LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4)– The nation’s highest court will take up a Colorado case this fall. The Supreme Court will hear the case of a baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.
Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips was overcome with emotion when he learned the Supreme Court would take up his case.
“She called right after that and asked, ‘Did you hear?’ Yeah, and I can’t breathe,” Phillips told CBS4 Political Specialist Shaun Boyd.
The case of Masterpiece Cakeshop versus Colorado Civil Rights Commission began five years ago when Charlie Craig and Dave Mullins asked Phillips to make a cake for their wedding reception.
Phillips refused, saying his cakes are artistic expression and that creating a cake celebrating gay marriage violates his religious beliefs.
“I create canvas. I also create the paints and then I create the art,” said Phillips.
“American citizens should not be compelled to create expression or to say things that are deeply at odds with their beliefs,” said Phillips attorney Nicole Martin.
But the ACLU argues Colorado law bars any business, open to the public, from refusing service based on sexual orientation.
“Religious freedom does not give you the right to discriminate,” said ACLU spokesman Mark Silverstein.
The case will be decided by a Supreme Court that now includes Colorado Judge Neil Gorsuch. In previous rulings, Gorsuch has erred on the side of religious liberty.
But Craig and Mullins say they’re hopeful, “We strongly believe in the institution of the Supreme Court and we believe that they will treat this case with the same gravity that they treat all the cases.”
This is one of several similar cases across the country. If the court sides with Phillips, it not only means that bakers can refuse to make cakes for gay marriages, but florists and photographers, also considered artists, can refuse to provide wedding services.