LAKEWOOD, Colo. — An administrative judge with Colorado’s Human Rights Commission heard argument this week in a case considering whether a baker must violate his Christian faith while operating his business.
As previously reported, Dave Mullin and Charlie Craig visited Masterpiece Cake Shop in Lakewood in July 2012 to look for options for their upcoming same-sex ceremony celebration. As Colorado has a constitutional amendment enshrining marriage as being between a man and a woman, the men planned to travel to Massachusetts and then return to Colorado for a separate celebration.
However, after their arrival at the cake shop, Mullin and Craig were advised by owner Jack Phillips that he does not make cakes for same-sex ceremonies.
“My first comment was, ‘We’re getting married,’ and he just shut that down immediately,” Craig, 31, stated.
Phillips told Christian News Network that he does not make cakes for such occasions because of his Christian convictions.
“I’m a follower of Jesus Christ, and I believe that the relationship is not something that He looks favorably on,” the master pastry chef stated. “If Jesus was a carpenter, He wouldn’t make a bed for this union.”
Phillips, who attends a Baptist church, explained that when he informed Mullin and Craig that his bakery does not make cakes for same-sex “weddings,” the men immediately left. He stated that one of them made a comment on his way out the door that the bakery was a “homophobic cake shop.”
Mullin, 28, indicated to Denver Westward that is indeed what took place.
“It was the most awkward, surreal, very brief encounter,” he stated. “We got up to leave, and to be totally honest, I said, ‘(expletive) and your homophobic cake shop.’ And I may or may not have flipped him off.”
Mullin and Craig then filed charges with the Colorado Human Rights Commission, which heard the case this week. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) represented the men.
“[His] faith, whatever it may have to say about marriage for same-sex couples or the expressive power of a wedding cake, does not give the respondents a license to discriminate,” attorney Amanda Goad told Judge Robert N. Spencer, according to the Associated Press.
But Nicole Martin, the attorney for Phillips, said that Phillips should not have to check his faith at the door, as obedience to God encompasses the way that Christians operate their business.
“He believes this is a vocation chosen for him by God, and as a man of God, Jack Phillips lives by certain biblical principles,” she explained.
Martin stated that the rights of homosexuals should not trump the rights of Christians.
“[Phillips] has a right not to spread a message with which he disagrees,” she asserted.
“If you back down on your faith in Christ, then you have nothing to stand for,” Phillips told Christian News Network last year after the story first broke. “[Business owners] need to put their trust in Jesus Christ. He demands everything from them: their lives, their business [and every aspect of what they do].”
Judge Spencer stated that he hoped to release a ruling by the end of the week.
Photo: Fox 29