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Christian baker ordered to endorse same-sex ‘wedding’

From WND
30 May 2014  |  By Bob Unruh

Colorado Civil Rights Commission issues demand even though state doesn’t recognize ‘gay marriage’


DENVER – The Colorado Civil Rights Division is telling a Lakewood, Colorado, baker he must violate his faith and create “wedding” cakes for same-sex duos, even though the state doesn’t recognize such unions.

The ruling came Friday from the state agency board in a dispute between Jack Phillips, a Christian baker who runs Masterpiece bakery, and two homosexuals for whom he declined to create a cake in 2012.

Colorado’s constitution doesn’t recognize “same-sex marriage,” and attorneys representing Phillips said the decision is a step too far.

“The government … seek[s] to impose a new belief system upon Jack [Phillips], one that is fundamentally at odds with his conscience and his liberty,” explained a legal filing from attorneys with the Alliance Defending Freedom representing Phillips and his Masterpiece Cakes in Lakewood.

Two homosexuals filed the complaint after Phillips declined to provide them with a “wedding” cake. Phillips offered to provide other products but, citing his own Christian beliefs, declined to produce a message on a wedding cake that conflicted with his faith.

Administrative Law Judge Robert Spencer, however, earlier ordered Phillips, on pain of fines or even jail time, to violate his faith and provide the wedding cake to homosexuals Charlie Craig and David Mullins.

ADF appealed the “erroneous” ruling, filing a petition for review to the commission.

But the commission on Friday upheld the administrative judge’s opinion, rejecting ADF contentions that Spencer, under the state’s court rules of procedure, should have dismissed the complaint.

The notice argues Phillips “did not discriminate ‘because of’ sexual orientation” but acted “in accordance with the provisions of the Colorado Constitution, state law and the public policy of the state.”

Phillips’ “conduct and expressions in declining to design and create a wedding cake are protected by the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and by Article II, Section 10 of the Colorado Constitution,” ADF stated.

The lawyers argued the case “involves both actual and symbolic speech” and Phillips and his company “cannot be forced to create and convey a message with which they disagree.”

Spencer was wrong, ADF contended, because “the ALJ’s recommendation that respondents ‘[c]ease and desist from discriminating against complainants and other same-sex couples by refusing to sell them wedding cakes or any other product respondents would provide to heterosexual couples’ is overbroad and exceeds the scope of relief authorized [under state law].”

“America was founded on the fundamental freedom of all citizens to live and work without fear of government punishment,” said Nicole Martin, lead counsel in the case.

The seven commissioners refused to listen to arguments Friday, instead ordering Phillips to submit quarterly reports detailing what he’s doing to prevent such actions, such as store employee training and a tally of whether any customers were turned away.

KDVR-TV in Denver said homosexuals Mullins and Craig went to the bakery for a cake for their “wedding,” which was scheduled to be in Massachusetts.

There was no apparent explanation why a cake would be purchased in Colorado for an event to be held in Massachusetts.

Phillips said his Christian beliefs prevented him from endorsing and participating in such events.

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