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Jack Phillips
Associated Press/Photo by Brennan Linsley
Jack Phillips

What’s next for baker who refused to make cake for same-sex wedding

Q&A

Jack Phillips’ bakeshop in Lakewood, Colo., has become a frontline in the battle for religious liberty. Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, recently refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex wedding. The couple filed a complaint against the bakery, which has been in business for more than two decades. I spoke with Phillips and his attorney, Nicolle Martin of the Alliance Defending Freedom, in the dining area of Masterpiece Cakeshop in the Denver suburbs.

A couple of years ago in 2012, a situation happened here in your bakeshop. Would you describe what has happened since then? I had two guys come in that wanted me to make them a wedding cake. I declined to make a cake for a same-sex wedding. I informed them that I'd make all their other products, birthday cakes, shower cakes, cookies, and brownies, but that was a product that I didn't do. They left and sent out a message to all their Facebook friends or whatever, and soon phone calls started coming and emails and a lot of hate mail. Pretty vile phone calls … and then it just got pretty crazy after.

Talk to me about that very first interaction. I had two girls working for me, and it would have been their job to do that first. But they were both tied up, so I'm third in line. They indicated that they were both busy, and could I take care of that. I went over to the desk. The two guys introduced themselves. I introduced myself. They said what they were here for. I declined to make that, and they said, “What?” and I said, “I’ll make your other stuff,” and then they stomped out.

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Was this something that you had predicted might be a decision you would have to make in your future, or had you actually had other couples come in, in the past? Yes, we’ve run across this in the past, but I don’t make any judgment because two girls could come in, and they're just good friends and one of them is the bride, you know, and the other one is a friend. So I don’t determine that. But first thing they said was, “We’re here to get a wedding cake. It’s for our wedding.” They let me know it right off.

You and Nicole, with Alliance Defending Freedom, spoke, and things didn't go away. No, it did not. They proceeded and set a hearing date, determined that there was cause for a trial, and so then we had a trial.

You still have an opportunity to appeal, but there has been, more or less, a final adjudication, right? Yes, the judge’s ruling. He determined that I violated the public accommodations statute, and I guess that was sent back to the Civil Rights Commission for them to make a ruling. They finalized their ruling a couple weeks ago.

The consequences to you are that you have to file quarterly reports. Quarterly reports. I have to cease and desist my practices, change my policies, retrain my employees, and reports.

Are you going to do any of that? You know, I have to talk with my attorneys and see how that plays out.

I’ve heard from media reports that, since this situation has gone public, it has actually helped your business. Is that accurate? It is. A number of things have happened since then that have increased our business because of people hearing about it. A whole lot of local people didn’t know we were here, so they come by and order cakes. More than that, it is people from all over the place that will just come in and want to show their support and buy some cookies or brownies and say they’ve been here.  Yesterday, I had a family … on vacation from Michigan, and they didn’t want to go to the coast of Florida or something like that, but this year they wanted to go to Colorado. They went to the zoo, … Glenwood Springs, and Masterpiece Cakeshop. That was a destination.

Down in New Mexico, where a photographerfaced a similar trial, there have been nasty threats, letters, and voicemails. You said you got some of those in the beginning. In the case of the photographer down in New Mexico, it actually put them out of business. Clearly that’s not happening here, but is it a concern of yours that, maybe after the publicity has gone away and all of the well-wishers forget that you’re in the news, you won’t be able to bake wedding cakes anymore or you might be in violation of your order? It could be, but I’ve given that up to the Lord, also. If that’s what he wants to do here, it’s his business, and he already knows if I can win it or not, so just take it as it comes.

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