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Colorado baker wants U.S. Supreme Court to hear same-sex couple case

By Allen Cone
Colorado baker wants U.S. Supreme Court to hear same-sex couple case
A Human Rights Campaign flag waves in front of the Supreme Court building after the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of gay marriage across the U.S. at the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. on June 26, 2015. Baker owner Jack Phillips is asking the high court to hear his case in refusing to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, citing his religious beliefs. File Photo by Gabriella Demczuk/UPI | License Photo

DENVER, July 25 (UPI) -- A Colorado baker wants the U.S. Supreme Court to hear his case on his refusal to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, citing his religious beliefs.

Last month, the Colorado State Court decided not to hear the case of the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop.

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"No one -- not Jack or anyone else -- should be forced by the government to further a message that they cannot in good conscience promote," said attorney Jeremy Tedesco in a statement released by the nonprofit legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom. "And that's what this case is about."

The petition to the Supreme Court was filed Friday.

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The issues date back to 2012 when Charlie Craig and David Mullins requested a custom wedding cake for a celebration in Colorado after they planned to marry in Massachusetts.

But Phillips, who opened his bakery in Lakewood in 1993, rejected their request.

In December 2013, administrative law Judge Robert N. Spencer said Phillips' rights to free speech and freedom of religion were not violated by offering the same services to same-sex couples as heterosexual couples.

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Last August, an appeals court upheld that ruling, saying the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act prohibits him from discriminating against customers based on sexual orientation.

Mark Silverstein, the legal director for American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, told The Denver Post his organization will file a response to the petition.

"As we've argued and the courts have consistently and correctly ruled in this case, everyone has a right to their religious beliefs," Silverstein said. "But business owners cannot rely on those beliefs as an excuse to discriminate against prospective customers."

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In an appeal for donations, Marissa Mayer wrote for Alliance Defending Freedom that the bakery owner's rights are not being protected.

"Activists have argued over and over that same-sex marriage does not affect anyone except the two people getting married," he wrote. "I think Jack Phillips would disagree -- don't you?"

Phillips, in a guest column in The Denver Post, on Friday explained his views:

"I'm rejecting an idea, not a person," he wrote. "There is no policy at my shop, real or imagined, that says, 'We don't sell cakes to homosexuals.' I'll sell anyone any cake I've got. But I won't design a cake that promotes something that conflicts with the Bible's teachings. And that rule applies to far more than cakes celebrating same-sex marriages. I also won't use my talents to celebrate Halloween, anti-American or anti-family themes, atheism, racism or indecency."

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