Cake Shop Owner Defiant After Ruling Forces Him to Serve Gay Couples
The Colorado Civil Rights Commission ruled that Jack Phillips, owner of a cake shop in a suburb of Denver, must bake cakes for gay couples -- even though gay marriage is illegal in the state.
Colorado's Civil Rights Commission on Friday ordered a baker to make wedding cakes for same-sex couples, finding his religious objections to the practice did not trump the state's anti-discrimination statutes.
The unanimous ruling from the seven-member commission upheld an administrative law judge's finding in December that Jack Phillips violated civil rights law when he refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple in 2012. The couple sued.
"I can believe anything I want, but if I'm going to do business here, I'd ought to not discriminate against people," Commissioner Raju Jaram said.
Phillips, a devout Christian who owns the Masterpiece Cakeshop in the Denver suburb of Lakewood, said the decision violates his First Amendment rights to free speech and free exercise of his religion. "I will stand by my convictions until somebody shuts me down," he told reporters after the ruling.
He added his bakery has been so overwhelmed by supporters eager to buy cookies and brownies that he does not currently make wedding cakes.
The couple who sued Phillips, Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig, were pleased that the commission roundly rejected Phillips' arguments. "We're just thrilled by that," Mullins said.
Gay marriage remains illegal in Colorado. Mullins and Craig were married in Massachusetts and wanted a wedding cake for a reception to celebrate their union back home in Colorado.
State law prohibits businesses from refusing to serve customers based on their sexual orientation.
The panel issued its ruling verbally. It ordered Phillips to stop discriminating against gay people and to report quarterly for two years on staff anti-discrimination training and any customers he refuses to serve.
The "Civil Rights Commission" is a kangaroo court. Their mandate is to find people brought before it guilty of discrimination. That is their raison d'être, and the members of the commission are chosen to prove discrimination is present.
Here is part of their mission statement:
The Commissioners are citizens of Colorado who are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate to serve four-year, voluntary terms. They are selected from across the state to represent both political parties. Two represent business (one of whom represents small business), two represent government, and three represent the community at-large. At least four of the members are members of groups of people who have been or who might be discriminated against because of disability, race, creed, color, sex, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, marital status, religion or age. Matters concerning current investigations or appeals before the Commission are confidential and can only be discussed with the parties in the case or the parties' representatives.
There are 3 Democrats, one Republican, and 3 "un," meaning unaffiliated on the commission. The fact that at least half the commission is part of the victimhood culture should tell you all you need to know about the fairness of the proceedings.
To sum up: Mr. Phillips was hauled before this commission for not serving a wedding cake to a gay couple even though gay marriage is illegal in Colorado. In other words, it is illegal in Colorado to refuse to take part in the extension of an illegal act. Mr. Phillips is being punished and forced to violate his religious tenets despite the fact that one of the Commission's mandates is to protect people from being discriminated against because of their religion.
Mark Steyn's run in with this sort of lunacy in Canada brought out the best in his writing:
If you schmooze enough Third World thug states, it's not surprising your postmodern cultural relativism starts to drift past the point of no return. As Commissar Lynch primly notes in her report, America's First Amendment absolutism on free speech is out of step with the "growing global consensus"—that would be the "growing global consensus" represented by the CHRC and its "distinguished guests." Take Sweden and Cameroon, split the difference, and that should be enough human rights for anyone.
In an op-ed for the Globe and Mail, Jennifer Lynch justified her report on the grounds that it would assist a "balanced debate." That same day, CTV booked her and Ezra Levant, author of Shakedown, the bestselling book about Canada's "human rights" regime, on to Power Play, to have that, er, "debate" she's always talking about. When Queen Jennifer heard Ezra was to be on the show, she refused to debate him, and demanded he be bounced from the airwaves. As Kathy Shaidle put it: "Canada's Official Censor Tries To Censor TV Debate About Censorship."
Okay, if she won't debate Ezra, I'd be happy to do it. All very "balanced": Maclean's can sponsor it, Steve Paikin or some such public-TV cove can anchor it. Name the date, I'll be there. But, in the absence of any willingness to debate, reasonable people pondering Canada's strangely ambitious Official Censor might object not just philosophically but on Professor Moon-like utilitarian grounds: if you're not smart enough to debate Ezra Levant, you're not smart enough to police the opinions of 30 million people.
In the world of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, freedom is a zero sum game; in order to give freedom to some you must take away freedom from others.
It's nonsense, of course -- but Mr. Phillips isn't laughing.