America is no longer the Land of the Free.
A judge is compelling a privately-owned business in Denver to serve a homosexual couple or face fines, even though doing so violates the business owner’s Christian religious beliefs.
Ivan Morena reports for Seattle PI, Dec 6, 2013, that Colorado Office of Administrative Courts’ administrative law judge Robert N. Spencer said Masterpiece Cakeshop in suburban Denver had discriminated against a gay couple “because of their sexual orientation by refusing to sell them a wedding cake for their same-sex marriage.”
Spencer’s order says the cake-maker must “cease and desist from discriminating” against gay couples. The cakeshop will face penalties if it continues to turn away gay couples who want to buy cakes.
In July 2012, Charlie Craig, 33, and David Mullins, 29, got married in Massachusetts and wanted a wedding cake for their celebration in Colorado. When Masterpiece Cakeshop’s owner Jack Phillips found out the cake was to celebrate a gay wedding, he turned the couple away, according to a complaint filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the two homosexuals with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.
ACLU attorney Amanda Goad said no one is asking Phillips to change his religious beliefs, ”But treating gay people differently because of who they are is discrimination, plain and simple.”
Nicolle Martin, an attorney for Masterpiece Cakeshop, said the judge’s order puts Phillips in an impossible position of going against his Christian faith: “He can’t violate his conscience in order to collect a paycheck. 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. That is a reprehensible choice. It is antithetical to everything America stands for.”
The Civil Rights Commission is expected to certify the judge’s order next week. Phillips can appeal the judge’s order, and Martin said they’re considering their next steps.
Colorado has a constitutional ban against gay marriage but allows civil unions. The civil union law, which passed earlier this year, does not provide religious protections for businesses.
Judge Spencer said in his written order, “At first blush, 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.”
In other words, it’s all about “feelings.” The “hurt feelings” of Craig and Mullins are more important than a privately-owned business’ freedom of choice as to whom the business would serve.
Mullins said he and Craig are “ecstatic” and hope the “decision will help ensure that no one else will experience this kind of discrimination again in Colorado.”
A similar case is pending in Washington state, where a florist is accused of refusing service for a same-sex wedding. In New Mexico, the state Supreme Court ruled in August that an Albuquerque business was wrong to decline to photograph a same-sex couple’s commitment ceremony.
Robert Spencer is an administrative law judge in the State of Colorado and, as such, he is a public servant. I spent a good half hour scouring the net for information and an image of Spencer, to no avail. The only information I found was on the “Judges” page of the Colorado Office of Administrative Courts, which simply lists Robert Spencer as “Judge.”
Nothing on how old he is; what education and legal training he has; how he got appointed judge.
This is unacceptable!
Here’s contact info. for the Colorado Office of Administrative Courts:
633 17th Street, Suite 1300
Denver, CO 80202
Phone: (303) 866-2000
e-mail address: OAC-GJT@state.co.us
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See also DCG’s “Oregon bakery that denied service to same-sex couple closes.” Sept. 3, 2013.
Dr. Eowyn is the Editor of Fellowship of the Minds.