Civil Rights Commission says Lakewood bakery discriminated against gay couple
DENVER — The Colorado Civil Rights Commission ruled Friday that Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood was in violation of the state’s Anti-Discrimination Act by refusing to sell a wedding cake to a gay couple.
The commission rejected the bakery’s appeal of an earlier ruling by an administrative judge of unlawful discrimination.
In August 2012, David Mullins and Charlie Craig went to the bakery for a cake for their wedding in Massachusetts but were turned away because they’re gay. Bakery owner Jack Phillips said in 2012 he refused to make the cake because of his religious principal.
“What should have been a happy day for us turned into a humiliating and dehumanizing experience because of the way we were treated,” Mullins said. “No one should ever have to walk into a store and wonder if they will be turned away just because of who they are.”
“I’m a follower of Jesus Christ so you can say it’s a religious belief, but I believe that the Bible teaches that that’s not an OK thing,” said Phillips, who said it’s a long-standing policy and he has turned away several other gay couples for the same reason.
The commission voted unanimously for the bakery to change its policy of not serving to gay people and ordered a quarterly reporting to confirm it is not turning away customers because of their sexual orientation.
“Religious freedom is undoubtedly an important American value, but so is the right to be treated equally under the law free from discrimination,” said Amanda Goad, staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project. “Everyone is free to believe what they want, but businesses like Masterpiece Cakeshop cannot treat some customers differently than others based on who they are as people.”