Gay couple discriminated against by shop that refused to bake their wedding cake, judge rules

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Update: On Wednesday, we told you about a hearing in the case of Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig, who said the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop had refused to bake them a wedding reception cake for a ceremony to be held in Massachusetts that September. Mullins and Craig claimed discrimination, and a short time ago, a judge agreed.

Get the details below in a release from the ACLU of Colorado, which defend the couple in the case. That's followed by our previous coverage.

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ACLU of Colorado release:
Colorado Court Rules Bakery Illegally Discriminated Against Gay Couple

Masterpiece Cakeshop Refused to Serve Couple Wishing to Celebrate Their Marriage

DENVER -- A Colorado judge today determined that a Lakewood bakery unlawfully discriminated against a gay couple by refusing to sell them a wedding cake.

David Mullins and Charlie Craig visited Masterpiece Cakeshop last year, with Craig's mother, to order a cake for their upcoming wedding reception. Mullins and Craig planned to marry in Massachusetts and then celebrate with family and friends back home in Colorado. Masterpiece owner Jack Phillips informed them that because of his religious beliefs the store's policy was to deny service to customers who wished to order baked goods to celebrate a same-sex couple's wedding.

"Being denied service by Masterpiece Cakeshop was offensive and dehumanizing especially in the midst of arranging what should be a joyful family celebration," said Mullins. "No one should fear being turned away from a public business because of who they are. 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."

Longstanding Colorado state law prohibits public accommodations, including businesses such as Masterpiece Cakeshop, from refusing service based on factors such as race, sex, marital status or sexual orientation. Mullins and Craig filed complaints with the Colorado Civil Rights Division (CCRD) contending that Masterpiece had violated this law. Earlier this year, the CCRD ruled that Phillips illegally discriminated against Mullins and Craig. Today's decision from Judge Robert N. Spencer of the Colorado Office of Administrative Courts affirms that finding.

"While we all agree that religious freedom is important, no one's religious beliefs make it acceptable to break the law by discriminating against prospective customers," said Amanda C. Goad, staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project. "No one is asking Masterpiece's owner to change his beliefs, but treating gay people differently because of who they are is discrimination plain and simple."

Phillips admitted he had turned away other same-sex couples as a matter of policy. The CCRD's decision noted evidence in the record that Phillips had expressed willingness to take a cake order for the "marriage" of two dogs, but not for the commitment ceremony of two women, and that he would not make a cake for a same-sex couple's wedding celebration "just as he would not be willing to make a pedophile cake."

"Masterpiece Cakeshop has willfully and repeatedly considered itself above the law when it comes to discriminating against customers, and the state has rightly determined otherwise," said Sara R. Neel, staff attorney with the ACLU of Colorado. "It's important for all Coloradans to be treated fairly by every business that is open to the public -- that's good for business and good for the community."

To read the decision, click here.

Continue for our previous coverage of the discrimination claim against Masterpiece Cakeshop, including several original documents.


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284 comments
claudiadenholm
claudiadenholm

Cake bakeries are in the business of making and selling cakes. Why would they have any interest at all in what the cake is being used for? Do they also refuse to make cakes for divorced people? Or atheists? Or poor people? If someone orders a cake and has the money to pay for it, make the damn cake! 

Heather Lee
Heather Lee

Arlie Kendall you've been correcting everyone on here, me included, with your interpretation on things. The sad thing is, argument on technicalities aside, we agree on the idea that this baker was, indeed, a giant dickhead for doing what he did. We can debate how constitutional it is or laws and that guy is still gonna be an ass. In the spirit of the season, whatever holiday celebration you choose, let's agree to disagree on that side of it and just wish this couple a long healthy marriage which is ultimately the important part in ALL of this.

Arlie Kendall
Arlie Kendall

Yes, Heather, you're right. State law. And it's all about being right, right?

Paul Espinoza
Paul Espinoza

Our government is not a theocracy. Whatever religious beliefs you have are your right but it's not legal to enforce them by infringing upon another's civil rights, especially if you're a public establishment.

Jeff Williams
Jeff Williams

i guess the law we have the right to refuse service means nothing

Matthew Lowell Smith
Matthew Lowell Smith

People love is so limited these days, who cares how we find it, just find it, embrace it, spread it and all will be well! God is the ultimate judge, does anyone truly know how he feels? Judge not less thee be judged!

Joe Hothersall
Joe Hothersall

The owner of the business can do what he wants. Don't like it, go elsewhere.

Josh Moore
Josh Moore

So if I went to a bakery I knew was run by gay people and asked them to bake me a cake with Jesus punishing a gay person on it..... Would I be refused service? If so why? Would they maybe piss in the mix instead? Would they just lie and say they are over booked? I ask this because ANY way you look at this it's wrong. If the other company had done any of these things they still would have cried discrimination.... Am I wrong? I doubt it. So the moral of this story is..... Get the hell over it. There are always going to be people that hate. Period. Color, race, religion, sexual orientation. That's LIFE people. I'm not saying it's right or wrong I'm saying this is how it is and it will never change. So instead of lashing back at this business, they could have just said, wow this place is full of douchebags and gone somewhere else. Instead they chose to take the poor me route. Say they win and this place goes out of business..... Yay? There are thousands more businesses that are the same way and this company will close, regroup and come back with a different location under a different name. Such is life.

Dave Lenio
Dave Lenio

so will religious people have to make cakes for satanists that say "hail satan" and will gays have to bake for those "god hates gays" morons? how about a law making it mandatory to go home and whine to your mommy too because forget about freedom...

William Michael
William Michael

As a proud gay man I ask this - why do business with him ? The only business we should do with him is protest and put him out of business !!! As far as his faith goes - you can't always reach these kind of people and their disgusting lifestyles, he's probably even recruited his family and friends into his hogwash lifestyle too, so just take care of business and put him out of business !!!

Sar Rahwrr
Sar Rahwrr

If it wouldn't end up making this guy heaps of money I would say all of us "gays" (as people like to call us) should go there for our wedding/civil union cakes so this guy is forced to make them for us time after time hahaha!

Jim Hayes
Jim Hayes

This business owner has the right to refuse service to anyone! The judge stomped and spit on this man's and his family's religious beliefs and practices. I am not a hater of gays or lesbians. I happen to know quite a few and they are terrific people! If this couple did not like this man and his belief system, they have every right to take their business some place else!

Justin Vonesh
Justin Vonesh

well, this is tough because one, discrimination is shitty. but on the other hand its America, and we get freedom of speech. I personally think this guy has the right to choose who he does and doesn't want to serve. again yes, discrimination is shitty, but as americans, we have the right to freedom of speech. and if this guy doesn't want to serve gays then that's his choice. makes him a bigot but he also has that right. its just a simple understanding to just go spend your money elsewhere and let this guy be a bigot.

Tommy Maras
Tommy Maras

On the flip side, would you want to serve a cake at your event that the person baking it didn't want to provide? Seems like they could have found a more willing baker.

Heather Cousins
Heather Cousins

I am Proud to Live in a State that Defends this! Screw that Shop, Great for the judge!

Scott Spain
Scott Spain

I have a serious question for those that side with the bakery in this. Just because I'm curious about people's opinions: Race, sex, marital status and sexual orientation are the things the anti-discrimination laws protect... Are you saying that sexual orientation shouldn't be in that group, or that a business owner has a right to refuse service to any of those protected groups?

Heather Lee
Heather Lee

Arlie, show me where it states sexual orientation in these acts since you're so fond of google....http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/federal-antidiscrimination-laws-29451.html (yes there IS a state law in Colorado prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation but the way the country is framed says that Federal law SHOULD always trump state law. In case you're wondering, I had a family member deal with these type of issues and I got an unfortunate education in how unfair the world is and how big of dickheads people are. Like I said, I would stand hand in hand with these people to protest but Federal law doesn't technically prohibit it yet...hopefully that is a thing of the future but it doesn't YET

Becca Feiner
Becca Feiner

I think before I consider this hypothetical question I'd like to find a Muslim-run deli which actually would refuse to sell you any of their products. I'm not totally sure they wouldn't even carry pork, although they might keep it separate from other products and not consume it themselves. Let's talk about unicorns not selling you rainbows instead.

Kevin T. Ryan
Kevin T. Ryan

Private companies have the right to refuse service to people. While I don't agree with discrimination, I also don't believe in the state intervening in private companies to this degree. They should just let the free market handle it. Word will get out that they discriminate against gays and they will lose business, maybe even go out of business. Why wouldn't you just go to another bakery? This is a situation where the government should not have intervened. We don't need MORE state control of private property and transactions, we need LESS.

Anthony Balascio
Anthony Balascio

in America, you have the right to act like an idiot. Case in point right here..

Arlie Kendall
Arlie Kendall

I don't think anyone was asking (or forcing) the baker to change his beliefs. They were just asking the baker to sell them a frikkin' cake.

Heather Lee
Heather Lee

Ummm actually there is no FEDERAL law that protects discrimination against sexual orientation. That's a state law. But thanks for the "lesson"

Sherry Halverson
Sherry Halverson

That cake shop should be a shamed of themselves. How dare you pass judgment. Why not in brace the love of this unity? We have so much hate in the world. We need more love

Arlie Kendall
Arlie Kendall

Dan is correct, Matt. The baker has the constitutional right to his choice of religion and to practice it. If his religion commands that he not 'endorse' gay marriage by baking and selling a cake for a gay wedding ... then he should close his business down ... because otherwise he is breaking the law. If someone's religion includes murdering someone who believes differently, that is still illegal, isn't it? And to Heather ... his freedom of expression, his freedom of speech were not impinged upon. He could have said "I don't like gay people or gay marriage but, according to federal law, I will still bake a cake for you." Then he wouldn't have broken any laws.

Steven Feist
Steven Feist

What's next we going to make a kosher deli sell pork ribs because they are open to the public. Church's are open to the public but are not required to preform weddings for different religions and I doubt that the erotic bakery would get in trouble if they choose not to bake a Passover cake. This is just another case of those preaching tolerance being intolerant. I'm sure this isn't the only bakery in the state .

Wayne DeNucci
Wayne DeNucci

Im from Florida ! I do ALL my real estate agents though Cen 21 I ONLY buy and sell Im not a agent .. and that's your choice not to do business with me there my houses and I will sell them to the right customer and they will be happy with there choice too..

Arlie Kendall
Arlie Kendall

Gosh, Wayne. There are LOT of rules and regulations around Real Estate in Colorado ... if you don't know them (or worse, don't care about them), you might not be protecting your buyers and sellers. I sure would not like to do business with you.

Tom Spain
Tom Spain

I'm guessing that a gay bakery would be allowed to refuse service to someone who wanted an extremely religious cake that offended them and Coloradans would be fine with that. Hypocrites.

Arlie Kendall
Arlie Kendall

Not at all, Dan. I imagine it's more of an unimagined burden remaining ignorant.

Wayne DeNucci
Wayne DeNucci

Doesn't bother me one bit ! My company isn't wayne denucci do you think I will lose business over this issue ..what because I voice my thoughts ! I have cheap houses people want ...if you choice not to do business with me ..then pay top dollar...for a house ....its your choice

Robert Irons
Robert Irons

What people believe us their business, but how people act affects others. Refusing to do business for whatever reason is discrimination and it is wrong.

Heather Lee
Heather Lee

And BTW, despite the catty comments people keep posting, I'm not denying this baker is a douchebag. He is. I don't agree with his decision nor do I agree with his viewpoint. I'm stating fact. With that being said, I'd have been happy to stand outside and protest with this couple any day of the week...which the Constitution ALSO protects people's rights to do

Heather Lee
Heather Lee

I suggest you do. As commented in another comment on here, the first amendment protects that right and there are no FEDERAL laws prohibiting refusing a customer based on sexual orientation. All laws on the topics are state laws. The way our country was framed declares that federal laws and THE CONSTITUTION trump state laws.

sugarguy
sugarguy

What if they discriminate against fat people Nathaniel  you would be top of the list always remember maybe your kids might turn out gay? now grow up and shut up

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

I guess your ignorance knows no bounds.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Hey Bigot, AIDS kills more heterosexuals worldwide ... by far.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@@Joe Hothersall "The owner of the business can do what he wants"


Wrong again, numbnuts.

GuestWho
GuestWho

You said "us" to refer to a group of non-straight people meaning you distinguish gay people from straight people.....what do you prefer a group of people whose identity is their non-straight sexual orientation be called?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

A huge portion of Amerikkkan Idiot society entertains the legally false idea that businesses have some "right" to refuse service to anyone.




DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @Kevin T. Ryan "Private companies have the right to refuse service to people"


NO they don't, jackass, READ the LAW before you open your ignorant suck-hole.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Hey fuckwit, pork ribs are not a protected class under the law.


hth.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

The U$ Constitution's failure to mention Sexual Orientation does NOT mean that State Constitutions or laws that do protect Sexual Orientation are moot.



DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@GuestWho ... Humans ?  ... People? ...Fellow Citizen? ... Friend? ... Brother? ... Sister? ... Son? ... Daughter?



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