Colorado baker ordered to make wedding cakes for same-sex couples

BY Justin Scuiletti  May 30, 2014 at 4:00 PM EST
Photo by Flickr user Ludovic Bertron

Photo by Flickr user Ludovic Bertron

A baker in a suburb of Denver must make wedding cakes for same-sex couples despite his religious objections, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission ruled Friday.

Jack Phillips, owner of the Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, refused to make a wedding cake for gay couple Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig in 2012. Phillips, a devout Christian, cited religious objections in his refusal, which the commission said were overruled by Colorado’s anti-discrimination laws that prevents businesses from refusing service due to customer sexual orientation.

The board’s ruling follows a December decision from an administrative law judge.

“At first blush, it may seem reasonable that a private business should be able to refuse service to anyone it chooses,” Judge Robert N. Spencer wrote in his decision in December. “This view, however, fails to take into account the cost to society and the hurt caused to persons who are denied service simply because of who they are.”

The panel’s decision requires Phillips to submit two years’ worth of quarterly reports that demonstrate an attempt to change company policies away from discrimination, as well as name any customers who are turned away.

Phillips said the commission’s ruling violates his rights to free speech and freedom to exercise his religion. He and his attorney are considering an appeal.