Saturday, December 07, 2013

Colorado Civil Rights Commission Initial Decision Holds Bakery Violated Law In Refusing Cake For Same-Sex Wedding

In Craig v. Masterpiece Cakeshop, Inc., (CO Civ. Rts. Commn., Dec. 6, 2013), an Administrative Law Judge for the Colorado Civil Rights Commission held that a bakery and its owner illegally discriminated against a same-sex couple on the basis of sexual orientation in refusing to sell them a wedding cake. The bakery owner claimed that creating cakes for same-sex weddings violates his religious beliefs. The ALJ held that the refusal violated the public accommodation anti-discrimination ban in C.R.S. Sec. 24-34-601(2), rejecting the argument that the refusal was not "because of" the couple's sexual orientation.

The ALJ also rejected respondents' claims that requiring them to prepare the cake would violate their free speech and free exercise rights protected by the U.S. and Colorado constitutions.  The ALJ held that this would not amount to compelled speech, saying that the bakery owner "was not asked to apply any message or symbol to the cake, or construct the cake in any fashion that could be reasonably understood as advocating same-sex marriage." Also any impact on free speech "is 'plainly incidental' to the government's right to regulate objectionable conduct."  The ALJ rejected respondents' free exercise claim, finding that the anti-discrimination law is neutral and of general applicability.

The ALJ's initial decision may be appealed to the full Civil Rights Commission (Commn. Rule 10.13), and from their to the state court of appeals (C.R.S. Sec. 24-24-307). The ACLU issued a press release announcing the decision. Fox News and AP report on the decision. [Thanks to Alliance Alert for the lead.]


vidroopianman said...

The ACLU is a useless organization. It claims to champion religious rights but if religious freedom "disparages" someone else's freedom it will fight against you. This lawsuit against this bakery doesn't help the LGBT cause. All it does is show that to end the harassment and bullying that the LGBT community claims they receive they are willing to harass and bully to further their cause. It's sad that standing up for one's beliefs in this country isn't tolerated any more. And I'm so sick of being called a back-water bigot just because I choose to believe in God. To me it boils down to the fact that the LGBT community claim to WANT equality but then act is if they are more special than everyone else and demand to be treated differently, i.e. "coming outs," and pride parades. Mind your own business and stop trying to send people through the ringer just to prove your point. The only point you're proving is that your a back-water bully trying to get your way.

GrandLordGeek said...

So the government can force me to make a cake for anyone then? What if I just don't want to bake a cake? If I had a bunch of other orders, and didn't want to take on any more, could I refuse the order then? It's only wrong if I don't want to bake a cake for this particular person? This is tyranny. I can bake a cake for whomever I want.