Jack Phillips is a baker who declined to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple because his Christian belief is that marriage exists only between a man and woman. Now a Colorado judge has ordered him to bake cakes for same-sex marriages, and if Phillips refuses, he could go to jail.
Phillips owns a small business, Masterpiece Cakeshop, in Lakewood, Colorado. A homosexual couple—Charlie Craig and David Mullins—visited Phillips’s store on July 19, 2012, asking him to bake them a cake to celebrate their wedding. Although the Colorado Constitution defines marriage as between only one man and one woman, these men claimed to have been already married in Massachusetts and wanted to celebrate the wedding in Colorado.
Phillips is an Evangelical Christian who holds to the belief that marriage is between a man and woman. When Phillips bakes a wedding cake, he interprets it as participating in the wedding celebration, and he explained that, therefore, he does not make cakes for gay marriages.
The Colorado Civil Rights Commission ruled that Jack Phillips, owner of a cake shop in a suburb of Denver, must bake cakes for gay couples — even though gay marriage is illegal in the state.
Associated Press:Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission on Friday ordered a baker to make wedding cakes for same-sex couples, finding his religious objections to the practice did not trump the state’s anti-discrimination statutes.
The unanimous ruling from the seven-member commission upheld an administrative law judge’s finding in December that Jack Phillips violated civil rights law when he refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple in 2012. The couple sued.
“I can believe anything I want, but if I’m going to do business here, I’d ought to not discriminate against people,” Commissioner Raju Jaram said.
Phillips, a devout Christian who owns the Masterpiece Cakeshop in the Denver suburb of Lakewood, said the decision violates his First Amendment rights to free speech and free exercise of his religion. “I will stand by my convictions until somebody shuts me down,” he told reporters after the ruling.
He added his bakery has been so overwhelmed by supporters eager to buy cookies and brownies that he does not currently make wedding cakes.
The couple who sued Phillips, Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig, were pleased that the commission roundly rejected Phillips’ arguments. “We’re just thrilled by that,” Mullins said.
Gay marriage remains illegal in Colorado. Mullins and Craig were married in Massachusetts and wanted a wedding cake for a reception to celebrate their union back home in Colorado.
State law prohibits businesses from refusing to serve customers based on their sexual orientation.
The panel issued its ruling verbally. It ordered Phillips to stop discriminating against gay people and to report quarterly for two years on staff anti-discrimination training and any customers he refuses to serve.
The “Civil Rights Commission” is a kangaroo court. Their mandate is to find people brought before it guilty of discrimination.