Colo. Bakery's Refusal to Bake Gay Wedding Cake Is Discrimination, Judge Rules
Just two days after the owner of a Lakewood, Colo. bakery appeared in court to defend himself against charges that he that he discriminated against a gay couple last July when he refused to bake a cake for their wedding, a civil judge found the owner guilty of unlawful discrimination.
Judge Robert Spencer of the Colorado Office of Administrative Courts announced the decision Friday, reports KDVR, noting that because the Jack Phillips, who owns Masterpiece Cakeshop, previously made cakes for the wedding of two dogs, his claims that a wedding between two men contradicted his religious beliefs didn't hold up.
"Being denied service by Masterpiece Cakeshop was offensive and dehumanizing especially in the midst of arranging what should be a joyful family celebration,” Mullins told KDVR Friday. "We are grateful to have the support of our community and our state, and we hope that today’s decision will help ensure that no one else will experience this kind of discrimination again in Colorado."
On July 19, Phillips refused to bake a wedding cake for Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig, who married in Massachussetts last September.
At the time, Phillips told Denver's KDVR that his religious belief prevented him from serving the couple. He brought the same "religious liberty" argument to civil court on Wednesday, while his attorney added that refusing to bake cakes for gay couples is a form of speech, protected by the First Amendment.
"I am a follower of Jesus Christ," Phillips said in July. "So you could say it’s a religious belief. I believe the Bible teaches [same-sex marriage is] not an OK thing."
But Friday's ruling determined that wasn't a good enough reason to violate Colorado's comprehensive antidiscrimination law, which prohibits discrimination in public accommodation on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, in addition to several other traits.
Phillips's lawyer said earlier this week that she would appeal the ruling if her client lost in civil court, but she did not issue a comment to KDVR on Friday. It also remains to be seen if Phillips will keep his promise to close his shop rather than bake a cake for a same-sex wedding.