DENVER (AP) — The growing conflict between religious groups and gay-rights advocates over punishments in discrimination cases played out Monday in Colorado, with a Democrat-led committing rejecting Republican proposals aimed at protecting individuals and organizations from complaints.
But what some conservatives view as trying to preserve religious freedom, Democrats and gay-rights advocates see as potentially sanctioning discrimination.
One proposal would have prohibited penalties in discrimination cases if the punishment — such as an order to serve gay couples — violated the beliefs of the accused. Another measure, written broadly, barred government officials from constraining the exercise of religion.
Jon Monteith, spokesman for the gay rights group One Colorado, said that while religious rights are important, “that doesn’t allow people to pick and choose the laws they want to follow.”
The bills heard Monday afternoon come as two Colorado bakers face discrimination complaints, but from two different perspectives.
One suburban Denver baker is embroiled in a legal fight over a judge’s order that he serve gay couples after he refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding. The baker, Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, has argued that providing that service would violate his Christian beliefs.
The meeting at the Capitol on Monday (credit: CBS)
In another case, a Colorado man filed complaints against three bakeries that refused to make a Bible-themed cake with religious scripture. One of the bakers, Marjorie Silva, owner of Denver’s Azucar Bakery, said she refused to make the cake because she considered the Bible scripture and images the man wanted to be hateful toward gays. Those cases are being reviewed by Colorado’s Civil Rights Division.
The man who filed the complaints against the three bakers, Bill Jack, of Castle Rock, said in written testimony read to lawmakers that Colorado’s current anti-discrimination law “abridges the right of free speech and artistic expression of all bakers, florists, photographers and other business owners who are compelled to participate in activities that their creed instructs them violates their sincerely held beliefs and consciences.”
Similar clashes have arisen in other states. A Washington state florist, for example, is … – Click Here To Visit Article Source