The Colorado Court of Appeals upheld a ruling on Aug. 13 that a Christian baker must make wedding cakes for same-sex couples or pay fines.
In December 2013, a judge with Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission said Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colo., discriminated against a gay couple who tried to order a wedding cake in July 2012. Phillips said he could make other baked goods for the couple, but not a wedding cake because it violated his religious belief that marriage is between a man and a woman.
The couple filed a civil rights complaint, and Judge Robert N. Spencer ordered Phillips to “cease and desist from discriminating” or face fines ranging from $50 to $500 per person per incident. Six months later, the Civil Rights Commission ordered Phillips and his employees to undergo “comprehensive staff training” on the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, to file “quarterly compliance reports” for two years, and to document the number of customers denied any type of product or services, citing the reason for the denial.
Phillips appealed the decision to the state appellate courts. In the interim, he stopped making weddings cakes altogether. Phillips said last year that his business had actually improved, however, as more and more people shopped at the bakery to show their support.
— by Lynde Langdon