DENVER - A state panel ordered a Colorado baker to stop discriminating against gay couples if he wants to continue to make wedding cakes as part of his business.
Colorado's Civil Rights Commission on Friday upheld a judge's ruling that baker Jack Phillips cannot refuse to make wedding cakes for same-sex couples. The panel says doing so violates state laws prohibiting businesses from discriminating against gay people.
Phillips is a devout Christian who says he will make other cakes for gay couples but not ones for weddings. He was sued by a gay couple after refusing to make a cake for their reception.
The couple, David Mullins and Charlie Craig, said they were "thrilled" at the ruling but would not seek to purchase a wedding cake from Phillips because the wedding has long since passed, saying they pursued the case to end discrimination for future customers.
"No one should ever have to walk into a store and wonder if they will be turned away just because of who they are," Mullins said.
Commissioners agreed, likening the decision to turn away the couple to refusing to serve people because of their ethnicity.
The commission also ordered Phillips' business, Masterpiece Cake Shop of Lakewood, Colo., to make quarterly reports for two years on any anti-discrimination training for staff and on any other gay couples turned away. Phillips can appeal the ruling to the state court of appeals, but his attorneys said Friday no decision has been made about whether to take that step.
Phillips says at the moment, his bakery has simply ceased making wedding cakes.
Asked whether he would continue to operate his business if he had to create wedding cakes for same-sex couples, Phillips said "I will stand by my convictions until somebody shuts me down."
(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)