Colorado officials have rejected discrimination claims by a man who was refused service at three bakeries because he requested cakes that included Bible verses calling homosexuality a sin.
Critics of the rulings by the Colorado Civil Rights Division (CCRD) argue that they are in sharp contrast to a CCRD decision in 2014 that a Christian baker cannot refuse to make a cake for a gay wedding ceremony.
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Bill Jack, one of the founders of Worldview Academy which conducts Bible-based summer camps, had approached three Denver-area bakeries in March 2014 and asked for two cakes, both in the shape of an open Bible. He presented a drawing showing what he wanted on each: “God hates sin – Psalm 45:7” and “Homosexuality is a detestable sin – Leviticus 18:22” on one cake; “God loves sinners” and “While we were yet sinners Christ died for us – Romans 5:8” on the other. According to two TV news reports, Jack also asked that the first cake include an image of two groomsmen holding hands with a red “X” over them.
All three businesses – Azucar Bakery, Le Sensual Bakery and Gateaux Pastries – refused to make the cakes. Jack filed three claims of discrimination with the Colorado civil rights agency.
CCRD officials released their decisions April 3 along with the findings of their investigations to Jack and the bakeries. In all three cases, the CCRD sided with the bakeries, declaring they had the right to refuse Jack service and did not discriminate against his creed, Christianity. The decisions said Jack’s request included “derogatory language and imagery” and argued all three bakeries would deny such requests to any person, regardless of creed.
Supporters of the bakeries are claiming victory, but Jack said he acted intentionally to shed light on the inequitable application of Colorado’s anti-discrimination laws.
“I believe that these bakers should have the right, and do have the right, to refuse me service,” Jack told WORLD News Service. The law in question, Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act, makes it unlawful for any place of public accommodation to refuse service to someone based on disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin or ancestry.
“My goal is to expose the hypocrisy of the application of the statute,” Jack said. “This is a violation of the 14th Amendment. States are to apply their laws equally to all citizens. … As far as I can see, it is only being applied against Christian business owners.”
Jack said any decision by the CCRD would be unjust – either by denying him equal footing with customers requesting gay wedding cakes or by unconstitutionally forcing the three bakeries to violate their conscience. The latter would have put the bakers in the same position as Jack Phillips, the Denver-area baker and Christian charged in 2014 by the CCRD with discrimination against a gay couple for whom he declined to bake a wedding cake.
Jack, who lives in Castle Rock, Colo., released a statement that he intends to file an appeal through the CCRD, which is a part of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Adapted by Baptist Press staff from a WORLD News Service April 10 report used by permission.)