Religious freedom, gay rights debated at State Capitol

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DENVER -- People are rallied Monday at the State Capitol against two bills they said would give businesses a “right to discriminate” if it offends their religious beliefs.

One bill would protect artists from civil rights complaints if they refused to do something they disagreed with.

The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt, said he’s fighting for free speech and people like Marjorie Silva, owner of Azucar Bakery.

She’s facing a discrimination complaint because last year she refused to decorate a cake for a local pastor she said demeaned gays.

“The customer wanted us to draw two males holding hands with a big “X” on them,” Silva said. “We did feel that it was not right for us to write hateful words or pictures against human beings.”

But gay rights groups believe the bill is unnecessary and would allow discrimination against all kids of people in Colorado.

Klingenschmitt said opponents are misinterpreting the issues.

The other bill in question says “No state action may burden a person’s exercise of religion.”

Gay rights organizations and other supporters held a rally against the bills at midday Monday.

A committee heard both bills Monday afternoon.



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