DENVER — A Christian baker in Colorado who was ordered to make cakes for same-sex ‘weddings,’ to reeducate his staff to conform with anti-discrimination laws and to submit quarterly reports proving his compliance with the order has filed an appeal with the Colorado Court of Appeals.
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.”
In May, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission upheld Spencer’s ruling, stating that Phillips violated the state’s civil rights law. The Commission then ordered that Phillips educate his staff in alignment with the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, to implement new policies in light of the ruling, and to file quarterly compliance reports for two years. The reports must note each product that was declined to be created and the reason why to prove that Phillips’ religious beliefs no longer influence his business decisions.
But on Wednesday, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed an appeal with the Colorado Court of Appeals, asking that the court reverse the decision and uphold Phillips’ freedom of religion.
“Americans should not be forced by the government—or by another citizen—to endorse or promote ideas with which they disagree,” said lead counsel Nicolle Martin. “This is not about the people who asked for a cake; it’s about the message the cake communicates. Just as Jack doesn’t create baked works of art for other events with which he disagrees, he doesn’t create cake art for same-sex ceremonies regardless of who walks in the door to place the order.”
“In America, we don’t force artists to create expression that is contrary to their convictions,” added ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “A paint artist who identifies as homosexual shouldn’t be intimidated into creating a painting that celebrates one-man, one-woman marriage. A pro-life photographer shouldn’t be forced to work a pro-abortion rally. And Christian cake artists shouldn’t be punished for declining to participate in a same-sex ceremony or promote its message.”