Colorado Judge Rules Against Christian Couple In Gay Rights Dispute


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Casey Harper Contributor
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A Colorado judge ruled Thursday that a Christian couple could not refuse to bake cakes for gay weddings.

The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled that refusing to bake a cake for a gay couple was discrimination not protected by their right to religious freedom.

“The fact that an entity charges for its goods and services reduces the likelihood that a reasonable observer will believe that it supports the message expressed in its finished product,” the court ruled. “Nothing in the record supports the conclusion that a reasonable observer would interpret Masterpiece’s providing a wedding cake for a same-sex couple as an endorsement of same-sex marriage, rather than a reflection of its desire to conduct business in accordance with Colorado’s public accommodations law.”

The case is one of several across the country where wedding service providers have refused to work for engaged gay couples citing their faith. It’s possible the case could go to the Supreme Court.

“Jack simply exercised the long-cherished American freedom to decline to use his artistic talents to promote a message with which he disagrees,” Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco, who argued the case, said in a statement. “The court is wrong to deny Jack his fundamental freedoms.”

Phillips has owned Masterpiece Cakeshop for more than 20 years. He closes down for Sunday and won’t bake cakes for Halloween because of his religious convictions.

Charlie Craig and David Mullins came to the Masterpiece Cakeshop in July 2012 and asked for a cake for their same-sex wedding ceremony. Phillips declined, citing his religious conviction.

Craig and Mullins filed a complaint and joined up with the ACLU.

The Colorado Civil Rights Commission decided in May 2014 that Phillips must make cakes for same-sex ceremonies or face legal consequences. Phillips and his staff were also ordered take re-education classes and file quarterly compliance reports for two years.

“Once a business opens its doors to the public, it has no right to ignore anti-discrimination laws and impose its religious beliefs on its customers,” Alex Luchenitser, Americans United’s associate legal director, said in a statement.

Whether the case will go to the Supreme Court remains to be seen, but Tedesco told The Daily Caller News Foundation last month that this case, or one like it, will likely go before the highest court.

“Americans are guaranteed the freedom to live and work consistent with their faith,” Tedesco said in a statement. “Government has a duty to protect people’s freedom to follow their beliefs personally and professionally rather than force them to adopt the government’s views.”

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Casey Harper