From Courthouse News Service
Three years after the U.S. Supreme Court sided with Masterpiece Cakeshop — albeit narrowly — in a case over a same-sex wedding cake, a transgender woman took the Christian bakery back to a Denver court Monday after the bakery refused to make a birthday cake commemorating her gender transition.
“They say she asked for a sex-change cake. She says she asked for a birthday cake. That doesn’t matter. What matters is they refused to make her a cake based on her identity,” attorney John McHugh, who represents plaintiff Autumn Scardina, told Denver County Judge Alan Jones in the first day of trial Monday. McHugh practices with the Denver-based firm Reilly Pozner.
Although Scardina did not personally know Charlie Craig and David Mullins, the same-sex couple who sued Masterpiece in 2012 for refusing to make their wedding cake, she felt like their cause was her cause.
“It was painful to watch as a member of the community,” Scardina recalled on the virtual witness stand. “I came out as transgender in 2010 and started the transgender process in 2012, and anyone who’s been there knows it’s not for the faint of heart. I had lost my marriage and lost my family. I felt particularly vulnerable and angry.”
Scardina vented by writing emails to Phillips in August 2012 in which she called him a bigot and a hypocrite. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission picked up Craig and Mullins’ complaint in 2014. Then, as now, Phillips said his religious beliefs prevent him from creating cakes to celebrate occasions he doesn’t believe in.
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