Religious Liberty or Discrimination?

Jack Phillips, Owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop

Should a wedding cake owner be allowed to avoid making cakes for a same sex wedding?  Is the owner discriminating against the couple, or simply exercising their religious liberty?  A recent case in the Colorado courts ruled that the owner was discriminating against gays, and ruled in favor of the gay couple.  Now the case is headed for the U.S. Supreme Court.  What do you think?

5 comments on “Religious Liberty or Discrimination?

  1. It is interesting to look at the facts in this case. The owner gave the couple a list of other bakeries they could choose from. The owner would have sold them anything else in the store that he bakes, just not a wedding cake. It seems that they couple is trying to bully the store owner and his religion.

  2. I also posted this at Wheat and Tares, and commenter Babaroni said it quite eloquently:

    This isn’t just about some people being forced to treat other people nicely even if they don’t feel like it. This is about *all* of us living in a society which actually works, and in which equal opportunities are available to all. Because when equal opportunities are *not* available to everyone, we all end up having to pick up the slack.

    Understand that if you argue that business owners should not have to do business with gays if they don’t feel like it, you are also arguing that business owners should not have to do business with black people, Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Mormons, women, disabled people, or what-have-you, if they don’t feel like it. That is a recipe for a society where no one does business with anyone else, and where people who are members of the minority group in their city or state cannot obtain needed help and services.

    Unless you are willing to argue that businesses should be able to refuse service to racial minorities and religious minorities, you cannot make an honest argument that they should be able to refuse service to gay people. And while I know that some people here would (MI) would come down on the side that Woolworth’s should still be able to have a “Whites Only” policy at its lunch counter (I cannot even imagine how anyone could believe this, but I’ll have to take you at your word that you are truly that devoted to your exclusionary beliefs), I think most of us can agree that the Civil Rights Movement was a just and proper implementation of the state’s authority.

    It’s easy to say that someone should “just take their business elsewhere,” but black people in the south didn’t have this option — many or even most white-owned businesses would not serve or seat them in many localities. They were confined to the black businesses in segregated black areas. They were kept in deliberate poverty and isolation. If Woolworth’s wouldn’t seat them, they couldn’t just go to Denny’s down the street for their lunch.

    There are 30 states where discrimination against gays is absolutely legal. Most gays in those areas wouldn’t even bother *trying* to get someone to bake them a rainbow cake. They are too busy trying not to lose their jobs because someone found out they were gay, and finding landlords who will rent to a same-sex couple. This isn’t just about wedding cakes.

  3. Shauna,

    I’d also be curious what you thought of my post on Re-evaluating Gay Scriptures.

  4. Babaroni said it better than could I. I would add; however, that if the cake business is being licensed by the city, it would seem reasonable to follow the city’s standard. Can a gas station refuse to sell gas to a gay couple? Can a grocery store? If not, then there is no reason why a cake store gets to exclude them.

  5. There IS a difference between a civil rights issue and a moral issue. If a gas station refused to sell gas to someone because of their sexual orientation, religion, race or culture, of course that is a civil rights issue. If a bakery refused to sell ANY products for the same reasons – civil rights issue . If a restaurant refused to sell to someone based on sexual orientation, religion, race, etc.- civil rights issue. The moral part of this is when a judge tries to force a business owner to do something against his/her moral compass. The man would sell to the gay couple, just not a wedding cake – against his moral values. If a doctor refuses to provide care for someone based on the criteria of sexual orientation, religion, etc. – civil rights issue. If a doctor declines to provide an abortion – moral/religious issue. If a business owner or religious organization declines to provide birth control – moral/religious issue. People should be free to follow the Bill of Rights, which protects religion without being dictated to by judges, the government, etc. No one is forcing people to use those businesses if they disagree with the personal values of the business owner.

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