The man behind the Lakewood Colorado bakery scandal has finally broken his silence. Jack Phillips, the owner of Lakewood’s Masterpiece Cakeshop, told Denver local CBS affiliate KCNC-TV that he has no problem with lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) customers or staff members – but nonetheless does not support gay marriage.
“If it came to that point, we would close down the bakery before we would compromise our beliefs, so that may be what it comes to,” Phillips said. “We’ll see.”
As posted in our blog previously, Phillips’ choices to deny service to a same-sex couple and his subsequent statements have been called into question.
The man himself seems to be a walking contradiction; claiming to harbor no ill will towards the gay community, but yet refusing a request for a wedding cake to mark the occasion because it is against his “beliefs.” Can you really have one without the other?
Phillips has faced a firestorm of media attention since the story broke about his refusal. It has even spawned the launch of a Facebook page for those choosing to boycott the bakery. And just this past weekend, the bakery was picketed by protesters for their stance on gays.
“What’s next? Will gays be denied the right to eat cake from this bakery,” one protester asked. “This kind of homophobia and bigotry must stop!”
“Today they are denying a same-sex couple service,” said another protester. “What’s next, denial because they are ethnic or a mixed race couple? There has to be some understanding, and we have to start somewhere.”
Phillips denied another couple the same request earlier this year, but seems to feel that his cakes are suitable for consumption by gays for other occasions.
“If gays come in and want to order birthday cakes or any cakes for any occasion, graduations, or whatever, I have no prejudice against that whatsoever. It’s just the wedding cake – not the people, not their lifestyle.”
Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig, the couple at the center of this controversy, were “stunned and humiliated” by their exchange with Phillips. The couple, who plan to wed this fall in Massachusetts this fall, asked the bakery for a cake to cap off a planned reception in Denver later this year.
“It was the most awkward, surreal, very brief encounter,” Mullins, 28, told Denver Westword. “We got up to leave, and to be totally honest, I said, ‘F**k you and your homophobic cake shop.’ And I may or may not have flipped him off.”
From a P.R. perspective, the true test of Masterpiece Cakeshop’s longevity is yet to come. The boycott Facebook page has more than 500 supporters and is growing daily. And there is another protest planned for this weekend, with several local organizations pledging their support. Shop owner Phillips may have to enact the option for closure sooner than he had anticipated.
What are your thoughts on this continuing story? Offer your comments below…