DENVER — A Colorado baker who refused to create a cake for a gay wedding is appealing the state’s civil-rights commission’s order requiring him to reeducate his employees.
Attorneys for Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, filed an appeal Wednesday with the Colorado Court of Appeals, arguing that the bakers are artists who shouldn’t be forced by the government to express views with which they disagree.
“In America, we don’t force artists to create expression that is contrary to their convictions,” said Jeremy Tedesco, Alliance Defending Freedom senior legal counsel. “A paint artist who identifies as homosexual shouldn’t be intimidated into creating a painting that celebrates one-man, one-woman marriage. A pro-life photographer shouldn’t be forced to work a pro-abortion rally. And Christian cake artists shouldn’t be punished for declining to participate in a same-sex ceremony or promote its message.”
The commission ordered Mr. Phillips in May to comply with the state’s public accommodations law by undertaking “comprehensive staff training,” filing regular “compliance reports,” and documenting for two years the number of patrons denied service and the reason for the denial.
Charlie Craig and David Mullins, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, sued Mr. Phillips after he refused to bake them a wedding cake in July 2012, citing his religious beliefs, although he told them he would bake them any other item.
An administrative law judge ruled in December that Mr. Phillips had discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation and that being required to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony did not violate his First Amendment rights.