Bakery Opposed to Gay Marriage Loses Appeal

     (CN) – A Colorado baker who shut down the gay couple looking for a wedding cake because of his religious beliefs discriminated, a state appeals court ruled Thursday.
     Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colo., refused in 2012 to make a wedding cake for Charlie Craig and David Mullins because he said it would violate his Christian beliefs.
     Phillips believes that decorating cakes is an art through which he honors God, and thus it would upset God to create cakes in celebration of marriages between same-sex couples.
     Craig and Mullins filed a complaint with the Office of Administrative Courts, which found in favor of the couple. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission also found that Phillips violated state anti-discrimination laws and ordered him to change his policy against making wedding cakes for same-sex couples or be subject to fines.
     Hoping to overturn the commission’s findings, Masterpiece Cakeshop tried to distinguish the opposition of same-sex marriage from discriminating against sexual orientation.
     The court shut down this argument 3-0 on Thursday.
     “But for their sexual orientation, Craig and Mullins would not have sought to enter into a same-sex marriage, and but for their intent to do so, Masterpiece would not have denied them its services,” Judge Daniel Taubman wrote for the court.
     Ria Mar, a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBT Project, emphasized in a statement that no U.S. citizen “should be turned away from a shop or restaurant because of who they are or who they love.”
     “When every lesbian or gay person, every woman, every person of color, every person of every faith can walk into a store, a bank, a hospital, and know that they will get the same service as everyone else, we will have won. Until then, we continue to fight for the equal treatment we all deserve,” Mar added.
     The appeals court refused to place much stock in the fact that Phillips’ religious opposition to same-sex marriage has not stopped him from making other baked goods for gay or lesbian customers, .
     “We reject Masterpiece’s related argument that its willingness to sell birthday cakes, cookies, and other non-wedding cake products to gay and lesbian customers establishes that it did not violate CADA,” Taubman found, abbreviating the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act. “Masterpiece’s potential compliance with CADA in this respect does not permit it to refuse services to Craig and Mullins that it otherwise offers to the general public.”
     Jeremy Tedesco, senior legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, said he is discussing further legal options with Phillips and the bakery.
     “Government has a duty to protect people’s freedom to follow their beliefs personally and professionally rather than force them to adopt the government’s views,” Tedesco said in a statement. “Jack simply exercised the long-cherished American freedom to decline to use his artistic talents to promote a message with which he disagrees. The court is wrong to deny Jack his fundamental freedoms.”

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