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By Casey Harper
The Colorado Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal of a Christian baker who refused to make wedding cakes for same-sex marriage ceremonies. The court’s decision Monday means the previous appellate court ruling against the Christian bakers will stand.
Charlie Craig and David Mullins came to Masterpiece Cakeshop in July 2012 and asked for a cake for their same-sex wedding ceremony. Jack Phillips, who has owned Masterpiece Cakeshop for more than 20 years, refused them service because of his religious beliefs.
Craig and Mullins filed a complaint and teamed up with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The Colorado Civil Rights Commission ruled 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 on discrimination and file quarterly compliance reports for two years. He has since given up making cakes altogether since he isn’t allowed to refuse same-sex weddings.
“The Colorado Supreme Court made the right call. There was no reason to hear this case,” Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United, said in a statement. “Religious freedom is an important constitutional principle, but it doesn’t guarantee businesses the right to deny people services and discriminate against them.”
The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled in August that refusing to bake the cake was discrimination not protected by his right to religious freedom. Phillips appealed to the state’s Supreme Court but now those hopes are dashed.
“We asked the Colorado Supreme Court to take this case to ensure that government understands that its duty is to protect the people’s freedom to follow their beliefs personally and professionally, not force them to violate those beliefs as the price of earning a living,” Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Jeremy Tedesco said in a statement. “Jack, who has happily served people of all backgrounds for years, simply exercised the long-cherished American freedom to decline to use his artistic talents to promote a message and event with which he disagrees, and that freedom shouldn’t be placed in jeopardy for anyone. We are evaluating all legal options to preserve this freedom for Jack.”
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