A baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony must serve gay couples despite his religious beliefs or face fines, a judge said Friday.
The order from administrative law judge Robert N. Spencer said Masterpiece Cakeshop in suburban Denver discriminated against a couple “because of their sexual orientation by refusing to sell them a wedding cake for their same-sex marriage.”
The order says the cake-maker must “cease and desist from discriminating” against gay couples. Although the judge did not impose fines in this case, the business will face penalties if it continues to turn away gay couples who want to buy cakes…
“At first blush, it may seem reasonable that a private business should be able to refuse service to anyone it chooses,” Judge Spencer said in his written order. “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.”
According to the complaint, Phillips told the couple that the store policy was to deny service to customers who wished to order baked goods for a same-sex wedding, based on his religious beliefs.
Phillips told the men, “I’ll make you birthday cakes, shower cakes, sell you cookies and brownies, I just don’t make cakes for same-sex weddings.”…
Nicolle Martin, an attorney for Masterpiece Cakeshop, told The Associated Press that the judge’s decision was “reprehensible” and “antithetical to everything America stands for.”
“He can’t violate his conscience in order to collect a paycheck,” Martin said. “If Jack can’t make wedding cakes, he can’t continue to support his family. And in order to make wedding cakes, Jack must violate his belief system.”
In July of 2012 my son and his fiancé invited me to join them at a bakery for a cake tasting and to discuss a design that was recommended by their event planner. What should have been a fun and special moment turned into a day I will never forget. The three of us walked into Masterpiece Cakeshop, and a man at the counter motioned for us to sit at a small table and then joined us. When the man asked whose wedding this was for, and my son said “it is for our wedding,” the man said that he does not make cakes for same- sex couples’ weddings or commitment ceremonies. When my son said “really?” the man tried to justify his stance by saying he will make birthday cakes or other occasion cakes for gays, just not a wedding cake.
I just sat there in disbelief. All of the levity that we felt on the drive to the bakery was gone. As I left that bakery, my heart was breaking for my son and his fiancé. What should have been a joyous occasion had turned into a humiliating occasion…
The decision that Judge Spencer made has renewed my hope that no other couple in Colorado will face discrimination by a business owner based on their sexual orientation. It was never about the cake. It was about my son being treated like a lesser person.
There will be no accommodation between gay rights activists and those seeking religious freedom to opt out of the gay rights movement. Gay rights activists demand tolerance for their lifestyle, but will not tolerate those who choose to adhere to their religious beliefs.
Increasingly, courts around the country are siding with the gay rights movement against those relying on the first freedoms of the country. While many would prefer to sit this out, they will be made to care.
Evil preaches tolerance until it is dominate and then it seeks to silence good. We are more and more rapidly arriving at a point in this country where Christians are being forced from the public square unless they abandon the tenets of their faith. In our secular society, Christianity is something you do on a Sunday and who you sleep with defines you.
For Christians defined by their faith, this paradigm of being defined by your sexual preference instead of your faith is deeply troublesome and will see more and more of these stories crop up.
But Judge Spencer shot down the constitutional arguments, noting that the Supreme Court has “repeatedly found” that those engaged in commercial activity are subject to state discrimination laws, regardless of their religious beliefs. “Conceptually, [Mr. Phillips’s] refusal to serve a same-sex couple due to religious objection to same-sex weddings is no different from refusing to serve a biracial couple because of religious objection to biracial marriage,” wrote Judge Spencer…
Wedding professionals in at least six states have run headlong into state antidiscrimination laws after refusing for religious reasons to bake cakes, arrange flowers or perform other services for same-sex couples.
The issue gained attention in August, when the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that an Albuquerque photography business violated state antidiscrimination laws after its owners declined to snap photos of a lesbian couple’s commitment ceremony.
“If the service or the product is expressive, if it sends a message, and the government says you have to make it, create it, and carry it for someone else, that is forced speech,” Ms. Martin told KNUS-AM talk-show host Peter Boyles.
Ms. Martin also warned that “this is just the first step.”
“If they can make Jack speak someone else’s message when they want it spoken and where they want it spoken, that is a government that we should all fear,” she said…
“It’s about the government telling you what you’re supposed to feel and believe. It doesn’t have anything to do with gay or straight,” said Mr. Boyles on Thursday’s program. “This is about this man’s right to say no, and what comes from that. This is what political correctness, authoritarianism is all about.”
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