A three-judge panel at the Colorado Court of Appeals upheld two previous rulings on Thursday that found Christian cake artist Jack Phillips guilty of discrimination against a same-sex couple because he refused to make a cake for their wedding. The court ruled that Phillips cannot use his religious beliefs or free-speech rights to refuse to make such cakes.
“I think the ruling means that some Colorado citizens have a First Amendment right to believe what they want and to act on those beliefs — such as Lé Bakery Sensual of Denver or Azucar Bakery. As long as you hold the right view on same-sex marriage, you can act on your conscience,” said Nicolle Martin, Phillips’ lead attorney.
“But for people like Jack Phillips, you are not entitled to those beliefs.”
The Associated Press reported that the case stems from an incident in 2012, when gay couple Charlie Craig and David Mullins requested Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, bake them a cake for their wedding. The Christian baker said that he can make them other items, but not a wedding cake, citing his religious beliefs that deem marriage a union solely between a man and a woman.
Ria Mar, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado representing Mullins and Craig, said that no one in America should be turned away from a shop for “who they are or who they love.”
“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. Until then, we continue to fight for the equal treatment we all deserve,” Mar’s statement added.
Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Jeremy Tedesco argued, however, that it is an “American freedom” to decline using one’s artistic talents to promote messages one disagrees with.
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SOURCE: The Christian Post, Stoyan Zaimov