DENVER, December 11, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Denver cake baker who was ordered by a judge last week to service same-sex “weddings” or face punishing fines has told Fox News that he would rather shut down his business and serve jail time than violate his beliefs and play a role in facilitating gay nuptials.
In an interview with Fox’s Elisabeth Hasselbeck, cake maker Jack Phillips said, “You know, [I’ll serve jail time if] that’s what it takes. It’s not like I have chosen this team or that team. This is who I am, it’s what I believe.”
“Does becoming a business owner mean you have to check your convictions at the door?” Hasselbeck asked. “Why is it important for you to have a business and not have to abandon personal religious beliefs just to make a buck?”
“I don't plan on giving up my religious beliefs ... I don't feel that I should participate in their wedding, and when I do a cake, I feel like I'm participating in the ceremony or the event or the celebration that the cake is for,” Phillips said. “My priorities would be towards my faith rather than towards my safety or security.”
Phillips, who owns Masterpiece Cakeshop in the Denver suburb of Lakewood, has been under fire since July 2012, when David Mullins and Charlie Craig filed a discrimination complaint after Phillips refused to sell them a wedding cake.
While Colorado’s constitution states, “Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as marriage in this state,” Mullins and Craig had nonetheless planned to “marry” in Massachusetts, where a court order made same-sex “marriage” legal in 2004. Afterward, they planned to hold a reception in Colorado. When they visited Phillips’ cake shop to ask him to provide a wedding cake for the event, he declined, explaining that his religious beliefs prevented him from participating in same-sex “weddings.” Phillips said he would be happy to sell them brownies or other treats to serve at the reception, just not a wedding cake.
The two men reacted with angry disbelief. “It was the most awkward, surreal, very brief encounter," Mullins told Denver Westword at the time. “We got up to leave, and to be totally honest, I said, ‘F--- you and your homophobic cake shop.’ And I may or may not have flipped him off.”
After the two men departed Phillips’s business, they filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission with the help of the ACLU, arguing that Phillips violated the state’s anti-discrimination laws, which were expanded in 2008 to include sexual preference and gender identity.
Phillips and his lawyers have argued that the religious nature of his objection to gay “marriage” warrants an exception to the anti-discrimination law, which also names religion among its protected classes.
But on December 7, Judge Robert Spencer ruled in the gay couple’s favor, equating Phillips’s deeply held religious beliefs against gay “marriage” with racial bias. To allow Phillips to refuse to serve gay “weddings,” the judge argued, “would allow a business that served all races to nonetheless refuse to serve an interracial couple because of the business owner's bias against interracial marriage.”
Wrote Spencer, “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.”
The judge also rejected Phillips’s argument that he was simply obeying the state constitution by refusing to recognize a same-sex relationship as “marriage.”
“Although [Phillips and his lawyers] are correct that Colorado does not recognize same-sex marriage,” wrote Spencer, “that fact does not excuse discrimination based upon sexual orientation.”
Phillips’s attorney, Nicolle Martin, told the Associated Press that Spencer’s decision was “reprehensible” and “antithetical to everything America stands for.”
“[Jack Phillips] can't violate his conscience in order to collect a paycheck,” Martin 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.”
Martin says her client has not ruled out an appeal.