Many readers will remember the 2012 case in which Colorado bakery owner Jack Phillips found himself in hot water after he refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. The couple, David Mullins and Charlie Craig, having being denied service, immediately ran to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission and filed a complaint against Phillips.

In May of 2015, the Commission ruled that Phillips, who owns Masterpiece Cakeshop, could not deny service to a customer on the basis of sexual orientation.  A few months later, a Colorado Appeals Court backed that decision saying that Phillips had violated the Colorado Anti- Discrimination Act.

Earlier this week, the Colorado Supreme Court refused to hear Phillips’ final appeal, siding with the lower court.

Denver 7 News spoke with the couple who filed the complaint:

“We are positively thrilled at the Colorado Supreme Courts decision not to hear this case,” said David Mullins, who was denied service at the bakery for a same-sex wedding cake. “It sends a message that the tide of society is moving in the direction of acceptance of LGBT rights, and this is one small brick in that wall.”

Ria Tabacco Mar, the ACLU attorney who argued the case, said in a statement:

“The highest court in Colorado today affirmed that no one should be turned away from a public-facing business because of who they are or who they love.

We all have a right to our personal beliefs, but we do not have a right to impose those beliefs on others and discriminate against them.”

The statement comes as quite a shock considering that “imposing” beliefs on others is exactly what has been done to Mr. Phillips. After the Appeals Court sided with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission’s ruling against Phillips, he received a deluge of hate calls and death threats in response to his stance.

He was ordered by the court to change his business practices, retrain his employees and report back quarterly to ensure that he had learned his lesson. Phillips was so distraught by the order that he gave up selling wedding cakes altogether, a decision that cost his bakery almost 40% of its yearly revenue.

A seldom reported side of the story is how Mr. Phillips handled the refusal. He says that he didn’t throw the couple out of the store or berate them.  He simply explained why he could not make them a cake for a wedding, but would be happy to provide them with one for any other occasion. He explained that specifically making a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony would be in violation of his Christian beliefs. That answer was not good enough — not for the couple, and apparently not for the courts.

The story of Masterpiece Cakeshop is not an isolated one. Similar cases have popped up all over the country in recent years and the trend seems to be increasing steadily.

While speaking to Denver 7 about the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision, Phillips issued a warning to readers:

“If you think this just affects me, it doesnt. It affects everybody in the United States,” said Phillips. “They take away this [right], they can take away all of them. They take it away from me, they can take it away from anybody. A government that would do that is a fearsome thing.”

Phillips’ legal counsel has said that they will continue to explore all options to preserve Phillips’ right to religious freedom.