Colorado Supreme Court won’t hear gay wedding cake case

FILE - In this March 10, 2014, file photo, Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips decorates a cake inside his store in Lakewood, Colo. Colorado's Supreme Court has refused to take up the case of Phillips, who would not make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, letting stand a lower court's ruling that the Masterpiece Cakeshop owner cannot cite his Christian beliefs in refusing service. The American Civil Liberties Union applauded the Monday, April 25, 2016 development, saying it affirmed that no one should be turned away from a business serving the public because of who they are or who they love.

FILE - In this March 10, 2014, file photo, Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips decorates a cake inside his store in Lakewood, Colo. Colorado's Supreme Court has refused to take up the case of Phillips, who would not make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, letting stand a lower court's ruling that the Masterpiece Cakeshop owner cannot cite his Christian beliefs in refusing service. The American Civil Liberties Union applauded the Monday, April 25, 2016 development, saying it affirmed that no one should be turned away from a business serving the public because of who they are or who they love. AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File

DENVER — The Colorado Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up the case of a suburban Denver baker who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, letting stand a previous ruling that the Masterpiece Cakeshop owner must provide service despite his Christian beliefs.

Charlie Craig and David Mullins, who were refused service by baker Jack Phillips in 2012, applauded the development.

Craig said they persisted with the case throughout a complicated legal process because they felt it was important to set the precedent that discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation was not only wrong but illegal.

“We didn’t want anyone to have to go through what we did,” Craig said.

Attorney Nicolle Martin, who represents Phillips, said they had not yet decided whether to ask Colorado’s highest court to reconsider, or approach the U.S. Supreme Court. Martin says she is surprised the Colorado court would not consider the case.

“This is a matter that affects all Americans, not just people of faith,” Martin said.

The seven-member Colorado Supreme Court said in a brief announcement that it decided as a group not to take up the case.

However, Chief Justice Nancy E. Rice and Justice Nathan B. Coats would have considered hearing arguments in several areas, including whether applying Colorado’s anti-discrimination law to force Phillips to “create artistic expression” in the form of a wedding cake violated his constitutional free speech rights.

Phillips declined to make a cake for Craig and Mullins, who were married in Massachusetts and planned a celebration in Colorado. The couple filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which ruled in December 2013 that Phillips discriminated against them and ordered him to change his store policy against making cakes for gay weddings or face fines. The Colorado Court of Appeals also ruled against him.

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