Court finds against bakery that refused to make cake for gay couple

Masterpiece Cake Shop protest

Gay rights supporters protest at Masterpiece Cake Shop.

LAKEWOOD, Colo. — A bakery owner who refused to sell a gay couple a cake for their wedding reception broke discrimination laws, a Colorado judge determined Friday.

Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig attempted to buy the cake in July of 2012. They planned to marry in Massachusetts, then hold a reception with friends and family in Colorado.

But Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips refused to serve them, saying his religious beliefs would not permit him to support a same-sex relationship in any way.

“I am a follower of Jesus Christ. So you could say it’s a religious belief,” Phillips said at the time. “I believe the Bible teaches (gay marriage) is not an OK thing.”

Backed by the American Civil Liberties Union, Mullins and Craig continued to press the issue, filing complaints with the Colorado Civil Rights Division.

In handing down Friday’s decision, Judge Robert N. Spencer of the Colorado Office of Administrative Courts noted that Phillips had previously made cakes for the “marriage” of two dogs, but made a policy of refusing to serve same-sex couples. By definition, that policy constitutes unlawful discrimination, the judge found.

“Being denied service by Masterpiece Cakeshop was offensive and dehumanizing especially in the midst of arranging what should be a joyful family celebration,” Mullins said. “We are grateful to have the support of our community and our state, and we hope that today’s decision will help ensure that no one else will experience this kind of discrimination again in Colorado.”

While details were not yet clear, the ruling will likely require Masterpiece to change its discriminatory policies.

“While we all agree that religious freedom is important, no one’s religious beliefs make it acceptable to break the law by discriminating against prospective customers,” said Amanda C. Goad, staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project. “No one is asking Masterpiece’s owner to change his beliefs, but treating gay people differently because of who they are is discrimination plain and simple.”

Phillips’ attorney, Nicolle Martin, has previously said that they would appeal the decision if they lost.

The legal fight served as a flashpoint for the legislature’s debate of a civil unions bill that passed earlier this year without any exemptions for businesses which oppose recognizing the legal rights of gay and lesbian couples based on its religious beliefs.

65 comments

  • Keith

    Make em a special cake if you must and hope they share it with the judge. Some special ingredients to help their digestive system. Laxative cake would be appropriate!!!

  • js_biggs

    Only in a Fascist state can the government tell a company who they must cook for. This is your progressive fascist state to a tee.

  • Common Sense

    No one was hurt by this. Did the baker punch the couple? No. Did the baker threaten the couple? No. This is all based off of feelings. You’re not supposed to legislate on feelings. That’s the problem. We can’t legislate everyone to like everyone. If someone crosses the line and physically hurts or threatens someone because they don’t like them, we already have laws against that. But just because you don’t agree with someone, doesn’t give you the right to force them. Wake up, people. Everyone has the right to be who they want to be and everyone else has the right to interact with you based upon your decisions.

  • Werntis Haus

    Slurpie, where does the article say it is a “Christian Wedding Cake” business? I suspect it it actually were, the couple wouldn’t have gone there in the first place. Just as no one would go to a “Muslim” butcher and expect them to have pork products. Or a vegan restaurant and order steak. I also don’t believe the bakery would have much business if all cakes had scriptures on them. Most “Christians” like to talk the talk but not walk the walk. Can you imagine how well cakes with scriptures admonishing adultery would go over in today’s “Christian” households?

  • Doomed

    The answer is to impeach or remove this judge for violating the civil rights of a business owner. Every business owner has the right to refuse service for whatever reason, and if they go out of business it is their choice, not the choice of a court or government to force their will on individuals.

    For all the christian hating atheists and gays, the fastest way to bring about more hate towards your minority movements is to bring about the opinion hammer of the majority. Surely you must realize the only reason society exists is because of Christians? We see how well all the pagan societies have fared. You cannot leave well enough alone and the time may come when people will scorn you again.

  • Christopher F Cheney

    religion is a belief not the law. you agree to the laws when your open teh shop up. You cannot put a policy in place to deny someone services base of whom there marrying its illegal. religion is not an excuse to be a bigot. You people whom support this made should be ashamed of yourselfs. he violated the law end of story. He still has his religion beliefs.

  • Slurpie

    Werntis Haus,

    You make my point beautifully, and I thank you for your intellectual spasm. Scripture on traditional wedding cakes doesn’t have to be in color, it can be the same color as the frosting (only option), so guests might not notice, but the couple would know the scripture reference is there. A christian wedding cake company offers bible scripture on every cake, and there are No substitutes to the menu. Business would BOOM!

    What I suggested is a business model that a secular judge could not rule against, since this weird judge used the ‘dog wedding’ as his reason to rule against the business. Change the menu to include scripture on every cake.

    Taking your position to its obvious conclusion would mean that if homosexuality is a born trait (an irreversible genetic status), instead of a behavior (SIN), then you must also believe that the sexual behavior of pedophilia, necrophilia, bestiality, and incest are also born genetic traits, and to be consistent, you should then include pedophiles, necrophiliacs, marrying your dog, or sister within the same protected civil right status, or you are just a total phony with a mouth full of boloney.

  • Brandon Lee

    Wow….90% of you people here are awful human beings. and no I am not homosexual…but there is nothing wrong with that. All your comments are UGLY and DISGUST me. SHAME!! Most of you people here are 50+ years old….go figure. Christian hypocrites, the worst!!

  • Jeff Smith

    Remember when stores would put a little sign in their window”
    “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.”
    That’s the way it should be in a free county.

  • Torqueflite

    See the movie “Giant,” which depicts Rock Hudson fighting an anti-Latino diner owner who throws out a Mexican family from the restaurant. After beating up Hudson pretty thoroughly the owner tosses his right-to-refuse sign on the prone Hudson. In the background plays “The Yellow Rose of Texas” on the jukebox, a song about a cowboy’s love for his mixed race girlfriend. Unmistakable irony and hypocrisy. The point is that if businesses are allowed to discriminate against entire classes of people, then none of us are either equal or free. Jim Crow is dead. That’s the way it should be in a free country.

  • George White

    There was once a time when it was perfectly okay to have colored bathrooms and water fountains and ban interracial marriage and make blacks sit at the back of the bus, too. Let’s stop dragging Jesus into this bigotry. He has nothing to do with it. Why are people still so ignorant in this day and age?? Have we learned nothing from history? The Bible was written during a completely different time and culture. Shall we also allow concubines and multiple wives and stoning sinners and crucifying religious leaders? That’s all in the Bible, too. Ugh!!! One day we’ll look back and be in complete disbelief that we treated our LGBT neighbors this way. Shame!

  • S2

    Lets see, my wife a U of Metro Alum was passed by for the nursing program by students “of color” with lower grade point averages and that’s not discrimination? BS! Only discrimination if its against any other than white, used to be only males but not anymore.

  • eddie

    Marriage is a silly, outdated ritual, regardless of whether or not you are normal or a deviant, disease ridden pervert.

  • eddie

    It’s not bigotry. It’s standing up for decent, normal, worthwhile values. It’s standing against disgusting, filthy perversion. Has nothing to do with Christian B—S—.

  • Andrea B. Lucero

    Plain and Simple. Businesses, Corporations, etc ARE NOT PEOPLE!! If you want to operate a business in this Country, that was founded for religious freedom, then you are expected to offer your services to ALL law abiding citizens! You can have whatever religious beliefs you want but that does NOT apply to your business and therefore you cannot discriminate against potential customers on that basis.

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