Gay cake row in US leads to legal action just like Ashers

Cases similar to the Ashers one in Ulster have been making the headlines in the US
Cases similar to the Ashers one in Ulster have been making the headlines in the US

A judge in Colorado has found a Christian baker to have breached the law by refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding.

In a case widely reported across the US, Jack Phillips, 58, was prosecuted for running his business in line with his evangelical Protestant faith.

Thursday’s New York Times picked up the story and reported that the Masterpiece Cakeshop also refuses to make Halloween treats and erotic-themed pastries as they “offend his sense of morality”.

He told reporters he declines cake orders for same-sex weddings because he believes Christianity teaches that homosexuality is wrong. The State Civil Rights Commission in Colorado ordered Mr Phillips to retrain all of his employees, including his 87-year-old mother. In response, he is declining all requests for wedding cakes while he appeals the ruling.

He said: “I do like doing the wedding cakes, but I don’t like having the government tell me which ones I can make and which ones I can’t make, and trying to control that part of my life.”

The paper also reports that in New York a judge fined a couple $13,000 for declining to rent their upstate farmhouse, which they often rent out for heterosexual weddings, for the wedding of two women. The couple paid the fine but, similar to the action taken by Mr Phillips, have stopped taking reservations for weddings while awaiting the outcome of an appeal.

Commenting on the Colorado cake case, an attorney for US lobby group Alliance Defending Freedom, Nicolle Martin, said: “They are turning people of faith into religious refugees...is this the society that we want to live in – where people of faith are driven out of business?”

Reporting that similar cases are also ending up in court, the paper found that “vendors thus far have accumulated a losing streak”.

One example mentioned is from Kentucky where a court ruled against a print shop owner who refused to make T-shirts for a gay pride group.