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Appeals court rules against baker for refusing to make wedding cake for gay couple

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DENVER -- The Colorado Court of Appeals unanimously ruled Thursday that a Lakewood baker discriminated against a gay couple in 2012 for refusing to make a cake for their same-sex wedding ceremony.

The Colorado Civil Rights Commission found Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, in violation of state anti-discrimination laws when he refused to make the cake for the couple, citing religious grounds.

RELATED: Colorado Court of Appeals decision

David Mullins and Charlie Craig first approached the bakery in 2012. Phillips said it was against his religious beliefs to make a cake for a same-sex ceremony and said he had turned down other couples on religious grounds.

"We reject Masterpiece’s related argument that its willingness to sell birthday cakes, cookies, and other non-wedding cake products to gay and lesbian customers establishes that it did not violate (the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act)," the court wrote in a 66-page ruling.

"Masterpiece’s potential compliance with CADA in this respect does not permit it to refuse services to Craig and Mullins that it otherwise offers to the general public."

In May 2014, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission found the bakery was in violation of the state’s Anti-Discrimination Act.

In 2013, Judge Robert N. Spencer of the Colorado Office of Administrative Courts ruled Phillips broke discrimination laws.

Phillips appealed to the Colorado Court of Appeals, which heard the case last month, shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of same-sex marriage.

“Today is a proud day for equality and for upholding the law. In America, no one should be turned away from a shop or restaurant because of who they are or who they love,” said Ria Mar, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBT Project who argued the case.

“When every lesbian or gay person, every woman, every person of color, every person of every faith can walk into a store, a bank, a hospital, and know that they will get the same service as everyone else, we will have won. Until then, we continue to fight for the equal treatment we all deserve. Today we can celebrate this big win.”

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