Colorado Cake Company Appeals Decision Forcing Them to Make Cakes for Same-Sex Weddings

Colorado baker Jack Phillips.
Colorado baker Jack Phillips. | (Photo: Screen Grab via CBS 4)

A Colorado baker who was found guilty of discrimination for not baking a wedding cake for a same-sex couple is appealing the decision.

Jake Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop hopes to win at the appellate level after being told that he must serve gay couples wedding cakes and take a diversity course.

Phillips is being represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, who filed the appeal in the Colorado Court of Appeals last Wednesday.

ADF lead counsel Nicolle Martin, who is involved in the appeal, said in a statement that Phillips did not unlawfully discriminate against anyone, but rather refused to endorse something he morally disagreed with.

"This is not about the people who asked for a cake; it's about the message the cake communicates," said Martin.

"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 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins wanted Phillips to make a cake for their wedding reception.

Phillips explained to the couple that he could make them other baked items but, because of his Christian beliefs, he will not make them a cake for their reception.

With the aid of the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, Craig and Mullins filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division.

The division determined that Masterpiece Cakeshop had discriminated against them. According to the ACLU, the division's findings led the state attorney general's office to file a formal complaint against the company via the state courts.

"The undisputed facts show that (Phillips) discriminated against complainants because of their sexual orientation by refusing to sell them a wedding cake for their same-sex marriage," wrote Administrative Law Judge Robert N. Spencer in his decision in December 2013.

As a result of the ruling, Phillips has stopped taking orders for wedding cakes for both straight and gay couples. He has also been compelled to produce a log of past gay couples he may have refused to make a cake for.

Amanda Goad, staff attorney with the ACLU LGBT Project who is working on the case, told CP that she was confident the appeals court will rule against Phillips.

"The Colorado Civil Rights Division and the Colorado Civil Rights Commission have already determined that Masterpiece Cakeshop's refusal to sell wedding cakes to same-sex couples violates this law, and that the baker's religious beliefs do not give him license to discriminate," said Goad.

"We are confident that the Court of Appeals will reach the same conclusion. Religious liberty does not mean that if people of faith object to a law, their personal beliefs trump other societal values like equal opportunity for all."

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