Gay Marriage

Man Files Religious Discrimination Complaint Over Bakery's Refusal to Make Anti-Gay Cake

Does it matter, under the law, whether the baker agrees with the sentiment?


Who wants the first slice?
Credit: MotleyOklahoman / photo on flickr

It was only a matter of time before it actually happened. In Colorado, where Masterpiece Cakeshop has been cited by the state for refusing to make wedding cakes for gay couples, a man has filed a complaint with the state that a different bakery has refused to make him a cake, violating public accommodation laws. In this case, though, the man claims religious discrimination for a bakery's refusal to make a cake that's not quite so love-affirming.

Out Front Colorado spoke with Marjorie Silva, the owner of Azucar Bakery in Denver. Here's what happened:

The gentleman took a seat at one of the tables as the team served him free samples and began building his order. He swiped through pics of Bible cakes on the iPad they presented him, and it appeared he'd found the perfect fit. It was only when he produced a leaf of paper from his pocket — careful not to release it to any of the attending employees, but simply brandishing it for them to read before returning it to his pocket — that the order "got a little uncomfortable," says Lindsay.

"He wanted us to write God hates …" she trails. "Just really radical stuff against gays."

"He wouldn't allow me to make a copy of the message, but it was really hateful," Marjorie adds. "I remember the words detestable, disgrace, homosexuality, and sinners."

The bakery says they didn't entirely refuse him service. They would make a cake for him and provide him a decorating bag with icing to decorate the cake himself. It wouldn't look as good obviously, but as Silva points out, it wouldn't require her to include a "hateful message crafted by her own hands."

Not good enough for this gentleman, who apparently kept coming back and asking over and over, which was a dumb thing of him to do. He eventually left for good, and then filed a complaint with Colorado's Department of Regulatory Agencies, which is now investigating Azucar Bakery just as they did Masterpiece Cakeshop.

A look at Colorado's laws shows that their public accommodation rules don't directly include "religion" as a protected class but do include "creed." Silva said she wasn't sure whether her decision was the right one legally. I guess we'll find out, won't we?

Running through the story is a near-hilarious sort of disbelief that somebody would ask for an anti-gay cake and confusion at the idea that they should have to make it. One interesting detail about the bakery's interaction with this gentleman that's worthy of note:

[Silva] says that one of her guests misheard the confrontation and thought Marjorie was refusing to bake a gay wedding cake. Exhausted, she reassured the patron that he was mistaken and that she would never do such a thing.

Why, it's almost as though consumers might treat a bakery's decision whether to make a cake for a gay wedding by itself as an indication of some sort of political position of support or lack of support for gay marriage. Like the bakery was taking a stand, or expressing an opinion.

And none of this would be happening, of course, if we all agreed that nobody has a legal right to cake.