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.]