swimbud saidAs terrible as the shop's behavior was, I feel that as a private business they should have the right to dig their own grave. Not all "freedom" is good, but a loss of freedom (on the cake shop's part) is still a violation of rights in my own opinion.
If this happened to me, of course I'd be outraged, and I'd be telling everyone what a bigot he was. He might even eventually go out of business for building such a reputation...but by forcing someone not to discriminate, you might get him to sell a few more cakes, but you cannot change his mind. He doesn't deserve to make cakes for gay couples!
But they are NOT a private business, even if they are privately owned. They are licensed by the State of Colorado as a place of public accommodation.
Do they have the right to violate health codes? Refuse to be inspected for cleanliness? How about following building fire codes? Decline to provide handicapped access? Can they refuse to pay their annual business license fee?
They're not making cakes for their friends out of their home kitchen, they chose to open for public business, and so therefore voluntarily agreed to comply with all the laws and regulations governing a business serving the public.
Now if they refuse to let a gay enter their private home that's perfectly legal. But not their publicly licensed & regulated business.
And if you don't understand that distinction, and why failure to prosecute this owner would lead to legal segregation and widespread discrimination rearing it's ugly head in the US once again, then you must have skipped all your US history and political science classes when you were in school.