Denver bakery investigated for refusing to write anti-gay messages on cake

22 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Baker faces complaint for refusing to write anti-gay message on Bible-shaped cake.

“I told him, ‘I’ll make you a cake any flavor and shape that you like and then I’ll give you the icing and you can write the message yourself,’” she told the Daily News.Marjorie Silva, owner of Azucar Bakery, was asked by a customer named Bill Jack in March of 2014 to bake cakes in the shapes of Bibles with phrases like “God hates gays” written on the cake, according to a USA Today report.DENVER — A dispute over a cake in Colorado raises a new question about gay rights and religious freedom: If bakers can be fined for refusing to serve married gay couples, can they also be punished for declining to make a cake with anti-gay statements? She said Jack left the store in a huff about the rebuffed fluff — and then filed a discrimination complaint in July with the civil rights division of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies.

Silva said she read the piece of paper with the directions that Jack had handed her and said she wouldn’t do it, calling it “discriminatory and hateful.” Jack told a local news station that he felt “discriminated against by the bakery based on my creed,” according to the report. He is a co-founder of a Texas-based group called Worldview Academy, which describes itself on its website as a “a nondenominational organization dedicated to helping Christians to think and to live in accord with a biblical worldview.” It is affiliated with more than a dozen Christian college nationwide. But now a separate case puts a twist in the debate over discrimination in public businesses, and it underscores the tensions that can arise when religious freedom intersects with a growing acceptance of gay couples. After revealing the confectionary controversy, Silva on Monday posted a picture on Azucar Bakery’s Facebook page of her holding a cake that says, “Stop the hate!!

Because Silva did not discriminate against an individual, but rather did not want to write a specific message that was contrary to her own beliefs, she is likely in the clear. It doesn’t matter if, you know, if you’re Catholic, or Jewish, or Christian, if I’m gay or not gay or whatever,” said Silva, 40, adding that she has made cakes regularly for all religious occasions. “We should all be loving each other. Out of respect for the process, I will wait for the director to release his findings before making further comments.” The case comes as Republicans in Colorado’s Legislature talk about changing the state law requiring that businesses serve gays in the wake of a series of incidents where religious business owners rejected orders to celebrate gay weddings.

Kevin Lundberg said the new case shows a “clash of values” and argued Colorado’s public accommodation law is not working. “The state shouldn’t come in and say to the individual businessman, ‘You must violate your religious — and I’ll say religious-slash-moral convictions. The department said it will make a decision within 30 days of the receipt of that letter. “The customer wanted us to draw two males holding hands with a big ‘X’ on them,” Silva said. “We never refuse service. The other baker, which we all know very well because of all the stories, clearly that was a violation of their religious convictions,” Lundberg said. Silva refused to put specific words on a cake while Jack Phillips, the baker who turned away the gay couple, refused to make any wedding cake for them in principle. “There’s no law that says that a cake-maker has to write obscenities in the cake just because the customer wants it,” said Mark Silverstein, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Colorado.

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