DENVER — Attorneys for a Christian baker who was ordered to make cakes for same-sex ceremonies or face fines has filed an appeal in hopes of regaining his right to practice his religion at his business without fear of punishment.
As previously reported, Dave Mullin and Charlie Craig visited Masterpiece Cake Shop in Lakewood, Colorado 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.”
Phillips, who also declines to make Halloween cookies at his bakery, had told the men that he would be happy to make them any other type of baked goods outside of having to facilitate the ceremony, which he believed was a form of personal participation.
However, Mullin and Craig then filed charges with the Colorado Human Rights Commission with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Last month, Judge Robert Spencer sided with the ACLU, contending that Phillips should have made the cake because he was not told that there would be any words or symbols written on it.
“Phillips was not asked to apply any message or symbol to the cake, or to construct the cake in any fashion that could be reasonably understood as advocating same-sex marriage,” he wrote. “For all Phillips knew at the time, Complainants might have wanted a nondescript cake that would have been suitable for consumption at any wedding. Therefore, Respondents’ claim that they refused to provide a cake because it would convey a message supporting same-sex marriage is specious.”
“The act of preparing a cake is simply not ‘speech’ warranting First Amendment protection,” Spencer asserted.
In turn, ADF filed an appeal this week, asking that Phillips’ freedom of conscience be upheld.
“America was founded on the fundamental freedom of all citizens to live and work without fear of government punishment,” said ADF-affiliated attorney Nicolle Martin in a news release announcing the appeal. “Jack simply exercised the long-cherished freedom to not speak by declining to promote a false view of marriage through his creative work. It’s outrageous that the government would turn its guns on Jack and threaten him with a potential jail sentence unless he says and does what the government demands.”
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