Jack Phillips is the owner of Masterpiece Cake shop which is located in Denver, Colorado. He is a practicing Christian who applies his religious values to his small business and operates it in a Christian way. In July of 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins visited the shop to order a cake to celebrate the gay wedding that they had held in Massachusetts but wanted to celebrate in Colorado.
Once Phillips found out that the cake was for a same-sex ceremony, he turned the couple away.
Colorado has a constitutional ban against gay marriage but allows civil unions. The civil union law, which passed earlier this year, does not provide religious protections for businesses. It seems to me that Constitution of the United States, would provide those protections to Phillips who admits, he doesn’t discriminate and serves all of his customers equally. He claimed that he still serves gay customers but refuses to create a product for a purpose that goes against his religious beliefs.
You would think that Craig and Mullins would have just found another cake shop and respected Phillip’s religious objections. Would you hire a photographer who didn’t morally agree with what they are taking pictures of? Do you think those pictures would have turned out better if they had been taken by someone who was aligned morally? I would think so.
Instead Phillips, has faced demonization, as so many Christian business owners have in the past for similar reasons.
Enter ACLU who is no stranger to these types of cases.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit against the bakery on the couple’s behalf and the judge has ruled that Phillips cannot discriminate against customers, which logically means he can’t discriminate against the purpose his cakes are being used for.
The ACLU issued a statement on the judge’s decision: “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.” The statement went on to read, “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.”
In a written order, Judge Spencer says, “At first blush, it may seem reasonable that a private business should be able to refuse service to anyone it chooses, 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.”
Nicole Martin who as attorney for Masterpiece cake shop says that Phillips is an impossible position. Either he must choose to go against providing for his family, or choose to go against his religious convictions.