Judge Orders Colo. Cake-Maker to Serve Gay Couples
A baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony must serve gay couples despite his religious beliefs or face fines, a judge said Friday.
The order from administrative law judge Robert N. Spencer said Masterpiece Cakeshop in suburban Denver discriminated against a couple "because of their sexual orientation by refusing to sell them a wedding cake for their same-sex marriage."
The order says the cake-maker must "cease and desist from discriminating" against gay couples. Although the judge did not impose fines in this case, the business will face penalties if it continues to turn away gay couples who want to buy cakes.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a complaint against shop owner Jack Phillips with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission last year on behalf of Charlie Craig, 33, and David Mullins, 29. The couple was married in Massachusetts and wanted a wedding cake to celebrate in Colorado.
Mullins and Craig wanted to buy a cake in July 2012, but when Phillips found out the cake was to celebrate a gay wedding, he turned the couple of away, according to the complaint.
Nicolle Martin, an attorney for Masterpiece Cakeshop, said the judge’s order puts Phillips in an impossible position of going against his Christian faith.
"He can’t violate his conscience in order to collect a paycheck," she said. "If Jack can’t make wedding cakes, he can’t continue to support his family. And in order to make wedding cakes, Jack must violate his belief system. That is a reprehensible choice. It is antithetical to everything America stands for."
The Civil Rights Commission is expected to certify the judge’s order next week. Phillips can appeal the judge’s order, and Martin said they’re considering their next steps.