A baker who declined to make a wedding cake last year for a same-sex couple because it violated his religious beliefs could face jail time if he does it again, a Colorado administrative law judge warned last week.
When Charlie Craig and David Mullins visited Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colo., in July 2012 and requested a wedding cake, store owner Jack Phillips said he would be happy to bake a birthday cake, a shower cake — anything but a wedding cake, according to Breitbart News.
The Colorado Constitution seems to support Phillips’ decision, defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. But Craig and Mullins said they were already married in Massachusetts, where same-sex weddings are allowed, but they wanted to celebrate the event in Colorado with friends and family.
When the baker turned down the request, the couple filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, claiming Phillips’ refusal violated Colorado’s anti-discrimination law. Judge Robert Spencer agreed, finding Phillips and Masterpiece Cakeshop liable, though the judge did acknowledge the owner’s religious beliefs in his ruling, according to Breitbart, which reported:
Phillips has been a Christian for approximately 35 years, and believes in Jesus Christ as his Lord and savior. As a Christian, Phillips’ main goal in life is to be obedient to Jesus and His teachings in all aspects of his life[;] Phillips believes the Bible is the inspired word of God[;] its commands are binding on him[;] God’s intention for marriage is the union of one man and one woman.
The judge also acknowledged that Phillips considers himself a participant to any wedding for which he bakes a cake.
“Phillips believes that if he uses his artistic talents to participate in same-sex weddings by creating a wedding cake, he will be displeasing God and acting contrary to the teachings of the Bible,” Spencer said in the ruling.
Nonetheless, the judge ordered Phillips and Masterpiece Cakeshop to “cease and desist from discriminating against Complainants and other same-sex couples by refusing to sell them wedding cakes or any other product Respondents would provide to heterosexual couples.”
The ruling puts Phillips on notice that he could be held criminally liable and face jail time if he refuses to bake another same-sex wedding cake.
“If the government can force you to violate your belief under the threat of a jail sentence, there is really no freedom they can’t take away,” Phillips’ attorney, Nicolle Martin, said when she and her client appeared this week on “Fox & Friends.”