Masterpiece Cakeshop: Civil Rights Commission to hear gay wedding cake case tomorrow

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Should bakeries be allowed to refuse to make wedding cakes for same-sex couples? The Colorado Civil Rights Commission is expected to answer that question tomorrow, when it will hold a public hearing to determine whether the Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood discriminated against a gay couple who attempted to order a wedding cake in 2012.

Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig claim that Masterpiece owner Jack Phillips refused to bake one for them -- an action that Judge Robert Spencer determined last year was discriminatory. Phillips appealed that decision to the commission.

See also: Masterpiece Cakeshop: Yelp removes negative comments, while supporters create Facebook group

Spencer's ruling, which is on view below, found that Colorado state law prohibits "a place of public accommodation" -- which includes cake shops -- from discriminating against a person based on his or her sexual orientation. And Spencer didn't buy Phillips's argument that he's not opposed to gay people, just gay weddings.

"The salient feature distinguishing same-sex weddings from heterosexual ones is the sexual orientation of its participants," Spencer wrote. "Only same-sex couples engage in same-sex weddings. Therefore, it makes little sense to argue that refusal to provide a cake to a same-sex couple for use at their wedding is not 'because of' their sexual orientation."

Will the Colorado Civil Rights Commission agree? The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. tomorrow in the old Supreme Court Chambers of the Colorado State Capitol.

Initial Decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop Case

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.