A Colorado baker is appealing a ruling from the state’s Civil Rights Commission that he either make cakes for same-sex weddings or face fines.
Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, refused to bake a wedding cake for Charlie Craig and David Mullins in July of 2012, when the now-married same-sex couple came into his store while planning a reception.
“I’ll make you birthday cakes, shower cakes, sell you cookies and brownies,” Phillips allegedly told the couple, citing religious beliefs as the reason for his refusal. “I just don’t make cakes for same-sex weddings.”
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Attorneys representing Phillips, who hasn’t made any wedding cakes since the ruling, argued Tuesday in the Colorado Court of Appeals that he has the right to refuse to make a same-sex wedding cake according to the First Amendment, the Associated Press reports. “Mr. Phillips has the same First Amendment right as the cake artist who doesn’t want to create a Confederate flag cake,” said Jeremy Tedesco, one of Phillips’ attorneys.
Attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union representing Craig and Mullins, meanwhile, say that a victory for Phillips would pave the way for future discrimination.
The case highlights what is quickly becoming a nationwide tug-of-war between gay rights and religious freedom. An Oregon bakery that refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple in 2013 was forced to pay $135,000 in damages last week, while a florist in Washington state faces an ongoing legal battle after refusing to serve a same-sex couple married in 2013.
An attorney representing Mullins and Craig said they would consider taking the case to the U.S. Supreme Court if Phillips’ appeal succeeds.