Long before the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in the United States, a somewhat surprising group of people became the most formidable legal opponents of gay marriage: cake bakers. Along with photographers, florists, and other vendors who typically provide services for weddings, a handful of bakers across the country claimed they shouldn’t have to serve gay ceremonies; doing so, they said, would violate their religious beliefs.
In the half decade or so since these claims started coming up, the bakers have mostly lost, and on Thursday, that losing streak continued. The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled that the owners of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, violated the state’s public-accommodations law when its owner, Jack Phillips, refused to make a cake for Charlie Craig and David Mullins, a gay couple who wanted to marry in 2012. “Phillips believes that decorating cakes is a form of art, that he can honor God through his artistic talents, and that he would displease God by creating cakes for same-sex marriages,” the court wrote in its decision. Even so, it found, a lower court had the right to issue a cease-and-desist order against Masterpiece: Having to bake a cake for a gay wedding doesn’t place an undue burden on Philips’s religious exercise, nor is it a violation of his right to free speech. It's possible that Masterpiece will appeal the case to the Colorado Supreme Court. In a statement, the group that’s representing him, the Alliance Defending Freedom, said that it is discussing “further legal options.”