A Colorado Court of Appeals ruled on Thursday that Christian baker, Jack Phillips, cannot cite his religious beliefs to refuse service to gay couples.
In 2012, Jack Phillips, who owns Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, was requested by gay couple Charlie Craig and David Mullins to bake a cake for their wedding. Phillips refused the request, saying that he is willing to make other baked goods for them but not a wedding cake because of his religious beliefs that marriage should be between a man and a woman.
The couple subsequently filed a complaint and sued Phillips under a Colorado law that bans discrimination in public spaces based on sexual orientation.
"In America, no one should be turned away from a shop or restaurant because of who they are or who they love," staff attorney at American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado Rita Mar said in a statement.
"When every lesbian or gay person, every woman, every person of color, every person of every faith can walk into a store, a bank, a hospital, and know that they will get the same service as everyone else, we will have won," Mar said. "Until then, we continue to fight for the equal treatment we all deserve."
Jeremy Tedesco, senior lawyer at Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal firm in Arizona, defended Phillips' decision not to bake the cake saying Phillips did not “engage in sexual-orientation discrimination."
“Cake decorating is his medium for creating art and they are compelling him to engage in artistic expression that violates his beliefs," Tedesco told the New York Times.
However, the three-judge panel unanimously decided in their opinion that “discrimination on the basis of one’s opposition to same-sex marriage is discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.”
Furthermore, the judges wrote that no ”reasonable observer would interpret Masterpiece’s providing a wedding cake for a same-sex couple as an endorsement of same-sex marriage, rather than a reflection of its desire to conduct business in accordance with Colorado’s public accommodations law.”
According to the Christian Post, the baker is said to have stopped baking wedding cakes since last year and cannot continue his business unless he makes wedding cakes for same-sex couples.
"It shows that some people have more equal rights than others. When you're not in line with the same-sex agenda, you don't have as much equal rights,” Phillips told Fox News in response to the ruling.