(DENVER POST) — A gay couple is pursuing a discrimination complaint against a Colorado bakery, saying the business refused them a wedding cake to honor their Massachusetts ceremony, and alleging that the owners have a history of turning away same-sex couples.
As more states move to legalize same-sex marriage and civil unions, the case highlights a growing tension between gay rights advocates and supporters of religious freedom.
“Religious freedom is a fundamental right in America and it’s something that we champion at the ACLU,” said Mark Silverstein, the legal director of the group in Colorado, which filed the complaint on behalf of the couple. “We are all entitled to our religious beliefs and we fight for that. But someone’s personal religious beliefs don’t justify breaking the law by discriminating against others in the public sphere.”
The attorney for Jack Phillips, one of the owners of Masterpiece Cakeshop, sees it differently.
“We don’t believe that this is a case about commerce. At its heart, this is a case about conscience,” said Nicolle Martin. She said the matter is important because it will serve as an example for future cases across the country as more gay couples gain legal recognitions for their relationships.