A Colorado bakery owner has decided to suspend his wedding business after being informed by state civil rights officials that he must bake wedding cakes for same-sex union ceremonies. Jack Phillips
, the owner of
Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, says he will not comply with the order to violate his religious beliefs, and will instead cease making wedding cakes altogether.
The Colorado Civil Rights Commission has determined that Phillips, a master pastry chef, violated a state law that prohibits discrimination based on so-called "sexual orientation." Phillips had declined a request two years ago from a homosexual "couple" to bake and decorate a cake for their same-sex union celebration. When he told the two men that he would happy to bake items for them, but would not decorate a cake for a same-sex
ceremony, they cussed him out and proceeded to file a complaint with state civil rights authorities.
The Civil Rights Commission issued a unanimous ruling affirming the decision of an administrative law judge. In so doing, Colorado civil rights authorities have decided that the First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion does not apply to Phillips in the operation of his business. The Commission has given Phillips an ultimatum that he must support, assist, and affirm the "celebration" of immoral and depraved conduct, or face sanctions under the law.
Yet the Civil Rights Commission's denial of Phillips' religious civil liberties didn't stop there. Commissioners have ordered Phillips to undergo "sensitivity training" to educate him on "sexual orientation" issues. Phillips' elderly mother, who also works at the shop, must undergo the training as well. Phillips will also be required to submit quarterly filings to the Commission reporting on how he has serviced homosexual customers.
Phillips says he will remain resolute in placing obedience to God before obedience to the government. "I will stand by my convictions until somebody shuts me down. This violates my freedom of religion and freedom of speech...and my duty as a Christian abiding by my Savior. We will close down this bakery before we will
compromise our beliefs."
"I'm a follower of Jesus Christ, and I believe that this relationship is not something that He looks favorably upon," Phillips added. "If Jesus was a carpenter, he would not make a bed for this union."
Nicolle Martin, lead counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, decried the Civil Rights Commission's repressive ruling. "Jack simply exercised the long-cherished American freedom to decline to use his artistry to promote a message with which he disagrees. The government should not force him to choose between his faith and his livelihood." ADF is expected to appeal
the ruling to the Colorado Court of Appeals.
Martin says that the reporting requirements are the hallmark of a totalitarian society. "We consider this reporting to be aimed at rehabilitating Jack so that he has the right thoughts. Jack is expected to demonstrate that he doesn't exercise his belief system anymore--that he has divested himself of his beliefs. Is this the society we want to live in--where people of faith are driven out of business?"
"There's a continuing collision between religious liberty and the 'gay rights' movement," Martin observed. "The collision is coming to the forefront almost every day. Somebody is losing their liberty, their job, or both."
Phillips says that business at Masterpiece Cakeshop has doubled since news of the ACLU lawsuit against him became public. He says he expects to make a go of it selling cookies and brownies. And he says he will never back down.
"My God is bigger than any bullies they've got. I will continue to honor my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and be true to what he wants me to do. I'm not giving up my faith. Too many people have died for the faith to give it up that easily. Obey Christ rather than worry about what man can do to you."
Jack Phillips isn't the only baker to face persecution and potential prosecution for his religious beliefs. Last fall an Oregon couple shut down their retail bakery shop after harassment from state officials. Aaron and Melissa Klein
shuttered their retail shop after they were accused of "sexual orientation"discrimination for
declining to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex union ceremony. the Kleins were subjected to Mafia-style tactics by gay rights activists who not only organized a media-driven boycott of their business, but a secondary boycott of their supplier and vendors.
The Masterpiece Cakes ruling comes on the heels of the final resolution of a closely watched case out of New Mexico involving a Christian photographer named Elaine Huguenin
. She was found guilty of "sexual orientation" discrimination by New Mexico human rights officials when she declined to photograph a same-sex union ceremony.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently refused to hear an appeal of a decision by the New Mexico Supreme Court upholding the ruling against her. The state supreme court decision declared that Huguenin is required to sacrifice her religious beliefs in order to participate in the marketplace. One of the judges wrote that abandonment of one's religious convictions is "the price of citizenship" for business owners in America.
In yet another high-profile case out of the state of Washington, florist Baronelle Stutzman
is being prosecuted by the Attorney General of that state because she declined to provide flowers for a same-sex
ceremony. This despite the fact that she has employed homosexuals in her business and had provided flowers to the homosexual customer in question for nearly a decade.
The mounting legal attacks against Christian business owners is the result of a highly successful campaign by homosexual activists to revise state "public accommodations" laws to include "sexual orientation" as a protected class.
The Missouri Senate passed such a law in the 2013 legislative session, but fortunately the Missouri House refused to take it up. This session Republican senators held a mysterious and unusual caucus on the second last day of session to discuss whether they would again take up the
issue in the final hours of session. As it turned out, there were enough members of the Republican caucus who objected to the idea that any plans to pursue the proposal were scrapped.
Please be praying for champions of the faith like Jack, Melissa, Elaine, and Baronelle--people who have the rare courage in today's culture to stand on God's Word regardless of the personal price they have to pay.
You can send a note of encouragement to Jack Phillips at this email: