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Colorado Baker ordered to make cakes for same-sex couples.

A Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for two homosexual men has been found guilty of discrimination and ordered to serve future same-sex couples or face stiff fines. Administrative Law Judge Robert N. Spencer ruled December 6 that Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in the Denver suburb of Lakewood, discriminated against Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig when he told them in July 2012 that he couldn't bake a cake to celebrate their union because homosexual behavior conflicted with his Christian beliefs. Mullins and Craig had gone through a same-sex ceremony earlier in Massachusetts, but had wanted a cake to celebrate in Colorado.

"Respondents have no free speech right to refuse because they were only asked to bake a cake, not make a speech," wrote Spencer in his ruling against Phillips. "It is not the same as forcing a person to pledge allegiance to the government or to display a motto with which they disagree." He added that "at first blush, it may seem reasonable that a private business should be able to refuse service to anyone it chooses. This view, however, fails to take into account the cost to society and the hurt caused to persons who are denied service simply because of who they are."

Colorado's ACLU franchise, which sued the baker on behalf of the homosexual men, exulted in its victory. "Masterpiece Cake-shop has willfully and repeatedly considered itself above the law when it comes to discriminating against customers, and the state has rightly determined otherwise.... It's important for all Coloradans to be treated fairly by every business that is open to the public--that's good for business and good for the community," said the ACLU's Sara Neel after the December 6 ruling.

Attorney Nicolle Martin of the conservative Christian legal advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented Phillips, expressed dismay at the ruling. "He can't violate his conscience in order to collect a paycheck.- she said. If Jack can't make wedding cakes, he can't continue to support his family. And in order to make wedding cakes, Jack must violate his belief system. That is a reprehensible choice."

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Title Annotation:INSIDE TRACK
Publication:The New American
Geographic Code:1U8CO
Date:Jan 6, 2014
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