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ADF: Don’t force cake artist who supports same-sex marriage to speak against her beliefs

Customer filed complaint with Colorado Civil Rights Commission after bakery declined to write objectionable words, symbols on cake
Justice Department Right to Support Artist’s First Amendment Freedoms

DENVER – Alliance Defending Freedom expressed support Friday for a Denver bakery that reportedly declined to draw two males holding hands with an “X” over them and related words and symbols on a cake in the shape of a Bible. A customer who made the request filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission after Azucar Bakery’s pastry chef Lindsay Jones and owner Marjorie Silva declined his request.

ADF attorneys represent a different cake artist, Jack Phillips, in the case Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Craig at the Colorado Court of Appeals. After he declined to use his artistic abilities to create a cake for a same-sex ceremony, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission fined him and issued a re-education mandate that he and his employees must follow.

“Every American is guaranteed the freedom to live, work, think, and speak without fear of being punished for exercising these very basic freedoms,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “ADF vigorously opposes tribunals like the Colorado Civil Rights Commission punishing citizens for doing nothing more than exercising their constitutionally protected rights. Ms. Silva should not be forced to use her artistic abilities to further a message with which she sincerely disagrees, and neither should Jack Phillips.”

According to a media report, the customer recently asked Jones and Silva to bake a Bible-shaped cake with “really radical stuff” inscribed on it.

“I told him that I would bake the cake in the shape of a Bible. Then I told him I’d sell him a [decorating] bag with the right tip and the right icing so he could write those things himself,” Silva said. The article explains that Silva understood “that naturally the cake wouldn’t have her handwriting expertise, but she would be devastated to release a cake via the bakery with such a hateful message fashioned by her own hands.”

The customer left and later filed his complaint with the commission. Silva says she has responded to the complaint and must file one more letter with the commission. After that, the commission will reportedly make a decision within 30 days.

“It was clearly Ms. Silva’s right to decline to promote a message with which she so clearly disagreed,” Tedesco added. “The Civil Rights Commission already punished Jack Phillips for acting consistently with his conscience, so it will be interesting to see if the commission disregards the fundamental freedoms of all Coloradans or plays favorites instead.”

  • Pronunciation guide: Tedesco (Tuh-DESS’-koh)

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.


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Jeremy Tedesco
Jeremy Tedesco
Senior Counsel, Senior Vice President of Corporate Engagement
Jeremy Tedesco serves as senior counsel and senior vice president of communications for Alliance Defending Freedom.