DENVER – Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission has ordered a Christian baker to make wedding cakes for same-sex couples, finding his religious objections to the practice did not trump the state’s anti-discrimination statutes.
Denver baker Jack Phillips the unanimous ruling from the seven-member commission upheld an administrative law judge’s finding in December that Jack Phillips violated civil rights law when he refused to make a wedding cake for a homosexual couple in 2012. The couple sued.
Phillips, a devout Christian who owns the Masterpiece Cake shop in the Denver suburb of Lakewood, said the decision violates his First Amendment rights to free speech and free exercise of his religion. After the ruling, he told reporters “I will stand by my convictions until somebody shuts me down.”
He added that his bakery has been so overwhelmed by supporters eager to buy cookies and brownies that he does not currently make wedding cakes.
Gay marriage remains illegal in Colorado. The two homosexuals were married in Massachusetts and wanted a wedding cake for a reception to celebrate their union back home in Westminster, another Denver suburb.
State law prohibits businesses from refusing to serve customers based on their sexual orientation.
The panel issued its ruling verbally. It ordered Phillips to stop discriminating against gay people and to report quarterly for two years on staff anti-discrimination training and any customers he refuses to serve.
Phillips’ attorney said she was considering appealing the ruling to the Colorado Court of Appeals.