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Case of Denver cake baker before U.S. Supreme Court - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

Case of Denver cake baker before U.S. Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court will hear arguments in one of the biggest cases of its term: A battle that pits the right to free speech and religion against a right to be free from discrimination.

Justices will hear arguments from a Colorado Christian baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple in 2012. Lines started forming Monday for a seat inside the court.

The court ruled in 2015 that the Constitution protects same-sex marriage nationwide. Now it will decide just how far that protection goes, reports CBS News correspondent Jan Crawford.

Jack Phillips had been making wedding cakes for nearly 20 years when Dave Mullins, Charlie Craig, and his mother, Debbie Munn, walked into Masterpiece Cakeshop outside Denver.

"He asked us who the cake was for, and when we said it was for us, he said he would not make a cake for a same-sex wedding," Mullins said. 

Mullins and Craig were getting married in Massachusetts while planning a celebration back home in Colorado. 

"We went in so happy and left broken," Munn said.

"I was embarrassed that my mom had to see me go through that. And you know, I have to be honest, I started to break down and I cried," Craig said.

"I tried to respectfully apologize that I couldn't create this thing," Phillips said.

Phillips, who grew up drawing and painting, said his cakes are personal artistic expressions.

"I serve everybody who comes into my shop…So in this case I would gladly sell you anything in my shop but this is just an event that I can't create a cake for," Phillips said.

But to Mullins and Craig, it was discrimination. They filed a complaint against Phillips and won.

"What we went through was humiliating and painful and degrading and we didn't want another loving couple to have to go through that," Mullins said.

But for Phillips the ordeal was also painful.

"Phone calls were coming, harassing, swearing at you, to where my wife was afraid to come into the shop at points. There were tears, it was like – 'What's going on? What do we do?'" Phillips said, choking up.

Phillips stopped making wedding cakes so he wouldn't be forced to violate his beliefs.

"And what if the Supreme Court rules against you?" Crawford asked him.

"If we got to close our business in order to stand for our faith then that's what we'll do," Phillips said.

Phillips' attorney argues that the court's decision could impact all sorts of creative professionals, forcing them to produce work that violates their beliefs. But Mullins and Craig argue it's a simple issue of discrimination.

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