Colorado Bakery Opposed To Gay Marriage Gets Out Of The Wedding Cake Business

Robert Jonathan

The Colorado bakery that was ordered to bake a cake for a same-sex ceremony apparently is no longer making cakes for any weddings.

In December, a state judge found that Masterpiece Cakeshop in the Denver area cannot legally refuse service to a customer -- in this case, declining to sell a wedding cake -- on the basis of sexual orientation. Despite the store owner's religious objections, his policy violated Colorado's Anti-Discrimination Act, the judge concluded.

Owner Jack Phillips appealed the judge's ruling to the seven-member Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which yesterday unanimously upheld the judge's decision.

Anyone interested in buying a wedding cake from Masterpiece Cakeshop in suburban Lakewood will be out of luck as a result. "[The ruling] prompted Phillips to decide he would no longer make any wedding cakes. He said he would be fine selling cupcakes for a birthday party for someone who is gay but added, 'I don't want to participate in a same-sex wedding.'"

As part of the commission's decision, the bakery will be required "to change its policy, provide staff training, and report quarterly to confirm that the business does not turn away customers due to sexual orientation."

Colorado currently does not recognize same-sex marriage.

Phillips, a devout Christian who doesn't believe in gay marriage, is considering an appeal to a higher court. His attorney, Nicolle Martin, claimed that state officials are violating Phillips' freedom of religion and of speech under the First Amendment and that "A human rights tribunal has no authority to trump the United States Constitution." Added Phillips, "I will stand by my convictions until somebody shuts me down."

The bakery reportedly is making plenty of money selling cakes for other occasions, as well as cupcakes and cookies.

Setting aside your views on same-sex marriage and/or the First Amendment if possible, it's likely that there are many bakeries in the Denver area. In general, when a consumer is unhappy with store a, the consumer often takes his or her business to store b or store c. As a practical matter, would that approach have been better or worse in this instance, rather than getting the courts involved?