Appeals Court Rules Colorado Bakery Cannot Deny Services to Same-Sex Couples

August 13, 2015 • 12:24 pm

Dan Rafter | dan(at) |

 Appeals Court Rules Colorado Bakery Cannot Deny Services to Same-Sex Couples

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled this morning that a Denver-area bakery, Masterpiece Cakeshop, cannot deny services to same-sex couples. The ruling reaffirms previous decisions from the Colorado Civil Rights Commission and an administrative judge, which both found that Masterpiece violated the state’s Anti-Discrimination Act by refusing to provide a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, David Mullins and Charlie Craig. The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit on behalf of Mullins and Craig in 2013.

“This is a tremendous victory for fairness and equality, but it’s also a ruling which reflects American values,” said Matt McTighe, Freedom for All Americans campaign manager. “In large majorities, both Americans and small business owners believe it’s simply wrong to deny anyone services based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. That’s why we’ll continue working to ensure that every LGBT American – no matter where they live – is protected from discrimination. No one should have to live with the fear that they’ll lose their job or home, or be denied basic services, simply because they’re LGBT.”

A July 2015 poll from Small Business Majority, American Unity Fund and the Center for American Progress found that a supermajority of business owners – 66 percent – believed business owners should not be able to deny goods or services to LGBT people based on the owner’s religious beliefs. That poll also found that 80 percent of small business owners support comprehensive federal nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people.

It’s not just small business owners – a June 2015 Public Religion Research Institute survey found that nearly 70 percent of Americans – including 65 percent of Republicans – support comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for LGBT Americans.

In today’s decision, Judge Daniel M. Taubman noted: “…Masterpiece remains free to continue espousing its religious beliefs, including its opposition to same-sex marriage. However, if it wishes to operate as a public accommodation and conduct business within the state of Colorado, CADA [Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act] prohibits it from picking and choosing customers based on their sexual orientation.”

“LGBT people face discrimination across this country every single day,” added McTighe. “That’s why we must double down on efforts to pass nondiscrimination protections at the municipal and state level, so that LGBT people who do experience discrimination can take advantage of every possible form of legal recourse. And by passing comprehensive nondiscrimination measures all across the country, we make a powerful case for federal legislation.”

Freedom for All Americans is the bipartisan campaign dedicated to ensuring every gay and transgender American is fully protected from discrimination under the law, no matter where they live. Our work brings together Republicans and Democrats, businesses big and small, people of faith, and allies from all walks of life to make the case for comprehensive nondiscrimination protections that ensure everyone is treated fairly and equally.


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