The Colorado cakeshop owner who refused to bake a cake for a gay couple’s wedding also turned down a little girl’s request for a rainbow birthday cake.
A mother in Littleton, Color., who asked to remain anonymous in the report, alleges that Jack Phillips, proprietor of Masterpiece Cakeshop, turned her daughter away in February. The girl asked for a “17-layer birthday cake with rainbow frosting,” the woman told Denver7 back in October.
She claims the design had nothing to do with her daughter’s sexuality.
“She’s not gay or anything, but she is an artist and she’s really good at what she does and she uses every color and she wanted a rainbow birthday cake and he wouldn’t do it,” the mother alleged in an interview.
“He took this whole thing to a personal level,” she added.
Phillips offered an odd explanation as to why his business was unable to fulfill the child’s request. He told the local news station that the Lakewood-based bakery doesn’t “have a problem putting rainbows on the outside of a cake,” but it “will not make a rainbow-themed” design. He didn’t clarify the reasoning behind that distinction.
The baker is currently at the center of a Supreme Court case over whether he has the right to refuse service if doing so would conflict with his “sincerely held religious beliefs.”
The nation’s highest bench heard oral arguments last week in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Human Rights Commission, in which Charlie Craig and David Mullins say Phillips denied them a wedding cake. After being turned away in July 2012, the couple filed a complaint with the state’s human rights commission and won. The owner was subsequently forced to undergo sensitivity training.
Phillips claims that verdict conflicts with his Constitutional rights.
Although the Supreme Court was sympathetic to the Christian’s plight, the mother’s story contradicts many of the arguments put forward in his defense.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, a moderate conservative who is often the swing vote on LGBTQ rights cases, disagreed with the notion that Phillips’ denial of service had anything to do with the couple’s sexuality. He referred to claims of anti-gay discrimination as “too facile,” pejoratively dismissing the argument as an “identity thing.”
“It’s not their identity,” said Kennedy, who penned the majority ruling in the court’s decisions on same-sex marriage and state sodomy laws. “It’s what they’re doing.”
The request for a rainbow-themed cake, however, had nothing to do with the girl’s behavior, and there’s no passage in the Christian Bible that explicitly condemns rainbows. Phillips’ denial of service earlier this year was arguably about his own choices, not his customers’.
“A rainbow is for everybody,” her mother said. “It doesn’t matter who it is.”
Kennedy, who penned the Supreme Court’s landmark rulings legalizing same-sex marriage and striking down state sodomy laws, is again expected to be the deciding vote. Last week’s deliberations showed the bench to be divided down the middle by partisan lines, a 4-4 split without Kennedy’s input.
Photo: Jessica P./Sketchport