to plainly inform Phillips that he cannot refuse to make a birthday cake for a person because she is transgender.

Let’s not forget that Phillips previously asserted that he would be fine making pastries for all types of people in all sorts of circumstances aside from celebrations that directly contradict his religious beliefs. This more recent example of discrimination suggests that’s not Phillips’s actual problem.

Masterpiece Cakeshop was not asked to make refreshments for a gender changing ceremony (whatever that would be) – it’s for a birthday, a service the bakery provides frequently. If Scardina had merely asked for a pink and blue cake without explaining the deeper significance, it surely would have been no problem for the bakery to accommodate.

It’s premature to say where this lawsuit will ultimately lead, but don’t be surprised if the Supreme Court, which clearly punted rather than taking an actual stance with its previous decision, finds this baker back in their presence. If so, the judges will have to make it more clear that LGBTQ discrimination is wrong rather than leaving some ambiguous wiggle room for “religious freedom.”

Photo credit: Thinkstock

83 comments

Belinda Lang
Belinda Lang18 days ago

A cake is a cake. Baking a cake for someone does not mean you approve of what they are using it to celebrate.

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Amanda M
Amanda M21 days ago

Craig Zimmerman, trans people DO exist, and they are REAL. Science has proven that they are quite literally born with the gender identity of one and the body of the other due to the switch that matches the two not being thrown during embryonic/fetal development. Therefore, there are in fact trans men and trans women who are working to get their outside to match who they really are on the inside because they were in fact born in the wrong body. Transition is a long and sometimes challenging road, and willfully ignorant bigots like you aren't helping. This baker needs to either post a sign stating his "right" to discriminate against anybody who doesn't match his version of Christianity, or he needs to recognize the fact that when you serve the public, you are legally obligated to serve ALL the public, even the ones they don't like for whatever reason. He of all people needs to remember "Judge not, lest ye be judged!"

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Tania N
Tania N25 days ago

Thank you

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Tania N
Tania N25 days ago

Thank you

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Tania N
Tania N25 days ago

Thank you

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Winn A
Winn A28 days ago

Agree with Pam. Put a sign in the window. He's wrong but at least people will know to spend their hard earned dollars somewhere else.

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pam w
pam w29 days ago

I've been suggesting this for months....the baker puts up a LARGE PRINT sign in the window. "Note: We reserve the right to refuse service to those whose sexual lives don't agree with our standards. Be aware that we will turn you away in these circumstances. Onward, Christian soldiers!"

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Paulo R
Paulo Reeson29 days ago

there must be other bakeries near by. Why not to to 1 of them.

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Danuta W
Danuta W29 days ago

Thanks for sharing

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Tony B
Anthony Bradshawabout a month ago

Craig Zimmerman writes... "There is no such thing as "Trans-Women" It is a delusion and no should have to go along with this fantasy."
So going by this deluded view, the baker has no reason to refuse baking cakes for this person.

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