The owner of a Colorado-based bakery that denied a wedding cake to an engaged gay couple says he'd sooner shutter his business than "compromise" his beliefs.
Jack Phillips, the owner of Lakewood's Masterpiece Cakeshop, told local CBS affilate 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."
Phillips, who said he also rejected another same-sex couple's request for a wedding cake earlier this year, continued, "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, who are set to tie the knot in Provincetown, Mass. this fall but are planning a Denver-based reception for later in the year, said they were stunned and humiliated by their experience with Phillips.
"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."
Local LGBT rights advocates and allies reportedly protested the bakery over the weekend, while a second protest is in the works for the coming weekend, according to Denver Business Journal. Meanwhile, a Facebook group called "Boycott Masterpiece Bakeshop" currently has just under 500 members.
The case mirrors that of an Iowa-based lesbian couple, who were similarly denied a wedding cake by the owner of a local bakery who cited her Christian faith as incentive.
"I didn't do the cake because of my convictions for their lifestyle," Victoria Childress, who operates her business from home, told KCCI-TV in November 2011. "It is my right, and it's not to discriminate against them. It's not so much to do with them, it's to do with me and my walk with God and what I will answer [to] Him for."