Colorado cake artist Jack Phillips may proceed with his lawsuit against the state for its targeting of him over his Christian faith, a federal district court has ruled.
Friday's court order comes in response to Colorado's decision to come after Phillips for a second time after losing their original case against him in a June ruling by the US Supreme Court.
In this latest round, Colorado sued Phillips for refusing to bake a cake to celebrate a gender transition.
However, the district court pointed out in its ruling Friday that while the state allows "other cake artists to decline requests to create custom cakes that express messages they deem objectionable and would not express for anyone," Colorado refuses to afford Phillips the same consideration.
Such "disparate treatment reveals" Colorado officials' "hostility towards Phillips, which is sufficient to establish they are pursuing the discrimination charges against Phillips in bad faith, motivated by Phillips'…religion…." the court wrote in its decision.
Attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom, who are representing Phillips, agreed, saying this is a clear-cut case of religious discrimination on the part of The Centennial State.
"The same agency that the Supreme Court rebuked as hostile to Jack Phillips has remained committed to treating him unequally and forcing him to express messages that violate his religious beliefs. Colorado is acting in bad faith and with bias toward Jack," said ADF Senior Counsel Jim Campbell.
The ADF goes on to point out that Phillips' customer service record speaks for itself, noting that during his tenure as a cake artist, Phillips has declined to create cakes with various messages that go against his Christian faith. That includes messages that "demean LGBT people, express racism, celebrate Halloween, promote marijuana use, and celebrate or support Satan."
Campbell is now turning his attention to defending his client against any further spurious legal action by the state of Colorado.
"We look forward to moving forward with this lawsuit to ensure that Jack isn't forced to create custom cakes that express messages in conflict with his faith," he said.