Colorado | Discrimination | Gay Marriage | News

Cake Shop Will Cater to Dog Marriages But Not Gay Marriages, Gets Sued: VIDEO


Last July, Towleroad reported on the Masterpiece Cake Shop in Lakewood, Colorado, whose owner vowed to close the bakery before being forced to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple.

PhillipThe bakery is now the subject of a formal complaint by the Colorado Attorney General's Office.

The ACLU reports:

Stephanie Schmalz and her partner, Jeanine, wanted to order some cupcakes to celebrate their commitment ceremony. They contacted Masterpiece Cake Shop in Lakewood, Colorado, but the store refused to take their order, informing the couple that they have a strict policy against selling cakes for same-sex weddings and ceremonies.

Then Stephanie tried a little experiment. She called the bakery and told the owner, Jack Phillips, that she was planning to host a wedding celebration for two dogs. She told him that the dog wedding cake would need to feed 20 people and should be decorated with the names "Roscoe" and "Buffy." Without hesitation, Phillips quoted her a price and asked how soon she needed it.

When another couple tried to place an order with Phillips, he told them he would not provide a cake for same-sex weddings, the same way he would not provide cakes for pedophiles.

Watch KDVR's report on the bakery, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. It would have been much better if she used two same sex dog names to see what he would do. My guess is that he serves only heterosexual dogs too.

    Posted by: BearlyBob | Jun 7, 2013 10:20:24 AM

  2. FYI - Before some of you go off on a tangent, discrimination based on sexual orientation is illegal per Colorado code:

    Google Colorado Code 24-34-601. Discrimination in places of public accommodation.

    Posted by: BearlyBob | Jun 7, 2013 10:29:14 AM

  3. Translation: I'm not bigoted against LGBT, I just don't serve them.

    Posted by: Gus | Jun 7, 2013 10:29:50 AM

  4. I guess that discriminating against gay people is the real slippery slope that will lead to animal marriages.

    Posted by: Steve | Jun 7, 2013 10:36:43 AM

  5. He's been backed into a corner now, and if he backs down, he'll lose face.

    On the other hand, it would be interesting to see how much $$$ his bigotry is worth to him.

    (Question? As an opinion, if he did close his business, could he still be sued for previous discrimination?)

    Posted by: James in Toronto | Jun 7, 2013 10:36:52 AM

  6. Why not just go somewhere else? I wouldn't even want someone making my cake who I didn't think approved of my marriage. Who knows what they might do to it that I would never even know, like spit in the batter or something. I would rather know and move my business elsewhere than have someone forced to do it. We can't force everyone in the world to like us. I am sure there are plenty of bakeries that would make the cake. Just give them your money and business instead of giving it to the haters. Think about it.

    Posted by: Doug | Jun 7, 2013 10:45:20 AM

  7. just like it's been pointed out before, "christians" are very selective of which "sinners" they will do business with, and which ones not so much.

    divorce? sure! fraud? no problem! rapist? we won't ask if you won't tell!

    Posted by: northalabama | Jun 7, 2013 10:52:00 AM

  8. Doug, if we let a bakery get away with discriminating against lesbian and gay folks, what is to stop a doctor's office, a pharmacy, a supermarket, or any other business from doing so?

    For LGBT people who live in big cities, sure, it isn't a problem, they can go elsewhere. But LGBT people who live in small towns with one store, one mechanic, one doctor's office- that ends up being a huge problem.

    Does this answer your question? Or do you think that maybe you deserve being treated as a second class citizen by a business that operates using the roads and utilities you paid for with your tax dollars, flagrantly violating anti-discrimination laws?

    Posted by: homer | Jun 7, 2013 10:57:44 AM

  9. NorthAlabama, if you're really from the South, then you'll know that what you stated isn't really true. The type of Christians you speak of are driven by 'what would people think': so if a divorced couple are shunned by the community, then the Christian will also shun the divorced couple. If the gay couple are regarded as 'one of our own', then the Christian will make an exception for them. It's always less about the actual 'sin' than about 'are you one of us?'

    Posted by: Zeta | Jun 7, 2013 10:57:47 AM

  10. Doug, "just go somwhere else" isn't always that easy or practical. And if every bakery decide to discriminate then that wouldn't even be an option.

    Posted by: e.c. | Jun 7, 2013 10:58:59 AM

  11. Doug, I don't think they will go anywhere else for the same reason they chose the shop in the first place: to prove a point. Unlike Blacks in the pre-Civil Rights era, (white) gays and lesbians are not restricted to what type of eateries or bakeries they can go to. There are no laws which state 'Straights Only' and 'Gays Only' with placards on the door and you have to live with it.

    Whether white activists see the difference or not, the difference is there.

    So anyway, what happens after they win (and they will win)?

    Posted by: Zeta | Jun 7, 2013 11:03:16 AM

  12. I agree with you, BearlyBob. I don't know why they used a 'straight' animal couple instead of a gay/lesbian animal couple, either. It makes for some unfortunate implications about how the two lesbians view marriage, after all.

    Posted by: Zeta | Jun 7, 2013 11:04:36 AM

  13. @ J I T

    In short, yes. If found guilty, an order will be issued instructing him to cease discriminatory practices. Obviously, if he closes the business, that will be moot.

    In addition, it's also a misdemeanor with the following penalties:

    (1) Any person who violates section 24-34-601 shall be fined not less than fifty dollars nor more than five hundred dollars for each violation. A person aggrieved by the violation of section 24-34-601 shall bring an action in any court of competent jurisdiction in the county where the violation occurred. Upon finding a violation, the court shall order the defendant to pay the fine to the aggrieved party.

    (2) For each violation of section 24-34-601, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not less than ten dollars nor more than three hundred dollars, or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

    So in other words, he can be directed to pay $50 - $500 to the people he discriminated against and he can be punished by a fine of $10 - $300 and/or a jail sentence of up to one year.

    The way that I'm reading this is first the Colorado Civil Rights Commission has to determine if anything illegal happened. They issue the cease and desist order. Then, the aggrieved party has to file in civil court to cause the defendant to pay the civil relief.

    Posted by: BearlyBob | Jun 7, 2013 11:09:49 AM

  14. The "Why not go somewhere else?" argument misses the point of public accommodations laws. (Why couldn't black people drink from the separate water fountains? They had water, after all.)

    Public accommodations laws, like the one in CO, are in place so that anyone who enters a public business has the reasonable expectation that they will be treated with respect and not singled out for discrimination because they are gay/black/Christian/old etc. (It doesn't mean you can't go elsewhere if you sense the owners are a-holes.) This bakery is in clear violation of the law because they refused to sell a product to a customer because they don't like the group that customer belongs to. It would be no different if a bakery owner refused to sell a product to a mixed-race couple or a evangelical couple when they would have no problem selling it to atheists or white couples.

    The only thing the dog cake points out is that the owner's so-called deep religious beliefs are nothing more than--surprise!--common, irrational bigotry.

    Posted by: Ernie | Jun 7, 2013 11:13:36 AM

  15. LOL @ Ernie


    Posted by: BearlyBob | Jun 7, 2013 11:18:34 AM

  16. So let me get this straight (...)
    Wedding cakes for dogs: yes, no problem.
    Wedding cakes for gay people: no way.

    Ergo, gay people < dogs
    And, gay people = pedophiles

    Can't you feel his Christian love?

    Posted by: Peter M. | Jun 7, 2013 11:22:19 AM

  17. So... why aren't we just allowing the Free Market and Freedom of Speech do the work? Why do we always have to sue people? Just curious.

    Posted by: yuninv | Jun 7, 2013 11:24:32 AM

  18. Of course dog on dog marriage is O.K. Dog on cat marriage though, no way.

    And what would a cake for a pedophile look like? "Congratulations on the new job as playground monitor?"

    Posted by: Acronym Jim | Jun 7, 2013 11:28:19 AM

  19. @yuninv: The owners have the Freedom of Speech. They're free to say they don't like gay people; they're not free to use their personal prejudices as an excuse to refuse service in violation of state law. For those who believe public accommodation laws shouldn't exist and that any business should be able to hang out a NO ... ALLOWED sign, you'll have to fight the law. Meanwhile, why have non-discrimination laws if businesses are allowed to ignore them any time they want?

    Posted by: Ernie | Jun 7, 2013 11:31:24 AM

  20. @zeta, my point is - if the "christians" don't have a policy posted in the front of the stores of which "sinners" are desirable as customers, and then fail to perform background checks on every customer that places an order to see if they match the policy, they are involved in selective discrimination. and, if that's the case, they should be shut down.

    for some reason, i keep having this vision of "straights only" signs posted in the fronts of businesses, in the name of religious freedom, of course.

    Posted by: northalabama | Jun 7, 2013 11:35:42 AM

  21. Thanks for clarifying. My bad. The cake shop definitely needs to be sued as well as any other businesses that discriminate.

    Posted by: yuninv | Jun 7, 2013 11:37:48 AM

  22. Personally, I hope the cake shop owner is sued into homelessness. I'm really tired of the bigots and refuse to let it slide any more.

    Posted by: Bob R | Jun 7, 2013 11:43:03 AM

  23. What's wrong with these cake shop owners? What kind of people choose that profession?

    Posted by: Matt26 | Jun 7, 2013 11:45:46 AM

  24. @Bob R

    That would be great, wouldn't it? CO law allows $50 - $500 per occurrence as civil relief to the customer. The fine is $10 - $300 and/or up to a year in jail. Cakeboy won't be homeless, but at least it's something.

    Posted by: BearlyBob | Jun 7, 2013 11:49:21 AM

  25. @Doug, here is a less jackass response.

    You aren't wrong, it is better to go to another bakery, but we need people making a stink so that you know not to go to that bakery. I used to like the gay yellow pages that came out in Seattle when I was in college, I would always try to go to a gay friendly business if I could.

    Posted by: Fenrox | Jun 7, 2013 11:49:33 AM

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