Baker refused to write anti-gay words on cake

DENVER - Azucar Bakery on South Broadway is under investigation for religious discrimination by the Civil Rights division of the Department of Regulatory Agencies stemming from a March 2014 incident.

WHAT HAPPENED

A customer came into the store and requested a couple of cakes in the shape of Bibles, according to the owner Marjorie Silva.

Silva says the man pulled out a piece of paper with hateful phrases like "God hates gays" and requested her to write them on his cakes. He wouldn't let employees make a copy of the paper and would not read the words out loud, Silva claims. The bakery owner also says the customer wanted an image of two men holding hands with an "X" on top.

"After I read it, I was like 'No way,'" Silva said. "'We're not doing this. This is just very discriminatory and hateful.'"

Silva then received a complaint from DORA for religious discrimination.

"It's unfair that he's accusing me of discriminating when I think he was the one that is discriminating," Silva said.

WHY THE STATE GETS INVOLVED

DORA's consumer protection role allows the ability for consumers to file complaints against businesses for alleged discrimination. The Civil Rights division reviews and investigates the claims, and if the agency feels discriminatory acts were committed, the case moves forward to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

THE OTHER SIDE

9NEWS has learned Bill Jack, from Castle Rock, was the customer accusing Azucar Bakery of discrimination.

Jack is a founder of Worldview Academy, which is a "non-denominational organization dedicated to helping Christians think and live in accord with a Biblical worldview," according to the organization's website.

Jack's biography on the website says he is currently an educator who used to teach in public schools in the past, adding that he has appeared on numerous national radio and TV programs.

9NEWS asked why he requested a cake at Azucar Bakery and what he asked to have written on it.

He declined to answer but gave 9NEWS this statement:

"I believe I was discriminated against by the bakery based on my creed. As a result, I filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights division. Out of respect for the process, I will wait for the director to release his findings before making further comments."

Nancy Leong, a University of Denver law professor, has been looking into this case and doesn't believe Silva violated any laws.

"This is not a situation where a business owner denied service to somebody," Leong said. "She offered to accommodate him to the extent that she could. In fact, requiring her to write that message would infringe on her own free speech rights."

WHAT'S NEXT

DORA will rule whether Jack was discriminated against, but a decision is not expected for at least a couple of months, since the agency requested an extension.

Based on the agency's findings, the case could reach the Civil Rights commission.

(KUSA-TV © 2015 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


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