Gay couple sued bakery in Denver, Colorado after being refused service due to their sexual orientation
Lower courts ruled that Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Denver, Colorado violated Colorado’s public accommodation law. The law states that business owners may not refuse service to any individual based on race, marital status or sexual orientation.
David Mullins and Charlie Craig attempted to order a wedding cake from Masterpiece Cakeshop in July 2012 for their wedding reception, which was to take place in Colorado. As same-sex marriage was not yet legal in Colorado, the couple intended to marry in Massachusetts.
Phillips, the owner, suggested Mullins and Craig search for another bakery to accommodate them as his religious beliefs prohibited him from serving them.
Craig and Mullins sued Phillips, and their complaint of discrimination was recognized by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which acknowledged Phillips refusal to serve the couple was a violation of state law.
Courts recognizing same-sex marriage rights
Many such lawsuits exist and have been filed on behalf of florists, calligraphers, photographers and other business owners who claim their religious beliefs prevent them from providing service to same-sex couples seeking to get married.
Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Washington was found guilty of violating a state civil rights law that prohibits discrimination of business owners to individuals on the basis of sexual orientation.
Stutzman claimed the law requiring her to serve same-sex couples impinged on her right to free speech, but the court ruled that the law did not.
Justices have also reversed the Arkansas Supreme Court’s decision not to allow same sex couples to list their names on the birth certificate of their children.
The court stated that same-sex couples must have the right to the “full constellation of benefits” of marriage.