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Denver bakery wins right to refuse making anti-gay cake

By
Danielle Haynes

DENVER, April 6 (UPI) -- A Colorado baker was within her right to refuse to decorate cakes with anti-gay messages and images, the state's Civil Rights Division ruled.

There's been much talk recently of state laws granting businesses the right to refuse to serve customers based on religious grounds. But in Colorado, William Jack was upset when a bakery refused to serve him for trying to use a sugary creation to discriminate against the LGBT community.

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In March 2014, Jack asked Denver's Azucar Bakery to create two cakes for him shaped like Bibles. On the cakes, he wanted anti-gay Biblical verses and the image of two groomsmen holding hands crossed out.

Marjorie Silva, the owner of Azucar Bakery, refused, saying her bakery doesn't discriminate against groups of people. She offered instead to make the Bible cakes and give him icing to decorate them however he wanted.

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Jack took his case to the Colorado Civil Rights Division, which ruled last week that Silva didn't discriminate against him when she refused to make the anti-gay cakes. The agency said Silva refused to serve Jack not based on his religion but because he requested "derogatory language and imagery."

Silva said "in the same manner [she] would not accept [an order from] anyone wanting to make a discriminatory cake against Christians, [she] will not make one that discriminates against gays," the ruling read. "The evidence demonstrates that [Silva] would deny such requests to any customer, regardless of creed."

"We were not only morally right but also legally right," Silva told KMGH-TV, Denver.

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Jack said he intends to appeal the decision.

"I find it offensive that the Colorado Civil Rights Division considers the baker's claims that Bible verses were discriminatory as the reason for denying my claim," Jack told the station.  "I find it offensive that the legal director of the Colorado division of the ACLU called the Bible verses on the cakes obscenities.  Especially at this time on the church calendar -- Holy Week -- I find it offensive that the Bible is censored from the public arena."

The Anti-Defamation League, in a statement provided to the Denver Post, applauded the ruling.

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"ADL supports our state's anti-discrimination laws that promote an inclusive and respectful Colorado," the group said.

The ruling comes in the same week that Indiana and Arkansas came under fire for passing religious freedom laws that would have allowed business to refuse service to the LGBT community based on religion. Legislatures in both states toned down the language of their respective laws in an effort to prevent discrimination, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana and Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas said.

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