Colorado Judge Asked to Rule Quickly in Case of Bakery that Discriminated Against Gay Couple

Masterpiece Cakeshop Refused to Serve Couple Wishing to Celebrate Their Marriage

December 4, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: 212-549-2666, media@aclu.org

DENVER – An administrative judge heard arguments today in support of a swift decision in a case involving a Colorado bakery that has a stated policy of discriminating against gay and lesbian customers.

Last June, the Colorado Attorney General filed a formal complaint against Masterpiece Cakeshop of Lakewood after an investigation by the state Civil Rights Division concluded that the business had discriminated against David Mullins and Charlie Craig by refusing to sell the couple a cake for their wedding reception.

"The state was right in determining that Masterpiece Cakeshop willfully broke the law by refusing to serve David and Charlie," said Sara R. Neel, staff attorney with the ACLU of Colorado. "These laws exist to ensure that everyone in our state is treated with equal dignity."

Masterpiece Cakeshop has openly admitted to their discriminatory policy of refusing to sell cakes for the wedding receptions or commitment ceremonies of same-sex couples, and that several other couples have been turned away in the past. The shop’s owner claims that his religious opposition to marriage for same-sex couples should exempt the business from Colorado’s anti-discrimination laws. 

"Religious freedom is an important American value, but no one’s religion gives a business the right to refuse service to customers," said Amanda C. Goad, staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project. "Under longstanding Colorado law, a store owner who serves the public cannot turn customers away just because of who they are."

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