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Masterpiece Cakeshop. Photo: Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post via Getty Images

A Colorado baker violated the state's discrimination laws by refusing to bake a birthday cake for a trans woman because of religious beliefs, a Denver district court has found.

The intrigue: The Christian baker was the plaintiff in the 2018 Supreme Court case that held the Colorado Civil Rights Commission showed hostility toward the baker because he refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple.

Details: Denver attorney Autumn Scardina sued Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, in 2017 after he refused to bake her a custom cake with a pink and blue design celebrating her transition.

  • Phillips argued that making the cake would've sent the message that he celebrates a gender transition, even "if the message only goes to one person," per the ruling. He claimed religious freedom in denying the request.
  • Phillips' wife later admitted they would have made the cake if Scardina had not disclosed its sentiment, according to the court.

What they're saying: Judge A. Bruce Jones ordered Phillips to pay a $500 fine, the maximum amount for this kind of violation.

  • "[A]s multiple courts have confirmed, providing a product for an event does not 'inherently express a message about that' event," he wrote in his opinion.
  • "The anti-discrimination laws are intended to ensure that members of our society who have historically been treated unfairly, who have been deprived of even the every-day right to access businesses to buy products, are no longer treated as 'others,'" he noted. "This case is about one such product—a pink and blue birthday cake—and not compelled speech."

What's next: Alliance Defending Freedom General Counsel Kristen Waggoner, who represents Phillips, said they will appeal the decision.

Go deeper

Supreme Court rules foster agencies can reject same-sex couples

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Foster-care agencies have a First Amendment right to turn away same-sex couples, and local governments cannot refuse to work with those agencies, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled Thursday.

Why it matters: The court is carving out legal protections for people with a religious objection to same-sex marriage.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
1 hour ago - Energy & Environment

Key clean power provision likely won't survive in Dems' spending bill

A construction worker walks along a dirt road at the Avangrid Renewables La Joya wind farm in Encino, New Mexico, on Aug. 5, 2020. Photo: Cate Dingley/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A pillar of Democrats' plans to speed deployment of zero-carbon electricity is likely to be cut from major spending and tax legislation they are struggling to move on a party-line vote, per multiple reports and a Capitol Hill aide.

Driving the news: The New York Times, citing anonymous congressional aides and lobbyists, reports that West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) has told the White House he "strongly opposes" the Clean Electricity Performance Program.

Updated 4 hours ago - World

Fatal stabbing of British MP David Amess declared a terrorist incident

Police outside Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, England, on Oct. 15. Photo: John Keeble/Getty Images

Authorities have declared the death of David Amess a terrorist incident, hours after the Conservative Party lawmaker in the U.K. was fatally stabbed while meeting with local constituents in a church in eastern England on Friday.

The big picture: The Metropolitan Police has found "a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism."