Last summer, a gay couple, Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig, was refused a wedding cake by Colorado bakery Masterpiece Cakeshop. Another same-sex couple who was denied a cake there called back and the shop actually agreed to do a cake for a dog wedding, but still not a same-sex wedding. Mullins and Craig decided to file a complaint with the assistance of the ACLU, and an investigation by the Colorado Civil Rights Division (CCRD) found multiple examples of the bakery denying service to same-sex couples in violation of state law.
Now, the state Attorney General’s office has filed a formal complaint against the bakery, requiring its owners to testify at a hearing in the fall. Here are a few examples of the Masterpiece Cakeshop’s discrimination from the CCRD’s investigation:
The Charging Party states that on July 20, 2012, in an effort to obtain more information as to why her son was refused service, Munn telephoned Phillips. During this telephone conversation, Phillips stated that “because he is a Christian, he was opposed to making cakes for same-sex weddings for any same-sex couples.”[…]
S. Schmalz subsequently posted a review on the website Yelp describing her experiences with the Respondent. An individual identifying himself as “Jack P. of Masterpiece Cakeshop” posted a reply to Schmalz’s review, in which he stated that ” … a wedding for [gays and lesbians] is something that, so far, not even the State of Colorado will allow” and did not dispute that he refuses to serve gay and lesbian couples planning weddings or commitment celebrations.[…]
Allen and Sandlin state that they later spoke directly with Phillips. During this conversation, Phillips stated that “he is not willing to make a cake for a same-sex commitment ceremony, just as he would not be willing to make a pedophile cake.”
Baked goods do not have any legal standing and are thus unaffected by whether or not the stated purpose of the cake is recognized under state law. What Colorado law does say is that it is unlawful to refuse goods or services to an individual because of their sexual orientation. Just like the Washington florist facing similar litigation, Masterpiece Cakeshop is in clear violation of this provision, and the owners’ religious beliefs are actually irrelevant. As the ACLU points out, “the store has no more right to turn away a gay couple than to turn away an interracial couple, no matter what the owners’ personal beliefs.”