Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission on Friday upheld a judge’s ruling that baker Jack Phillips cannot refuse to make wedding cakes for same-sex couples. The panel says doing so violates state laws prohibiting businesses from discriminating against gay people.
Phillips is a devout Christian who says he will make other cakes for gay couples but not ones for weddings. He was sued by a gay couple after refusing to make a cake for their reception.
The commission also ordered Phillips’ business to make quarterly reports for two years on any anti-discrimination training for staff and on any other gay couples turned away. Phillips can appeal the ruling to the state court of appeals.
Religious Liberty- Bake Shop Owner Forced to Compromise His Beliefs.
DENVER (AP) — 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.
Phillips’ attorney said she was considering appealing the ruling to the Colorado Court of Appeals.