Is It Okay To Force A Baker To Sell Cakes In Violation Of His Religious Conscience?

If I knew you were coming, I’d’ve baked a cake.
Here’s the setup: a Colorado judge has ordered a Christian man and owner of a bakery that he must bake cakes for homosexual civil ceremonies (homosexual “marriage” is illegal in Colorado) or face fines.

This will please some of you, because you are in favor of so-called same-sex marriage and you feel that anybody who is against it deserves whatever he gets. But I imagine (or hoping) your support does not include the use of fallacious arguments. The question before us is, should a baker be allowed to refuse to bake cakes for those ceremonies which violate his religious practices?

According to the news report, an aggrieved pair denied a cake at a bakery filed a compliant with the government, part of which read. “Being denied service by Masterpiece Cakeshop was offensive and dehumanizing especially in the midst of arranging what should be a joyful family celebration. No one should fear being turned away from a public business because of who they are.”

It is irrational and childish to claim that being denied a slice of cake is “dehumanizing”. This is the complaint of a three-year-old forbidden to lick the icing bowl. If this part of the argument carries any weight with you, then you are lost.

How convincing is “No one should fear being turned away from a public business because of who they are”? Suppose a seven-year-old bellies up to the bar and asks for the shot of the water of life. Turning him away because of who he is would be wrong, if we accept this argument. What if a man ventures to a pharmacy and insists on being sold conception-prevention pills? Or what if a convicted serial child rapist insists on his “right” to wallow in those plastic balls at the local Chuck E Cheese? (And see this.) Clearly, we often and for good reason exclude people because of who they are. The question remains: does the baker have the right not to do business with those he does not wish to.

In steps the ACLU. They state, “While we all agree that religious freedom is important, no one’s religious beliefs make it acceptable to break the law by discriminating against prospective customers. No one is asking Masterpiece’s owners to change his beliefs, but treating gay people differently because of who they are is discrimination plain and simple.”

Whether or not the baker’s refusal is “breaking” the law is the matter before us, and recall same-sex “marriage” in Colorado is illegal. Discriminating against customers is what we have already decided is allowable in the right circumstances. The next statement is a pip: “No one is asking Masterpiece’s owners to change his beliefs…” But the ACLU is asking the baker to change his beliefs. The baker’s belief is that he should not serve cakes for services which violate his religious conscience. The ACLU insists the baker abandon this belief.

Next: “treating gay people differently because of who they are is discrimination plain and simple.” “Gay” people, or those who actual in a homosexual fashion, by their own admission, are different. And again, whether or not the baker can thus treat them differently than traditional, biological couples is the question before us. This argument assumes what it wishes to prove.

The final non sequitur came from the judge who ordered the baker to violate his religious beliefs. The news report summarizes it thusly:

Judge Spencer said Phillips did not demonstrate that his free speech rights had been violated and he said there’s no evidence that forcing him to make a cake for a same-sex ceremony would hurt his business.

“On the contrary, to the extent that the law prohibits Respondents’ (Phillips) from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, compliance with the law would likely increase their business by not alienating the gay community,” he wrote.

The judge, as many do, has confused morality with money and believes that more of the latter trumps any of the former. It is true, however, that if the baker sold cakes in opposition to his religious beliefs he would make more money. Perhaps he could charge thirty pieces of silver for each cake.

This argument is a non sequitur because the baker has already insisted that money is not his primary motivation: his religion is. It is obvious to everybody except the judge that the baker was willing to forgo extra money in order to protect his conscience. The judge—we are only surprised he is not from Chicago or Brooklyn—cannot differentiate the two concepts.

We’re left with nothing from this ruling, so we have to re-ask why does this couple’s “rights” trumps the baker’s Constitutionally guaranteed rights of practicing his religion? Should the baker be throw out of business or into jail for simply refusing to bake a cake?

Update Colorado baker stands by his beliefs, says he would go to jail to keep from making cake for same-sex wedding.

112 Comments

  1. The baker needs to think beyond the narrow question of whether the judge’s interpretation of the law trumps his constitutional right to follow his religious beliefs. He should bake a cake decorated with quotations that his customers find objectionable and hold to his right of free speech that the government is forbidden to censor. Like Solomon’s idea of splitting the baby in half, he resolves the debate by making everybody unhappy, which really is the fairest outcome in these battles of will.

  2. It’s a tough problem. Try substituting with various things (like blacks, Arabs, Poles, litterers, or serial rapists) for gay couple and see if you get the same answer every time. What the baker is doing is obvious discrimination but depending on what has been substituted might yield a different answer.

    Unfortunately, there are many conflicting laws in this country. Probably every country. That’s where the courts come in — to define boundaries.

  3. DAV,

    Suppose the baker, for whatever reason, hate even, decided no cakes for white men. Should he be tossed in jail for refusing to bake for these creatures?

    I say no. If you don’t like the baker, don’t go to him. And if other people still go to him, maybe because they too hate white men, then let them.

    Notice that this is the law attempting to say what a man must do, positively, and not what he is forbidden to do, negatively. It seems right that governments forbid murder, but coercing people into positive actions is (usually) wrong, unless the reason for those forcings is the survival of the people, like in when we forcibly draft men into service. It is very difficult (impossible I say) to claim that the union will dissolve unless this couple gets a slice of cake from this baker.

  4. Briggs,

    Should this also be applied to all businesses, say, car dealerships and grocers? The question is: where do we draw the line? As you point out, the law does trump religious objection at times. Incidentally, the baker is playing a bit loose with Christianity which also teaches love thy neighbor — sinner or not. Baking a cake for someone isn’t exactly actively supporting their life style.

  5. Exchange the “cake for homossexuals” for “cake for blacks”.

    See how bigoted it is?

    Yes, the man is a bigoted piece of something if he refuses to bake a cake because the couple is gay. We might disagree whether if the court has something to do with this or not. I’d prefer courts to stay out of these situations, but if it comes to fruition that all the bakers are just stubborn bigots, then I see no other way out.

    If however it could be avoided by going to the other baker store and pay them instead for the job, I’d prefer that solution. The free market is many bad things and many good things, but it’s pretty great in destroying bigotry. Once a particular baker refuses to make cakes for a certain group, it only flourishes his competition.

  6. “Yes, the man is a bigoted piece of something if he refuses to bake a cake because the couple is gay.” That’s not what is says. And, indeed, he offered to bake them any other kind of cake. He wouldn’t bake them a wedding cake.

    Also, “and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error” is Christianity too. As is, “beware how you condemn yourself by what you approve”.

  7. Patrick Madrid talked about this fiasco on his show a while back. His alternate example was a copy/print/lamination business asked to put out 5,000 copies of the most recent Nambla publication.

    Child sexual abuse is illegal, granted – though printing Nambla Bulletin is not. It’s as legal as SSM.

    Is it okay for you to refuse to make these copies? Why is this different?

  8. Rich,

    Those sound like they were dug up from Leviticus. An example perhaps of picking a choosing. Does Christianity also teach against the consumption of pork?

  9. Could the bakers make a really bad cake for the gay couple? Perhaps, by accident, forget to include sugar in the recipe.

  10. “Unfortunately, there are many conflicting laws in this country. Probably every country. That’s where the courts come in — to define boundaries.”

    Unfortunately, the courts don’t define boundaries, they reinterpret the law and the constitution with a bias to achieve power and regulate society.

  11. What it really comes down to and I think most of the above miss this entirely, possibly even Briggs, is the following. Do you believe in the private ownership of property and business or do you think that it is only rented from the state? If you believe in private ownership than you grant the right of the owner to run his business as he sees fit and to buy and sell property as needs or opportunity arises. On the other hand if you see it as rented from the government you will support an endless succession of interference which will only stop at economic collapse. Calling those you do not agree with “bigots” is a camouflage to hide the despotic nature of the latter position. The real question is not how many rights of others you are willing to sacrifice but how many of your own you are willing to let go, as these are the same rights. Does this not occur to anyone? At one time the state, in the form of a monarch, was expected to be subject to the same laws as others. Now the state not only makes new law, which is a relatively new concept, but exempts itself from their application.

  12. That discrimination concept ought to be extended to men buying “female products” for their wives, etc. Make the women buy their own tampons!

    Seriously, as free market economist Milton Friedman noted, ‘Isn’t the freedom to sin a fundamental freedom?’ or something like that (there’s a YouTube excerpt of a speech where he addresses this specific theme for a few minutes). So, any “Free-Marketer” (as opposed to Socialist or Communist) ought to be ecstatic about this and ought not support the baker simply on free market economic principles!

    But, moving on to morals & concluding with a quote from the current Pope:

    A baker making a cake for a ceremony s/he finds in conflict with her/his morals is NOT contributing to the ceremony as the ceremony is not dependent on the product being provided, or not. So, really, what personal morals is the baker really violating by providing the cake in this case?

    This baker example is just a variation on the puritanical theme that a person denied from the capacity of sinning (by imposition of various deprivations) is thus a better person. Which is absurd–a truly evil felon locked up in solitary confinement for decades & unable to commit pretty much any transgression is, by that philosophical standard, very holy. Or, as Jesus put it, one is guilty even if one’s thoughts are bad (Matthew 5:28).

    Jesus also said: “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” (Mark 12:17) Further, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves” (Romans 13:1)

    Also, the baker is passing judgment AND imposing in his way a punishment — that contradicts the ‘thou shalt not judge’ doctrine: “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.” (Luke 6:37) This, by the way, is something the Roman Catholic Church has referenced in regard to its “policy” on suicides — not ever knowing fully what possessed a person to take such an action, it neither endorses the behavior nor condemns it entirely, leaving it to God to sort out.

    So, for the religiously-minded, if the ruling authorities say a baker is to bake cakes for a gay wedding, AND, the Bible says the ruling authorities are instituted by God, AND, Jesus says one is NOT to judge, then what’s the problem — bake the damn cake.

    Also note, for those believing the Bible, the ONLY unforgivable sin is denial of the Holy Spirit (see Mark 3 & Matthew 12). For a baker to reject business from gays he is passing a judgment & executing a punishment, which is God’s reserved duty. Further, by doing so he is creating an environment that undermines, or even obstructs, any positive influence should the gay person(s) choose to seek the Lord. That, too, is contrary to Roman Catholic policy — as the current Pope as stated:

    “Who am I to judge a gay person of goodwill who seeks the Lord? You can’t marginalize these people.” Pope Francis, July 2013 (e.g. see: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/29/pope-francis-gays_n_3669635.html ; perhaps some will argue the Pope was only talking about gay priests that should be so accommodated and not gays in general?)

    P.S. What is nice about using the Bible is that it’s so easy to pick & choose passages to support a wide range of contradictory positions as desired to suit nearly any particular conclusion. In the above I’ve picked a few and wrapped it up with the Pope’s expression of official R. Cath. Church policy, so the above ought to be pretty well supported — bake the damn cake!!

  13. “Exchange the “cake for homossexuals” for “cake for blacks”. See how bigoted it is?”

    It is not bigoted. Try this one:

    A man takes photographs of seniors who are graduating high school or college. He is requested by a couple who want engagement photos. He denies them service because they are requesting photographs of an event that he does not deal with.

    We have the same situation in the cake situation. Even if it wasn’t a civil ceremony (and so, not a marriage ceremony, for which our baker bakes), the fact is that same-sex marriage is clearly a different event than Marriage – related to the term matrimony, which requires mother and father. Else, we would have no way to distinguish the two.

    Is the photographer a bigot for denying the couple who wants engagement photos? Substitute “photos for a black couple”. He must a racist!

  14. Unfortunately, the courts don’t define boundaries, they reinterpret the law and the constitution with a bias to achieve power and regulate society.

    The courts resolve conflicts between laws. That’s setting a boundary (if, perhaps, only in the given situation) regardless of the reasoning behind it.

    Scotian,

    You think that ownership of property conveys the right do any whimsical thing that might occur to the owner? Ownership implies no restrictions? How does restricting what can be done with property establish who owns it?

  15. DAV, what whimsical things did you have in mind? The only universally acknowledged restrictions involve the violation of the property rights of others which is not the case under discussion. Do you distrust others so much that you feel the need to control them? How much control of your own property are you comfortable in ceding? As to your last question, if you do not understand this it is beyond my ability to educate you beyond repeating what I have already said, which is that it is the very definition of ownership whereas restriction is the very definition of renting.

  16. Scotian,

    what whimsical things did you have in mind?

    Does it really matter? But, let me ask: do you own your arms or do you rent them from the state? Would restricting your use of them (say by engaging in the recent fun KO game) be proof that you only rent them?

    beyond my ability to educate you

    Perhaps you need to be educated yourself. In the very least how to educate.

  17. It wasn’t clear from the description if he was refusing service because they were homosexual. If they had come in asking for a birthday cake, what would he have said? Perhaps he only objects to the mockery of marriage and the celebration of sodomy?

    What if an adulterous couple had come in and wanted a cake to celebrate the first anniversary of their first motel night? Or a burglar wanted to celebrate the anniversary of his first break-in? (Granted, they would have to proclaim that that is what they were celebrating and might be reluctant to do so.)

    That is where the analogy to blacks fails (an analogy which is btw greatly resented in the black community, we are told). Sodomy is something you do. Being black is something you are. It is not a moral act like adultery, sodomy, or burglary, and it is the act one condemns, not the person – for whom hope of repentance is always held out. This is summed up in the motto: “Hate the sin, but love the sinner.”

  18. I guess the question is EXACTLY what is he objecting to? I can’t find the details. For instance, did they want him to stock and provide the little “couple” statue for the top of the cake with two men represented? Did they want a “gay” cake as opposed to a “marriage” cake (I have no idea what the difference might be) but it matters in the example posed by Josh. Often in cases like this we find out later what the actual details really are.

  19. I may have got this wrong so pardon me if I have.

    Christians are so called because they profess to follow the teaching and example of a man called Jesus who lived about 2 000 years ago who was given the title, ‘anointed one’ or ‘Christ’.

    OK so far?

    Jesus, the Christ, stood out because he was somewhat critical, inter alia, of the religious authorities and supposedly pious folk, calling them hypocrites… among other things.

    He upset them greatly, and indeed some of his followers, because he went out of his way to consort with all the religious and social outcasts: beggars, lepers, physically and mentally disabled, prostitutes, the hated tax collector.

    He said that all should be accepting of others for what they are, no matter what they are. One should not judge… judge not lest you be judged, or seek to correct people… don’t try and remove the speck from another’s eye until you have removed the beam from your own. And not to cast out people just because they are different.

    How am I doing so far?

    He was then, a role model for tolerance, acceptance and love of ‘thy neighbour’.

    So whatever conscience the cake-maker is following, it cannot by definition be a Christian one as per the teaching and example of J Christ Esq.

    If it is indeed a religious conscience at all, then I suppose that would be according to the example of the Pharisees.

    And Jesus did have some sharp words to say about those chaps, did he not?

  20. “He was then, a role model for tolerance, acceptance and love of ‘thy neighbour’ … If it is indeed a religious conscience at all, then I suppose that would be according to the example of the Pharisees. And Jesus did have some sharp words to say about those chaps, did he not?”

    Most Christians don’t think of him as a role model, but as a Savior. As a Savior, He has to have something to save people from. You didn’t write the word, but that thing people need a Savior for is “sin”. Dirty word. Few people use it today with its proper definition.

    Anyway, the fact is (unless I’ve missed it), Jesus didn’t ask his followers to embrace the lifestyles of the “outcasts”.

    “Hate the sin, love the sinner” has come up already. It is true and it answers the questions you should have asked but didn’t.

  21. Scotian: Well said.

    Ken: If I understand you correctly, if the government said you cannot practice religion, then God would want us to stop practicing religion because we are to do as the government says? God instituted a government that forbids us to preach? Also, the idea that we cannot “judge”–how does one preach morality and then not judge behaviour? You can’t. If you preach adultery is wrong, how do you not judge that the adulterer next door is wrong?

    YOS: “hate the sin, love the sinner” Loving the sinner does not mean supporting his sin. At least I’ve never heard it put that way.

    If the couple had come into buy a dozen donuts, the owner would have sold them the donuts. It’s the fact that the cake is for a specific purpose the owner finds morally wrong that he would not sell them the cake. He is not discriminating against the gays. He is refusing to support an activity his religion teaches him is wrong.

    At this point, it seems most readers believe the government owns your business and runs it as they please and it should be this way. So we are now advocating communism in the US, aren’t we?

    Maybe it’s bigotry, maybe it’s not, but you cannot force people to like each other. We have the totally insane notion that if we make a religious couple sell cake to a homosexual couple, that will make things better. NO–it just makes religious people angry, encourages them to close their business and to campaign even more against so-called gay marriage. We are fostering dissension, not acceptance. Yet our insane government seems very happy pitting people against each other. Integration did not solve the race problem–forcing people to sell to blacks made bigots angry and lead to blacks becoming permanent victims. How any of this could be considered enlightened or caring is beyond me. It’s controlling, short-sighted and tears society apart. If we really cared, we’d keep the government out of this and let people learn to get along or not. You can force people to comply or quit business, but it’s just bullying people into behaving as you demand. Why are we so happy the government is nothing but a bully?

  22. Sheri: YOS: “hate the sin, love the sinner” Loving the sinner does not mean supporting his sin. At least I’ve never heard it put that way.

    Well, yes. Hence, the first phrase in the motto. The two vices associated with this motto is to practice the first without the second, or to practice the second without the first.

  23. DAV,

    Now you are just being silly. Please re-read what I said more carefully. My teaching ability greatly improves when I’m paid for the service, but here I expect more from the reader.

  24. Scotion,

    Nice change of topic. Your usual style I might add. You of course are stymied by my questions but is this the best you can do?

  25. Does the prohibition against bigotry go both ways? If customers refuse to shop at a certain outlet because4 of the owner’s/manager’s political, social, religious, or economic views – and let’s remember product boycotts are a favourite tactic of the left – then are they not equally guilty of bigotry? Should people be *made* to buy Israeli oranges and shop for sweat-shop trainers at Walmart?

  26. Re: Ken on 10 December 2013 at 10:55 am said:

    “…making a cake for a ceremony s/he finds in conflict with her/his morals is NOT contributing to the ceremony as the ceremony is not dependent on the product being provided…”

    Ken,If baking a cake does “NOT contributing to the ceremony”, then, not baking a cake will in no way detract from the ceremony. By your own admission, no material harm was done by refusal to bake a cake.

    Re: John B,
    “He (Jesus) said that all should be accepting of others for what they are, no matter what they are”
    Reference please? But don’t bother, because it doesn’t exist.
    John, actually the “Jesus” you describe doesn’t exist, except in your imagination.

    Actually what Jesus did say was “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:32 (New English Translation)

    Jesus did tolerate “sinners”, Thank God, as every person on the planet except him, is one. Yet even Jesus was not tolerant of sinful lifestyles.
    To the woman caught in the act of adultery he said “…go and from now on do not sin any more!” John 8:11 (New English Translation)

    In regard to weddings celebrations, getting back on topic, Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, miraculously turned water into wine for a wedding in Canna of Galilee. However, he did not make water into wine for the “Tax collectors and sinner’s” he frequented with.
    Perhaps the Colorado judge would find Jesus guilty as well.

  27. I agree with the Judge’s ruling. The baker hung his shingle publicly, and invited the public to his shop for custom. This is covered under the law as public accommodation, and therefor he cannot, legally, refuse service to gays based on his religious beliefs. This is regardless of whether or not he was refusing due to the fact the customers were gay or to the use they would put his product to.

    Had the baker instead operated a referral only business, then his refusal, on whatever grounds, would be legal as he is not operating his business as a public accommodation.

    That said, legal judgments and moral judgments are rarely coincident, and there’s plenty of legitimate reason to disagree on other grounds.

  28. It’s not illegal in the United States to be a bigot. Happens all the time and may even include you – yes you – the people who are bigoted against the guy they think is bigoted because of his religion .

    The gov’t cannot outlaw bigotry and when you accept rulings like this in a vain attempt to do so, you’ve given up your own rights. This isn’t a question of someone’s interpretation of Biblical quotes. This is a question of freedoms recognized by the Constitution of the United States as endowed by our Creator. In this case, it appears that a judge’s morality is being inflicted on a business owner. There’s not much backlash because if you disagree you’re obviously a homophobe – not a person who seems quite concerned with his morality. It ends up being an infringement of our rights by fiat on a quixotic quest to end some way of thinking deemed unacceptable.

    Forget about whether you are fer it or agin it, in a free society(one that observes freedom of thought) both sides of this issue should be outraged that this decision even happened.

  29. While it seems useful to create a “non-judgmental Jesus” to support a live and let live philosophy, that’s just not who he was.

    The story of Jesus and the adulterous woman is a good example of judgment and morality from a Christian standpoint. The Jewish law proscribed that the adulterous woman should be stoned to death. Jesus stopped the stoning, and admonished those ready to throw stones as hypocrites, similar to what he said about getting the log out of your own eye before you try to get the speck out of someone else’s. Then he told the woman to stop sinning. Did Jesus judge the woman? Of course. He told her that what she was doing was wrong. He notably didn’t say, “adultery is cool with me,” or “you dudes shouldn’t throw stones because God is the ultimate judge.”

    While the verse mentioned, “judge not lest you be judged” does seem like Jesus is saying people shouldn’t judge, this is clearly not his intention. If you read the whole passage, Matthew 7:1-5, it is clear that Jesus isn’t saying not to judge, but rather HOW to judge. In verse five he says that you should take the log out of your own eye SO you can see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Taking the speck from your brother’s eye is judging. Jesus is saying that we need to see our own sinfulness before we try to point out someone else’s, we need to not be hypocrites. And we need to be forgiving and compassionate, not like the Pharisees. Jesus actually does a lot of judging, and specifically tells the disciples to judge throughout the Gospels.

  30. Philosophical discussions on Christianity sidetrack the issue: May the government force a business owner, by way of legal threats, to make a cake?

    Here’s another relevant question: The baker in question also refuses to do Halloween cakes? Can people who have asked him and been refused run to the government and have it force the man to make Halloween cakes?

    These are the silly and tyrannical roads progressivism leads us down.

  31. What happened to the days of ‘We reserve the right to refuse service.’? I find it VERY disturbing that the law REQUIRES a person to do business with another person. I think there must be a better way to handle this than another law.

    I personally disagree with the baker, but he (or she) should have the right not to create things that they feel are against their beliefs. Of course, the gay couple certainly have a right to tell the world about it and refuse to businesss with said baker.

  32. YOS: How does refusing to make a cake for a gay couple show love for the sinner without also showing support for the sin? Is it “unloving” not to sell a sinner a cake for his sinful ceremony? I guess I don’t understand how the saying applies in this case.

    Spellbound: I really wonder if a referral business would fare any better. This is about gays forcing everyone to accept them. I doubt the judge would care if it was a referral or a public service. The law may technically differentiate, but getting that technically enforced might be impossible.

    What if the minister of a church refused to perform the service? Can he be compelled to marry two individuals who are openly sinning and run counter to his religious beliefs? I can see that happening in the future, just as a spiteful way to punish people for their religious beliefs (and since the pedophile movement in Sweden now has children being adopted by pedophiles, this is in no way a farfetched idea).

  33. DAV,

    You have not asked honest questions but have grievously misrepresented my previous posts. I have no intention of playing that game. Projection does not become you.

  34. I have to take the Rand Paul line on this:

    The owner of any business has the right to refuse service to anyone. Even if I think it is a bad business decision for him to do so.

  35. @Sheri: Love is wishing the good for the other, precisely as other. When we tell a child he may not cross the street by himself, we do it for love of the child, even if the child regards us as wicked, bigoted fascists for doing so.

    If a kleptomaniac wished a cake to celebrate his first theft, we would not bake it, for we would help him celebrate an act which lessened him by indulging an appetite contrary to reason. But we would have no problem baking a cake for his birthday (unless we were muslim and regard birthday celebrations as a form of idolatry) or indeed for his wedding. Likewise, a cake to celebrate a man’s second or third concurrent wedding (again, unless we were muslim, which permits up to four under some circumstances), or a cake to celebrate a bulimic’s first successful upchuck. None of this prevents us from loving the kleptomaniac, bulimic, or (for that matter) muslim, and wishing for them the good of their various continences. The refusal to bake a cake for the homosexual pair can be seen then as a loving act, if the baker does so from a desire for their good (i.e., abstinence) where a cake would be an unloving act, if the baker were acting for mere monetary gain or with the active desire to further their dissipation.

    Much depends on the baker’s motives, since either act could also be motivated by contempt for the other person. But for the government to command otherwise would be like compelling an orthodox Jewish caterer to include pork chops on his table, or a muslim to serve wine.

  36. “Who am I to judge a gay person of goodwill who seeks the Lord?” “You can’t marginalize these people.” Pope Francis, July 2013.

    “…the idea that we cannot “judge”–how does one preach morality and then not judge behaviour? You can’t.” Sheri 10 Dec 2013.

    This blog’s author has, repeatedly, honed to the Roman Catholic value system as foundational. This essay is highly suggestive of a viewpoint that conflicts with the Roman Catholic Church’s policy as remarked, on more than one occasion, by its current leader, Pope Francis.

    Those of you have addressed the religious foundations of the subject, and, almost to a person, taken a position contrary to that of the Roman Church’s espoused policy (and done so via highly selective cherry-picking of quotes). Sheri, in the quote above, is illustrative to an extreme – contrary to her implied presumption that ‘one needs to judge’ — one need not judge at all (and for what end?); and, more to the point, one ought not apply such logic to justify one’s imposition of punishment.

    And don’t doubt for a second that a baker’s refusal to provide a cake is truly based on the religious exception/conflict as asserted—that’s just a corruption of a contrived excuse to passively-aggressively punish [by denying service/product to – by “marginalizing”] fellow citizens for living to differing values. That’s un-Christian-like behavior relative to the many documented examples for Christ—who associated routinely with the corrupt & sinful and of whom there’s no evidence his conversion success rate was 100%, quite the contrary as He was criticized for such associations. But then He understood the obvious—you can’t bring someone into The Fold by pushing them away.

    For those of you Catholics, if you disagree, take it up with Pope Francis. His espoused policies have a consistent theme that can be paraphrased, in part [& crassly for emphasis] as: ‘You’ve got no [goddamn] business slamming the door shut on sinners because when you do you obstruct them from coming into the truth.’ Jesus may have issued guidance to depart from a place where he was rejected (Luke 9:3-5) but he ‘sure as hell’ never directed or advised anyone to put up obstacles to coming to Him, and his behavior demonstrates exactly the opposite – if you judge & then impose some punishment you are engaging in behaviors 180 degrees contrary to Jesus’ words & deeds (regardless of whatever self-deceptive logic concocted as justification)… God, as everybody knows, waits until AFTER people to die before passing judgment …so who the hell are you to do so—much less impose some petty vigilante punishment by “marginalizing,” etc., anyone—sooner?

    Of course, if you’re not Catholic you can stretch, bend, fold, spindle & mutilate the same source material to reach a very different conclusion (or any pre-conceived desired conclusion!) without having to give any credence whatsoever to the Roman Pontiff’s remarks…(e.g. like what’s happened with Episcopalians — depending one which major version, gays are either endorsed & included, or not). Which reminds one of the saying, “When something can mean anything, it means nothing.”

  37. (I didn’t read the comments; I didn’t even read the post — yet…) I’d add: Do we really want to adopt the maxim “Whatever isn’t proscribed is obligatory” to our Constitution?
    How far would we be from “Whatever isn’t obligatory is proscribed” then?

  38. Scotian you silly dear,

    <i.You have not asked honest questions but have grievously misrepresented my previous posts.

    I have only asked questions and ones that probe whatever it was you were trying to say. Nary a single statement. My QUESTIONS misrepresent your post? Wow! How does a question represent anything? (Oh, dear there are two more!)

    I can see your wanting to avoid answering them. They are tough and incisive! By all means bravely run away. But you should consider using both feet when doing so and save the toe sucking for later.

    Run away! Run away!

  39. A couple should order a “wedding cake”. Why are they being forced (are they?) to reveal their sexuality to the baker? Is the baker asking people to declare themselves? Does the law require such a declaration?

  40. DAV,

    Which of your questions wasn’t anticipated by “The only universally acknowledged restrictions involve the violation of the property rights of others which is not the case under discussion. ” Did you miss this? You could have asked a difficult question such as: How are property rights made consistent with community zoning laws?, How do we prevent someone turning a private residence into an abattoir? These are serious questions involving the balance between the property rights of neighbours. But no, you went for the silly and I must say trivial question. Is your last post really how you want to be remembered? I have serious discussions with many people. Do you?

  41. YOS: I am in agreement with you. Your examples make sense, especially the last one, which people probably don’t often think of.

    Ken: The behaviour of the homosexuals is an outright aggressive one demanding that everyone cater to their immorality.

    I do wonder if your paraphrasing is any more accurate than that of the media. What he said was he could not judge someone seeking the Lord–you could not just ignore these people. A church is there to help people find God and guide them in what is morally acceptable–so sinners should not be shunned by the church. He in no way said it was okay to be gay. If they find the Lord, they would then have to remain celibate in order to be faithful to God. The Pope did not say it was okay to be a practicing homosexual. That would involve fornication and that’s a no-no. So he did not approve of the behaviour. The real question here is would the Pope perform a gay ceremony in a state where it’s legal? I sincerely hope not.

  42. I am still trying to wrap my head around how anyone takes “he won’t bake this cake for this gay couple” and somehow gets the operative part as “for this gay couple”, not “won’t bake this cake.” I bet the baker would not have baked a cake for that ceremony regardless who asked for it…conversely he presumably would bake a birthday cake (as someone pointed out) for these folks.

    It’s sad, the eclipsing of logic by ideology.

  43. So there was no other baker who would make a cake for the couple? I doubt that, so it looks like the couple wanted a drama festival.

    If a group acquires the means to push people around, some members of that group will start pushing people around.

  44. a drama festival

    One often finds behind the stage set that these brouhahas are often set-up jobs.

  45. @Ken:

    “God, as everybody knows, waits until AFTER people to die before passing judgment ”

    What about in the Old Testament, where God judges and destroys entire nations before their inhabitants die? Or what about Jesus, who tells the lady at the well to “go and sin no more”. Doesn’t he have to judge her as guilty of sin to tell her not to sin anymore?

    ===
    “But then He understood the obvious—you can’t bring someone into The Fold by pushing them away. ”

    Nor can you bring someone “into the Fold” by extending the boundaries. Did Jesus ever give money to gamblers or wine to drunkards? There’s a difference between associating with people of disrepute and actually accepting the behavior enough to celebrate it.

    There’s also that little bit about “marriage” having a meaning. Does it? You did say, after all, that “when something can mean anything, it means nothing”. If marriage means X and people demand a wedding cake for Not-X, is it wrong to deny them for asking for a service that isn’t provided? Several examples exist in this thread, if you’d rather not try your imagination for similar situations.

  46. “The question remains: does the baker have the right not to do business with those he does not wish to.”

    Clear and easy answer; no.

    You simply cannot discriminate. If you advertise your business as selling cake you can’t refuse to sell something that you have listed for sale to someone who is ready to pay the price because of who they are.

    If you refuse good money, it means that the money someone has can be worthless, which would render all the currency useless. This is a simple economic principle.

    As SCOTUS will soon postulate on a business doesn’t have a religion. It is a legal person for economic reason and its only god is money.

    I like your bad example. Transgender people do go to pharmacy to buy oestrogene hormones which is basicly a contraceptive pill. Discrimination by age his different the same child will be able to buy alcohol once he reach 21 (18 in Canada).

    As for the child rapist. Any adult who would be found in that pool of ball would be thrown out unless it was to try and find its own child. .

  47. If the cake would be for black people, I could understand that the baker doesn’t want to do it, but for normal white gays, I do not see any reason to refuse. [Ironic]

    “biological couples”? My God! I thought this was a scientific blog.

  48. What about this scenario?

    A gay couple orders a wedding cake from a baker. The Baker accepts the order and assigns one of his/her assistants to make the cake. The assistant, on religious grounds, refuses. The baker fires the assistant for not doing his/her job.

    The assistant, citing the law that one cannot be fired for their religious beliefs, or for refusing to do something they find morally objectionable, brings an action against the baker for unlawful termination.

    The case comes before the OP referenced judge. How does that judge determine the matter?

  49. Sylvain: In a Communist country, a business has no rights. The government owns it. You are arguing that the US is a communist country. You may right, but until the POTUS declares the constitution null and void and the war breaks out, the US is not yet a declared communist country.

    I assume you approve of the adoption of a child by a pedoflie–adoption is a business, too.

    Actually, with any luck, this decision will have the same result the idiots in Colorado got when they passed stricter gun control laws–loss of business. Several gun manufacturers relocated after the gun control lobby passed new laws. Two elected officials were recalled and one resigned later. (Judges can be recalled, too, in some cases. Maybe in this one, we hope.) Much more of this liberal business thieving and Colorado will have a tax base that rivals Detroit. Keep this up and there won’t be any capitalists and free-market businesses to bail out the socialist/communist ones.

    Ignacio: It’s a math blog, I think. “Biological couples” was necessitated by politics attempting to forcibly rewrite biology for their own benefit. Until then, couples (in the sense used here) were man and woman, male and female. There was no need to create a term to clarify scientific versus political. Please complain to the politicians about this one.

  50. DAV, the quotations are from Romans, picked to counter your cherry-picked, “which also teaches love thy neighbour” which is from Leviticus.

  51. @Bob

    I would say the assistant has no case. One can refuse to perform an action based on religious beliefs, but not pick and choose when to perform that action based on who you’re doing it for. Had the assistant refused to bake wedding cakes at all, based on some religious belief, their claim would be valid. However, invoking religion as a means to discriminate is not valid. You cannot claim your religion will not permit you to serve a class of persons when your job is to provide that service, as that’s just a cover for discrimination. In this case, the employer is correct to terminate the employee for failure to perform their agreed duties.

  52. Also, to the general argument that the government is forcing the baker to bake cakes, this is not true. Had the baker refused based on legitimate reasons — too many cakes already for that date, or inability to meet customer requests — the baker would be in the clear. It’s only because the baker cited the couple being gay as the reason for his refusal that he is in danger of the law. If the baker feels strongly about the issue, he can stop baking wedding cakes altogether and can not be found to be discriminating for that.

  53. Spellbound: Great idea. All the really great bakers who happen to have religious conviction can stop baking wedding cakes. Then we are left with bakers who may or may not be good at what they do but are at least not bothered by moral convictions.

    This is exactly what happens–I would never own a business that might result in my religious convictions having to be violated, including baker, wedding paraphernalia, rentals, restaurants, etc. Even if I were the best in the world, I wouldn’t do it. So people who might be super at a job are effectively shut out or forced to violate their moral codes. I can’t see this as a successful business model or good for customers, but then again, no one has no worry about feeling “persecuted”, just that the wedding cake may taste like cardboard. America, land of the “no religious beliefs” business model.

  54. There is a deep irony here, since a 19th century term for a male homosexual was “cake-eater.”

  55. FROM THE US CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS:

    http://www.americancatholic.org/News/Homosexuality/

    The Administrative Committee [of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops] said the church clearly teaches the dignity of homosexual persons and condemns “all forms of unjust discrimination, harassment or abuse.”

    http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac0799.asp

    Church teaching shows a special concern regarding prejudice shown to homosexual persons. “Mindful of the inherent and abiding dignity of every human person” the Catholic bishops reaffirm that “homosexual persons, like everyone else, should not suffer from prejudice against their basic human rights. They have a right to respect, friendship and justice. They should have an active role in the Christian community” (Human Sexuality, #55; To Live in Christ Jesus, #52).

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church goes on to state: “Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided” (#2358). And in an even more sharply worded statement from the Vatican—s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith we read: “It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech, or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church—s pastors wherever it occurs” (Letter to the Bishops of the World on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, #10).

    Thus, the Church challenges homosexual persons concerning their discovered orientation and its implication in terms of sexual action choices. At the same time, the Church—s leaders challenge the so-called “straight” or heterosexual majority to take its own moral pulse, to remove the plank of prejudice and/or self-righteousness from our own eyes. In an eloquent summary of the latter notion, the Catholic bishops in the United States offer a challenge:

    “We call on all Christians and citizens of good will to confront their own fears about homosexuality and to curb the humor and discrimination that offend homosexual persons. We understand that having a homosexual orientation brings with it enough anxiety, pain and issues related to self-acceptance without society adding additional prejudicial treatment” (Human Sexuality, #55).

    FOR THOSE OF YOU SO INCLINED TO JUDGE: IF YOU ARE A CATHOLIC AND IF YOUR VIEWS & LOGIC LEAD TO CONCLUSIONS/ACTIONS DIFFERING FROM THE ABOVE THEN YOU ARE A BAD CATHOLIC. JUDGE YOURSELF FOR YOURSELF.

  56. IDOT LOGIC:

    “God, as everybody knows, waits until AFTER people to die before passing judgment ” [BUT] “What about in the Old Testament, where God judges and destroys entire nations before their inhabitants die? Or what about Jesus, who tells the lady at the well to “go and sin no more”. Doesn’t he have to judge her as guilty of sin to tell her not to sin anymore?”

    — Per the Bible & contemporary belief, Jesus was God — HE is authorized to judge. We are not God. There’s fundamental distinction there–Get it?

    ““But then He understood the obvious—you can’t bring someone into The Fold by pushing them away. ” Nor can you bring someone “into the Fold” by extending the boundaries.”

    — RIIIiiiiightttt…..selling someone a cake is “extending the boundaries.”

    “The behaviour of the homosexuals is an outright aggressive one demanding that everyone cater to their immorality.”

    — GOOD EXAMPLE OF A SWEEPING GENERALIZATION LOGICAL FALLACY.

  57. @Ken: Why so much rage?

    John 7:24: “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” Hint: This isn’t addressed to Jesus.

    Also, I clearly disproved your statement that God only judges after people die. I guess that’s why I switched the topic.

  58. Bob Lince,

    The job of the assistant is to bake cakes. Obviously, is religious belief doesn’t prevent him from baking cakes. Why or for what use the owner ask the assistant to bake the cake is of no regard of his assistant even if somehow he learns what will happen to the cake.

    The assistant cannot claim that baking a cake, which he usually do, is counter to is religious belief because he somehow learned for which occasion the cake is made.

    Then, if the assistant refuses to do is job he can get fired. The motive for firing the assistant has nothing to do with is religious belief since he is fired for not doing is job. He would lose in court.

    Refusing to bake or sell a cake to a gay couple is out of spite not out of religious belief. So the first amendment cannot be used in this case.

    Where does the bible says that you can discriminate against gays?

  59. @Sylvian: “Refusing to bake or sell a cake to a gay couple is out of spite not out of religious belief.”

    Well that’s presumptuous.

    ===
    “The assistant cannot claim that baking a cake, which he usually do, is counter to is religious belief because he somehow learned for which occasion the cake is made.”

    This example has come up already, but if the bakery got a request to bake a cake for a Klan rally and the assistant was black, would you be okay with having him refuse to make the cake? What if the request for the cake included writing on the cake stating “Death to Blacks”. Should he be allowed to withhold his baking talents in that case?

    After all, “where does the bible says that you can discriminate against against [the KKK]”?

  60. Spellbound,

    I agree with you, though the baker could have done the job and bake the worst cake ever to discourage future business.

  61. Josh,

    “This example has come up already, but if the bakery got a request to bake a cake for a Klan rally and the assistant was black, would you be okay with having him refuse to make the cake?”

    No, because the reason of the celebration is of no regard to him.

    “What if the request for the cake included writing on the cake stating “Death to Blacks”. Should he be allowed to withhold his baking talents in that case?”

    In this case the message requested is to incite violence and hatred and the baker could refused to make the inscription.

  62. Ken: Luckily, I not a Catholic.

    Sylvain: A gay couple suing a baker is spite. Also, in the example Josh gave, what if the cake merely said “Blacks are not humans, they’re monkeys”? Not a call to violence and should fall under freedom of speech. It’s not a call to violence. So the black baker is supposed to bake the cake and so label it, right?

    Again, Sylvain, are you in favor of the pedophile being allowed to adopt? Adoption is a business, right? So yes or no–pedophile can adopt child?

  63. Ken has discovered that Catholics are enjoined to love the sinner even while hating the sin. Next step is to discern how this gives Caesar the right to enforce Catholic dogma by threat of law, despite the First Amendment.

    Please to note that it not the inclination that is wrong. If Joe, a heterosexual, finds his neighbor’s wife attractive, he has committed no wrong. If however, he entertains notions of hopping the fence and having his way with her, then he had (as Jimmy Carter famously said) “committed adultery in his heart.” If he then goes on actually to leap the fence and do the dirty with her heartfelt consent, then he has completed the triumph of his will. But that things like adultery, rape, seduction, and the like are wrong, we do not conclude that it is sinful merely to be attracted to pretty women, to merely be heterosexual.

  64. YOS,

    You have very strange example:

    He could not refuse to sell the cake but he could refuse to put the inscription. There may be no violence but there is hatred.

    Pedophilia is a crime. A father convicted for pedophilia would see his children taken from him. Also adoption is not a business. A children is not for sell.

    Here is an example where a baker could refuse to make a cake. If the customer ask the baker to make a cake portraying two men having sex. Then he could refused for many reasons including religious reason.

  65. @Sylvain:

    Your argument presumes that same-sex marriage is Marriage (proper) or that they are interchangeable. After all, the owner of the bakery bakes “Wedding Cakes” with Marriage (Matrimony, mother/father, husband/wife) in mind.

    IF same-sex marriage is different than traditional marriage (it is, or there wouldn’t be arguing about it), then the baker is not refusing to provide a service he would normally provide – he is refusing to provide a -new- service.

  66. Sylvain: The pedophile went to jail and served his time. He is no longer a criminal. Therefore, he cannot be denied the right to adopt in Sweden. “Swedish authorities say the man, aged in his sixties, is now not in danger of reoffending.” (Daily Mail and others) Adoption most certainly is a business. You don’t buy the children, you buy the services of the people who approve the adoption, either via taxes to the government or direct payments to adoption agencies. The agency does a home study, etc. They get you access to the children. Or you hire a lawyer. So this is a business and refusing service to a convicted pedophile who served his time is called “discrimination” by every definition put forth here. In this case, you seem to be in favor of said discrimination. Why is that???

    I don’t see how the baker could refuse to make a cake portraying two men having sex if it is for a private party of adults or children accompanied by adults. That would prudish and old fashioned and judgmental. That will land you in court too. You can’t refuse that request either.

  67. @ Sheri
    Yes, that is a possible result. There is no regulation without impact. However, I find your argument that no one of skill and religious belief would ever bake such cakes, leaving us with mediocre cakes, to be unpersuasive. Yes, some talented bakers may be discouraged due to their personal feelings on the matter, but I doubt the impact will be large. However, the impact of allowing free discrimination under the guise of religious belief would be large, and often in case very harmful. So I consider your proposed outcome acceptable.

    Further to your later comment, yes, suing the baker was spite. That, however, doesn’t make the case invalid. Motivation of the plaintiffs has no bearing on the merits of their case.

    @Josh
    I find your argument foundering near the shoals of ‘separate but equal’. It is a narrow distinction drawn only to further discrimination, and I don’t think it would hold any water in court. The service of providing a ‘wedding’ cake vs. a ‘gay-wedding’ cake are identical — only the final use (after the baker has completed their work) is different, and, as you note, there is substantial argument on whether it is different. Therefor it is the same service, with they customer applying the product to a different end. You cannot claim a new service based upon the actions of the customer after the fact.

    Or rather, looking back, it does appear you can, as you did. Rather, then, you shouldn’t.

  68. An example of legal discrimination: You may not refuse to rent to gays, blacks, jew, etc, but you can refuse to rent to pet owners. Why???

  69. ” The service of providing a ‘wedding’ cake vs. a ‘gay-wedding’ cake are identical — only the final use (after the baker has completed their work) is different, and, as you note, there is substantial argument on whether it is different. Therefor it is the same service, with they customer applying the product to a different end. You cannot claim a new service based upon the actions of the customer after the fact. ”

    Suppose someone wants to blow up a building, so they order a chemist to build and place bombs. The act of placing explosives into an abandoned building and a full building are identical – only the final use is different. Therefor, it is the same service, with the customer applying the same product to a different end. You cannot claim a new service based upon the actions of the customer after the fact.

  70. @Spellbound:

    Also, you once again presume the two are the same in order to further the argument that the two are the same in a practical sense.

  71. @ sheri

    Pets represent a real and actual possibility of damage to the residence, which may cost the owner substantial amounts of money to correct to get the residence ready for a new tenet after the pet owner has vacated. Further, pets can often be aggressive toward others, and in multi-unit residences, where tenets are very close together, this represents a liability to the property owner. It is reasonable to allow property owners to reduce their risk to property and liability with reasonable restrictions.

  72. @ Josh,

    I see that you want to make that argument to dismiss what I said, but the sameness of gay or straight weddings has no bearing on my actual argument. Please, if it offends you, please ignore that portion and address the remaining argument.

  73. @Spellbound: I replied to both points you made, in two separate comments.

    As to your suggestion that the “sameness” doesn’t matter when we’re talking about whether or not one service is the same as another, I’ll admit I’m a bit lost.

  74. @ josh
    Apologies, josh, I had missed you had substantively replied to my argument outside of the sameness of weddings. I shall address:

    If the chemist is presented with the appropriate credentials to allow the customer to purchase explosives, then, yes, there is no difference to the chemist in the services of constructing the explosives (assuming chemists are who you go to see for explosives in this construct).

    Placing the explosives is different, however, as now the use becomes important because the chemist is now directly involved in the use of the product by the act of placing them. If the baker was involved in executing the wedding, he would have legitimate case to refuse, so long as that execution was indeed a new service he did not regularly provide.

    All of this, of course, ignores the myriad new legal complications and controls on explosives that effectively obscure the comparison between the baker and the chemist. I’ve tried to address your argument without those considerations, but I would like to recognize that they exist.

  75. Spellbound: I guess if you think not having the best people in jobs is the way to go, and that it won’t be significant, then you have no reason to fear businesses shut down. Currently, there are judges, photographers, motel owners and hundreds of others affected by this and many other fields will be dragged in. I hope it’s “insignificant”.

    I made the comment about the suing the baker being spite because there seemed to be a belief that the owners of the bakery acted out of spite and that was made them deserving of the lawsuit.

    Children present far more likelihood of damage than pets. Hundreds of thousands of fires result each year from children playing with matches. Pets don’t set up meth labs and sell drugs out of a house. I have a friend whose apartment was the scene of a shooting due to drug traffic. Clean up took more than paper towels. You can charge a deposit for pets, require the tenant to have insurance for any liability problems, etc. You can do none of these for children, drug dealers, etc. Hoarders destroy rentals. Dogs and cats don’t hoard.
    It is purely discriminatory and yet very legal and widely practiced.

  76. @ sheri
    You haven’t made your case that the best people will both have beliefs that put the afoul of this ruling and willing to stop working rather than compromise. This is also eerily similar to arguments made during the Civil Rights movement about desegregation — and no such thing happened there. To be 100% clear, I am not attempting to trivialize your argument with a comparison to a hot-button topic, I’m attempting to point out that a similar argument in loosely similar situations did not come to fruition.

    As for your children to pets comparison, yes it is both legal and discriminatory. The law discriminates quite often, against people with poor eyesight and operation of moving machinery, against persons that have been convicted of crimes, against physically handicapped persons, even, in regards to required physical labor (e.g., an orchard owner is allowed to discriminate against paraplegics for the position of apple picker). Some discrimination is perfectly acceptable.

    What the law attempts to protect against is discrimination against persons based on their color, creed, beliefs, etc.. Having a child is arguably a protected right, whilst having a pet is not (for reference, I’m using ‘rights’ as a shorthand to avoid a discussion about what right are and are not, please bear with this). It is reasonable to discriminate based on reasonable expectation of damage from pets, while it is not reasonable to discriminate against persons that have a child, on the basis having children is supposed to be a large part of why we’re all here, but owning a dog isn’t.

    Further, I find your comparison between damage that pets can reasonably be expected to cause vs lawless behavior by children of people you know to be poor. If you have to assume lawlessness to make your point, we’re already past the point of reasonable assumptions.

    As for child-caused fires, I dispute your assertion of 100’s of thousands. Credible research is much less than that, around 58,000 on average with a falling trend. Fact quibbling aside, fire is a risk taken for any and all tenets, both with and without children. Pet damage is caused only by those tenets with pets.

  77. Josh on 11 December 2013 at 12:37 pm said:

    It is not important why the person buy the cake. It doesn’t matter if gay marriage is legal or not, or if gay marriage is real or not.

    The service provided by the baker is to bake a cake. The reason why, how, where the cake we’ll be eaten is of no concern to the baker. It is a new service only if the cake that the people are asking is a special order cake that is not part of its regular inventory. Going back to my example of having a cake in the shape of 2 men having sex.

  78. Spellbound. I don’t know that I can “make my case” at this point. I haven’t done enough research. I’m just putting it out there are a possible consequence of the government running people’s businesses. Granted the claim has been made before and the outcome does not appear to have been as predicted. It may not be a huge issue.

    In today’s society, people call themselves “pet parents”. Many people regard their pets as being their children. If we can decide our gender, should we not be able to define what a child is? If a person regards their pet as a child, then there is clear discrimination. That is their belief.

    I am not supposed to include lawlessness? But it exists. If the acts of lawless individuals cost more in damage than pet owners, then the claim that pets are costly to landlords is false.

    Your examples of legal discrimination seems to be based on risk assessment. As far as I know, the prohibition against pets in rentals is not based on any risk assessment, but rather a belief among landlords. If there is research or information that proves pets damage more than children, etc, then the discrimination might be considered acceptable.
    This, however, brings up the question if blacks cause more apartment damage on average than hispanics, then would the discrimination be okay? If we base the discrimination against pet owners on monetary risk factors, should that not apply to all renters?

    I got my estimation from FEMA (it’s an old document–probably not my best choice)
    “Nearly 250,000 fires in 1993 were thought to have been set by juveniles (<19 years of age).
    The bedroom is the area of the home where most juvenile-set fires originate, and matches are the most prevalent ignition sources."

    Sylvain: ALL wedding cakes are special order. There is no "inventory". Your point would support the right of the baker to refuse service.

  79. Sheri on 11 December 2013 at 12:44 pm said:

    The Sweden is really an outlier and has nothing to do with the usual children adoption path.

    In the US and Canada sex offender cannot live near school after their release and they have to at least register with local police for their address. Even if they have served their sentence time.

    The people providing the adoption services may not be able to refuse the business but possibility to adopt would be probably nil.

    As for the cake shaped in two men having sex; He can refuse because this is a special order cake that is not part of is regular inventory (but he could have a harder time defending himself if he offers sexually explicit cake on regular basis).

  80. @Sheri

    You do not have to show that pets are more or less of a risk than children, just that pets are a sufficient enough risk.

    As for your question about blacks and Hispanics, I have no data, but that is moot because, like being a child, being black or Hispanic is protected under the law. Largely because, I think, race, color, and age are all things that you can’t help, whereas Fido is.

    I tend to find most gender arguments to be lacking, so, no, I don’t agree that persons thinking they are parents to pets is the same as being a parent. They are free to think and act like they are, just as I support trans-persons during so, but the fact that they are not parents to their pets is even more clear than real gender is to persons (there are a number, if small, of corner cases where gender ambiguity exists).

  81. Shiri,

    “ALL wedding cakes are special order. There is no “inventory”. Your point would support the right of the baker to refuse service.”

    They are special order and even costum made but when you go in the bakery you will see either model cake or picture. These can be consider inventory of what is the usual business.

  82. Shiri,

    “An example of legal discrimination: You may not refuse to rent to gays, blacks, jew, etc, but you can refuse to rent to pet owners. Why???”

    If the pet owner want the apartment and is ready to get rid of his pet he cannot discriminate on the basis that they like dogs. They can simply refuse them to keep their dogs.

  83. Again, Sylvain, there is no inventory on wedding cakes in most cases. They are custom–based on the number to be fed, the colors desired, any theme for the wedding, etc. You generally cannot by these “of the rack” so you are still saying the guy had the right to refuse. Especially if NO cake in his inventory every had say, two little plastic males on top or a congratulations “bob and bob” on your wedding. Obviously, he did not have any homosexually themed cakes. So the gay guys would have had to order a gender neutral cake, or, again, you’re claiming the denial was justified.

    Why is it when someone is asked a straight-forward question, they dance around it. It matters not if Sweden is an outlier. The first “gay marriage” in the US was an outlier. So we should have ignored that? Answer the question: Was Sweden right in their decision. Yes or No. Simple. Just answer. Giving me crap on “legal” and stuff in the US is not relevant. It’s avoiding the answer. ANSWER.

    Spellbound: Acting upon sexual orientation is something you chose. As is to be a parent. These are not given at birth like race. Age is a physical characteristic. So would a physical handicap be “not a choice”. But practicing sexual orientation and parenting are. So is the decision to marry. All of these things should then fall under the same category as Fido. You don’t have to marry, you don’t have to have children and you don’t have to have sex (of any kind) any more than you need to have a pet.

    There is an interesting thread here: It’s okay to discriminate if the law does not say you cannot. It seems clear that the definition of discrimination is that whatever law says is discrimination is. However, if we were to apply this to South Africa under apartheid, people would scream. Same argument.

  84. @Sheri

    The ‘something you choose’ is fraught with asserting rather than providing evidence. That’s a major point of contention, so your deciding it’s outcome is a bit premature.

    But let’s go with your ‘having a kid or being gay is a choice on level with having a dog’. Let’s accept this argument. Let’s accept that choice levels the playing field; so long as you choose, it should be treated roughly the same. In that case, you are 100% correct, refusing children should be allowed like refusing pets. Everything should be open for discrimination, including refusing you based upon your gender, or, perhaps, based upon which religion you’ve chosen. Or perhaps nothing should be discriminated against, meaning gays are good to go re: bakers.

    Reducing any choice to the same level as all choice is a self-defeating argument. Let’s not do that and instead agree that the choice to have a child is different than the choice to have a dog, and society’s reaction to that choice should be similarly different. You can then have a discussion on whether or not homosexuality is a choice worthy of discrimination, but be warned that folks of other minds might do the same about your choice to worship (or not, I’m afraid I’m very guilty of making an assumption here. If I am incorrect, I apologize).

  85. Actually, I see no reason why there have to be laws about discrimination. If someone wants to refuse service to me because I am female, why would I want to do business with them anyway? If someone does not want to sell me a cake that says “Praise God” on it, or that says “Praise Satan, let all hell break loose”, why would I want to do business with them. If the landlord does not want me in his apartment building, why would I want to live there?

    Reducing choice to all on the same level does not seem to me to be a self-defeating argument. All choices are made in the same way–by logic, by emotion, by guilt. The consequences of the choices are very different, yes.

    Open question (not just spellbound): If I went into a bakery and ordered a cake that said “All homosexuals will burn in hell”, knowing the owner was a homosexual, would you say he must make the cake? Must a homosexual baker make a wedding cake for the Rev Phelps or his children, knowing the man detests and hates homosexuals?

  86. Sheri,

    Here is an example:

    http://www.buymecake.com/

    click on “cake pricing and information”

    All the options you see there are part of the regular inventory (i.e.: they would do the cake with any of these option for anyone willing to buy a cake). If they request something that is not in the regular options then the situation is different.

    Pedophilia is very age and sex specific. he was convicted for a girl aged 5 and the adoption is for a boy age 10. Also this is a child that was already living with him at the moment of the death of the mother. My guess is that they interviewed the boy toward what he wished and that there will be some sort of follow up.

    Would this have passed in America, I don’t think he would have been successful, and this was a court decision.

  87. Sheri,

    “Actually, I see no reason why there have to be laws about discrimination. If someone wants to refuse service to me because I am female, why would I want to do business with them anyway?”

    That works if you have ample chance to do business somewhere else. What would you do if all business outlet in your town would refuse to serve woman?

    “Open question (not just spellbound): If I went into a bakery and ordered a cake that said “All homosexuals will burn in hell”, knowing the owner was a homosexual, would you say he must make the cake? Must a homosexual baker make a wedding cake for the Rev Phelps or his children, knowing the man detests and hates homosexuals?”

    The gay owner should make the cake but nothing could forced him to put the inscription.

  88. Jack Phillips creates a masterpiece! Custom designs are his specialty: If you can think it up, he can make it into a cake!–from the website of the cake maker
    None of the news articles say if it was a specialty cake or not. If they couple said it was for a gay wedding and asked for ideas, it could have been specialty. I can’t say without more information that is not out there.
    I will assume since you are too cowardly to answer yes or no on the pedophilia question, that it’s not worth my time to continue. Funny how you can’t just spit out Yes or No. Just a bunch of legalese and avoidance.
    Okay, you believe a gay baker must bake a cake for a professed hater of homosexuals. At least on that one you’re straightforward.

    I stand by my belief that there should be no rules on discrimination. If no one wants to do business with a women, fine. I would think that would mean death to businesses since probably at least half of the business world is owned, run and shopped by women, but who am I to argue with a business committing suicide? If it was only in my town, I’d shop elsewhere. Yes, even if I had to drive a long way to shop.

  89. A gay couple is pursuing a discrimination complaint against a Colorado bakery, saying the business refused them a wedding cake to honor their Massachusetts ceremony,
    and alleging that the owners have a history of turning away same-sex couples.
    From WND

    This is interesting in that it appears, if true, the couple targeted the bakery. It was their intent to file a lawsuit and they knew they would be denied. There was no shock or embarrassment. They went in to ruin a man’s business and get their face on the news.

  90. I don’t see how can claim that I didn’t answer your question. There are no yes or no answer when it is a question of right. Circumstances play a huge role.

    The owner, to win in court, has to show how his freedom is affected on an individual basis. His business is not him, legally his business is its own legal person. In such case the owner has to show how is personal freedom is affected. Hint, it is not affected because he has nothing different to do than what he usually does.

    Women 51% of pop. LGBT 5% of pop. 2 different realities.

  91. Sylvain: Thank you. You just answered my question.
    In a socialist country, your business is not yours. Same in a communist country. Not in a capitalist society.
    You used the women example.
    Enough.

  92. Sheri,

    You should give me the address of your dealer because he seems to have a very powerful stuff.

    FYI: It is the US Supreme Court that made the case for a business being its own moral person. It is SCOTUS that differentiated the owner from the business. You own the business, you are not the business.

  93. From Sheri:
    “Open question (not just spellbound): If I went into a bakery and ordered a cake that said “All homosexuals will burn in hell”, knowing the owner was a homosexual, would you say he must make the cake? Must a homosexual baker make a wedding cake for the Rev Phelps or his children, knowing the man detests and hates homosexuals?”

    No, he would not have to make the cake. The making of the cake, in this case, is offensive, and he can refuse. What he cannot refuse is the making of a non-offensive cake for a purpose he disapproves of. If the person wanted a normal cake, but told the proprietor it was for a ‘All Homosexuals Will Burn In Hell Club Annucal Rally’, the baker would be at risk in refusing. He might make it through, as that is obviously offensive, and judges are quirky, but I think a strict reading of the law would not be on the baker’s side, here.

    As for the gay couple shopping for outrage, so to speak, that is reprehensible, however, once again, their motives do not, in any way, affect the merits of thier case.

  94. @Spellbound:

    “The making of the cake, in this case, is offensive, and he can refuse. What he cannot refuse is the making of a non-offensive cake for a purpose he disapproves of.”

    Did you really just pull this? This is like saying “he can’t do something that is offensive to -me-, but he must do something that is not offensive to -me-“.

    Your argument isn’t even an argument!

  95. @Josh

    It has nothing to do with my perceptions, I assumed that the question assumed that the baker would be directly offended by the requested decorations. If I accidentally misread and inserted my own preferences, I apologize, and ask that the question be reworded because I do not understand it if the baker is not to be assumed to be offended.

    But, to redirect to a more general case, the baker can refuse to create a product that is, in and of itself, offensive to a rational person. I believed that the ‘All homosexuals will burn in hell’ decoration would be assumed to be offensive to a rational person — I may be incorrect in this. However, if it is, then the baker is safe to refuse that sale. In general terms, he can refuse this service because he would refuse all similar services regardless of the customer, and he is in his rights to do so.

    However, if the service or product was not inherently offensive, and further one that the baker routinely provides, he cannot refuse based on his finding the stated final use or the customer’s proclivities or beliefs offensive.

    In short: the baker can’t refuse because he finds the customer or use offensive, but can if the product requested is — he is not required to create things that are offensive if a rational, uninvolved person would also find it offensive.

    Are their huge grey areas here? Yes, indeed. And we can continue to look for corner cases that are difficult. However, the case in our host’s post is fairly clear cut with regards to the law, and was decided, I think, accordingly.

  96. … he cannot refuse based on his finding the stated final use or the customer’s proclivities or beliefs offensive.

    Would a gunsmith be permitted to refuse a sale to a certain Lee Harvey Oswald if he knew the intent of the weapon was felonious? I think you’ll say yes, but I think you’ll say yes because you think murder is bad and homosexual marriage isn’t. Nobody sane would put them on the same moral plane, of course, but the principle is the same. Perhaps you’ll latch onto the fact that murder is illegal or that some law mandates a refusal of sale, but this would be non sequitur in that the validity of existing law is the very point of contention. If it is legal to refuse sale of weapons to murderers, then it is because it was deemed right to refuse material complicity with immoral actions (or at least one). I think your rationalizations so far are ad hoc. You’re either free to do the work you want when you want to do it for mutually agreed-upon wages, or you’re a slave with monetary compensation.

  97. A general question:

    Could a gun shop owner be able to refuse to sell a gun to someone because he is identified to republican. He owns all gun shop in a state for the sake of this scenario

  98. @Ben

    You’ve created a strawman by presuming my argument in a weak form so that you can dismiss it easily. Poor form.

    But, yes, I will ‘latch’ onto the fact that the use is illegal; it is fair to refuse to be complicit in a known criminal act. However, your dismissal of this argument is confused, as you switched from illegal to immoral. Refusing the sale of weapon for criminal use is both legal and moral. Refusing the sale of a cake because you find homosexual marriage to be against your religious beliefs may be moral, but it is not legal. As I have argued from the point of view of the law, and not morality, I think it unfair of you to make that switch. I do not wish to make a moral argument on this, and have not. Please do not assume one for me, as I assure you that your current line of conjecture is incorrect.

    Finally, I’ve tried to be courteous here, as the topic is contentious enough already. I apologize if I have failed in any way — it has not been my intent to offend here. In return, I would ask that you not assume my arguments, especially if you plan to use those assumptions to dismiss things I do say. I’d prefer if you’d ask me for my words instead of making them up. Thank you.

  99. Nailed it. The concern about the forced cake sale is that it ought not be illegal to refuse business because it is moral to do so. A problem from the beginning was that the law was itself immoral. If, indeed, it was your goal to argue that it was merely illegal for cakesmiths to refuse their business, then I presume that you’ve been talking past many of your opponents this whole time. They’d have to be the ones to say so definitively, though.

    Perhaps, on the other hand, they would say that this is a half-witted interpretation of the law – given that “discrimination” was against the cake’s purposes rather than the cake’s purchasers. I think we’ll find it’s a mixed bag. In this latter case, you merely present the brute fact that this is illegal but no argument in favor of this position (unless I’ve forgotten – it’s a long thread). By what mechanism is a business owner mandated to materially approve of and participate in acts which he finds immoral (except murder, which is apparently special)?

  100. I had thought I had been clear about it being illegal. As I have made no moral claims, any assumption on the part of other readers is not mine to assume blame. I think you’re impugning their ability to follow along.

    As for the mechanism, clearly the law. I’m not sure how else to say that as to make it clearer: it is illegal to discriminate in the way the baker did. That there are other ways to refuse business that are legal is of no real import to this fact, so the continued arguments about selling firearms to openly frank murderers is both mute to the topic at hand and moot.

    As I said above, I’m not here to make a moral argument. The law certainly does not, and we’re here discussing a legal outcome of a legal suit in a court of law, not a moral outcome of a moral suit brought before a moral authority. That said, I do not think it moral to refuse business to persons because you find those persons to be offensive to your religious beliefs. If the service or product is offensive in and of itself, I have no issue with you refusing, but refusing based on the person is wrong in my book. I agree with the law in this matter.

  101. Perhaps, on the other hand, they would say that this is a half-witted interpretation of the law – given that “discrimination” was against the cake’s purposes rather than the cake’s purchasers… In this latter case, you merely present the brute fact that this is illegal but no argument in favor of this position (unless I’ve forgotten – it’s a long thread). By what mechanism is a business owner mandated to materially approve of and participate in acts which he finds immoral (except murder, which is apparently special)?

    As for the mechanism, clearly the law. I’m not sure how else to say that as to make it clearer: it is illegal to discriminate in the way the baker did.

    Umm. That’s just more of the same. My dry humor forces me to note that it is illegal to make unsupported assertions and dress them up as arguments. Therefore, thou art a criminal!

    given that “discrimination” was against the cake’s purposes rather than the cake’s purchasers

    That said, I do not think it moral to refuse business to persons because you find those persons to be offensive to your religious beliefs.

    Now who’s asserting facts not in evidence? Is it that you can’t see the argument actually presented, don’t, or won’t? I’m getting the impression you suffer from a defect of the will rather than the intellect.

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