DENVER — The man who filed a discrimination complaint against a Denver baker after she refused to make him a cake with an anti-gay cake message is a Christian educator who lives in Castle Rock, FOX31 Denver has learned.
Bill Jack was not home when we attempted to contact him on Monday, but his wife confirmed that he had indeed filed a complaint with the Civil Rights division of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) last year against Azcuar Bakery, which is located at 1886 South Broadway.
His wife also provided us with the following statement from Jack:
“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.”
Jack was away on business Tuesday, according to his wife, and that business involved Worldview Academy, described on its website as a “non-denominational organization dedicated to helping Christians think and live in accord with a Biblical worldview.” Jack is listed as one of the academy’s founders.
The academy was founded in Tehuacana, Texas 19 years ago, according to its website, and now hosts camps in 19 different states.
In his biography on the academy’s website, Jack is described as “an educator with 10 years experience in public schools and 14 years with The Caleb Campaign, a creationist youth ministry.” He is also described as a father of three and credited with making “numerous national radio and television” appearances.
According to Azucar Bakery owner Marjorie Silva, Jack came into her shop in March of 2014, and asked her to make him a Bible-shaped cake. Silva said Jack also wanted her to inscribe what she described as an anti-gay message on one of the Bible pages.
“The customer wanted us to draw two males holding hands with a big ‘X’ on them,” Silva wrote in a letter to DORA, who had requested her side of the story after Jack filed the complaint. “We never refuse service. But we did feel it was not right for us to present hateful words or images about human beings.”
After seeing our story with Silva’s side of the incident, Colorado state legislator Gordon Klingenschmitt, a newly elected Republican lawmaker and often controversial public figure, reached out to FOX31 Denver wanting to meet Silva and to weigh in on the viability of the complaint filed against her.
In addition to being a state legislator, Klingenschmitt is also an ordained minister and former Navy chaplain who has made suggestions on multiple occasions that President Barack Obama may be possessed by demons. In this case, however, Klingenschmitt said he supports Silva’s right to “not print the Bible on her cakes.”
“I agree with her,” said Klingenschmitt. “I stand by what she’s doing here.”
Klingenschmitt agrees so strongly with Silva, in fact, that he is sponsoring legislation to protect her rights in the state’s current legislative session.
That said, Klingenschmitt was also quick to point out that he also sided with Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips in a similar 2012 incident that was settled in court last year. The only difference between the two cases was that Phillips refused to make a rainbow-layered cake for a Colorado gay couple’s wedding in Massachusetts, citing a religious objection to gay marriage.
In a decision that was eventually upheld by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a judge ruled that Phillips broke Colorado discrimination laws in issuing the refusal.
Klingenschmitt believes there is a issues with the those discrimination laws that is allowing the state’s government to interfere with the First Amendment rights of Colorado businesses.
“The government should not be able to compel bakers to print things that they disagree with,” Klingenschmitt said.
This is why, Klingenschmitt said, he is in the early drafting stages of a bill that he hopes will garner bipartisan support for its efforts to “repair an existing flaw in Colorado’s nondiscrimination statues.”
“These laws have no religious or free speech exemptions,” Klingenschmitt said. “So right now there’s a loophole that’s allowing these bakers to be brought up on charges of discrimination. I think the loophole ought to be fixed so that every baker, every artist, every person in Colorado is not compelled by the government to produced anything they personally disagree with.”