In a case similar to another wedding cake situation in Oregon, a baker in Colorado who turned a same-sex couple away has been ordered by a judge to serve all couples, straight or gay, or face fines. The judge said that by refusing to accept gay customers, the owner of the bakery was discriminating against them.
In the order from the administrative law judge he writes that the business discriminated against the two men” because of their sexual orientation by refusing to sell them a wedding cake for their same-sex marriage,” reports the Associated Press.
If the bakery wants to be in the wedding cake business, it must “cease and desist from discriminating” against gay couples. Thus far the judge hasn’t levied any fines against the bakery but it’ll face fees if it keeps turning away gay couples.
The American Civil Liberties Union had filed a complaint against shop owner with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission last year on behalf of the two men who had been married in Massachusetts and wanted to have a party in Colorado to celebrate their nuptials. When the owner found out the cake was intended for a gay wedding, the complaint says he turned them away.
The lawyer for the cake shop owner said that this order puts the man in a tough situation.
“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. It is antithetical to everything America stands for.”
The Civil Rights Commission will probably certify the judge’s order next week. In the meantime, the man can appeal the judge’s order.
The couple is “ecstatic,” says one of the men of the judge’s decision, and hopes that it’ll stop similar situations from happening again in the state.
“To a certain extent, though, I don’t think that this is necessarily a surprise,” he said. “We thought it was pretty clear cut that he had discriminated against us.”
Judge orders Colorado cake-maker to serve gay couples [Associated Press]