DENVER — The Colorado Civil Rights Commission has upheld an administrative judge’s ruling that a Christian baker in the state must service same-sex ‘weddings’ despite his biblical beliefs not to be a partaker in other men’s sins.
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). In December, 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. “The act of preparing a cake is simply not ‘speech’ warranting First Amendment protection.”
On Friday, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission upheld Spencer’s ruling, stating that Phillips violated the state’s civil rights law.
“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.
According to the Christian legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which has been representing Phillips in court, the baker was ordered to prove that he has complied with the order to make cakes for same-sex ceremonies. But Phillips said that he will not comply.
“I will stand by my convictions until somebody shuts me down,” he told the Associated Press.
“In America, we don’t separate a person’s creative expression from what he believes,” attorney Nicolle Martin also remarked in a statement following the ruling. “Jack simply exercised the long-cherished American freedom to decline to use his artistic and creative talents to promote a message with which he disagrees. Because the government should not force him to choose between his faith and his livelihood, we are considering an appeal to the Colorado Court of Appeals.”