Gay men sue over wedding cake snub
A gay couple is pursuing a discrimination complaint against a US bakery, saying the business refused them a wedding cake to honour their ceremony and alleging that the owners have a history of turning away same-sex couples.
The case highlights a growing tension between gay rights advocates and supporters of religious freedom as more states move to legalise same-sex marriage and civil unions. Nationwide, 12 states now allow gay marriage.
David Mullins and Charlie Craig filed the discrimination complaint against Jack Phillips after visiting his Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado last year.
The couple says Mr Phillips told them he would not make a cake for them when he found out it was to celebrate their wedding in Colorado after they got married in Massachusetts.
Mr Phillips has said making a wedding cake for gay couples would violate his Christian religious beliefs, according to the complaint.
The Colorado Attorney General's office filed a formal complaint last week after the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) initiated the process last year.
"We are all entitled to our religious beliefs and we fight for that," said Mark Silverstein, the legal director of the ACLU in Colorado. "But someone's personal religious beliefs don't justify breaking the law by discriminating against others in the public sphere."
The ACLU said it found out about two other gay couples who had been refused a wedding cake from the same shop.
The lawyer for Mr Phillips said she sees it differently. "At its heart, this is a case about conscience," said Nicolle Martin. "I just don't think that we should heighten one person's beliefs over and above another person's beliefs," she added.
The complaint seeks to force the bakery to "cease and desist" the practice of refusing wedding cakes for gay couples, and to tell the public that their business is open to everyone.