A Christian baker in Colorado, who was found guilty of discriminating against a gay couple for refusing to sell them a cake for their wedding reception, said his defence of religious freedom has surprisingly found support from some members of the LGBTQ community.
Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, said there were "quite a few" gays and lesbians who gave him their support and encouragement,
"Yeah, quite a few," he told The Daily Signal in a recent interview. "The other day a guy from Daytona Beach called and left a message. He said he's gay and he wanted to offer his support, and gave me his phone number to call him back."
"So that's one, but there's dozens or hundreds of gays who say they think this is just not right [and is] politically motivated mostly," Phillips said.
He quoted them as telling him, "You have the right to turn us down and these people are making us all look like we're terrorists. ... But we're not, we just want to live our lives."
Last Aug. 13, the Colorado Court of Appeals upheld a 2014 decision finding Phillips guilty of violating the state's Anti-Discrimination Act, which prohibits businesses from refusing service based on race, sex, national origin or sexual orientation.
In 2012, David Mulins and Charlie Craig, together with Craig's mother, went to Masterpiece Cakeshop to order a wedding cake. Phillips told them that he could not make the cake because of his religious beliefs.
After the decision came out, Phillips stopped making wedding cakes altogether.
"And the judge ruled that even though I welcomed them and told them I would sell them any other product, that because I turned down this one, I had violated the [anti-] discrimination law. And that I didn't sell it to them because they were homosexuals rather than because the event, participating in that, violated my faith," Phillips said.
He said before he stopped making wedding cakes, his bakery would make about 250 wedding cakes a year.
After he stopped making them, the bakery lost about 40 percent of its income.
He said it's important for him to fight for his religious freedom to show that "I'm being obedient to Christ."
"He's given me this business and if He were here, He wouldn't make the cake. If He were my employee, I wouldn't force Him to make the cake and participate in it because it doesn't honour God. The Bible calls it a sin," he said.
Phillips said he doesn't hate gays.
"No. They don't even know me. You don't get into the birthday business and the party business if you're a hater, if you don't like people. I love people. They're all welcome to come in. There's just certain events, certain cakes that I don't make. That was one of them," he said.