Judge Rules Against Bakery Owner Who Would Rather Close Shop Than Serve Gay Couples

The owner of a Colorado bakery faces legal trouble for refusing to provide a gay couple with a wedding cake — and despite his best efforts, his religious beliefs aren’t helping him in court.

Last July, Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig approached Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, to bake a cake for their upcoming wedding. The owner, Jack Phillips, told them his religious beliefs kept him from supporting their marriage and he refused to provide the cake.

“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.”

With the help of the ACLU, Mullins and Craig filed complaints with the Colorado Civil Rights Division, according to KDVR. Colorado’s anti-discrimination law prohibits discrimination in public accommodations based on sexual orientation or gender identity. In civil court earlier this week, Phillips argued that his religious liberties were being violated, and that his refusal to provide the cake is a form of speech protected by the First Amendment.

That didn’t work out so well, though; on Friday, Judge Robert Spencer of the Colorado Office of Administrative Courts found Phillips guilty of unlawful discrimination. In what might be the funniest part of this entire case, Spencer noted that Phillips’s religion argument was invalid because he had previously made a cake for the wedding of two dogs. (Can someone please direct me to the Biblical stance on dog marriages?)

The judge’s decision likely means that Phillips will have to change his shop’s discriminatory anti-gay policy. His lawyer earlier said she would appeal the ruling if Phillips lost in civil court, but it remains to be seen whether she’ll follow through.

Last July Phillips also said he would rather close down shop than serve gay couples:

 “If it came to that point, we would close down the bakery before we would compromise our beliefs so that may be what it comes to. We’ll see.”

No word on whether he’ll hold true to that promise, either, but we can dream. I’ll take my canine cake needs elsewhere, thanks.

About Camille Beredjick

Camille is a twentysomething working in the LGBT nonprofit industry. She runs an LGBT news blog at gaywrites.org.


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