Expansion of religious rights in discrimination cases fail

Colorado Democrats rejected two proposals to shield religious organizations and individuals from discrimination complaints when gays are denied service.

One bill prohibited penalties that would force someone to violate their beliefs, such as an order to make cakes for a gay wedding. Another bill barred government officials from constraining the exercise of religion.

A Democrat-led committee voted against the two GOP proposals Monday. Opponents of the bills argued they opened the door to widespread discrimination. But supporters said they were necessary to protect people’s religious beliefs.

The measures were considered as a suburban Denver baker fights a discrimination complaint for declining to make a cake for a gay wedding. A Washington state florist, meanwhile, is contesting a judge’s ruling against her for refusing flowers for a same-sex wedding.

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