On The Gay Wedding Cake Refusal

On one level it angers me a deep Christian thinks he can refuse to make a wedding cake for a gay couple’s wedding, On another level it is simply an interesting legal case. How does it compare with refusing to serve black students at a lunch counter decades ago?

We all agree we can stand on a corner and state our religious views with government arresting us. The cake baker says creating a wedding cake is his artistic expression of his religious beliefs. It is his free speech he says. The gay couple he turned down say they were treated like the black lunch counter customers in Greensboro, NC, in 1960 who were refused service and were discriminated against because of their race. They see it as discrimination against gay couples.

If the Woolworth store management had said, “Making grilled cheese sandwiches is an artistic expression of my religious free speech. My First Amendment rights are violated if I have to serve these black students my beautiful sandwiches,” what might have happened? It seems like giving the cake baker a pass on serving gay customers is like going back to segregation. But, ultimately conservative courts may say the baker’s First Amendment rights allow him to refuse.

Maybe I don’t understand law, but the solution seems simple. We are a country of equal opportunity and have such in our laws. Any business that intersects government must follow this legal principle. The cake baker has a certificate from the local health inspector.

Court dismissed.

27 Responses

  1. There is not a Christian baker who would refuse a customer who is homosexual. There are Christian bakers who would refuse to make something opposed to their values. Same for anyone. No one should be forced to print a pamphlet going against their beliefs. No one should be forced to print a t-shirt with something offensive on it. No one should be forced to rent space on a billboard if they don’t agree with the message. No one should be forced to bake a cake in the shape of something offensive. No one should be forced to bake a cake with offensive decorations.

      1. As The Julius Project points out, there are plenty of fashion designers who have a priori stated they will not make clothes for Melania Trump because of her husband. Goose, Gander.

        A Christian, in good conscience, can sell a generic wedding cake to anyone. A liberal can sell clothes to anyone. Just like it is wrong to deny a black-skinned person a product or a service just because of their skin color, most of these other examples are wrong. What’s more, they are or should be illegal.

        The issue of home or apartment rentals has not arisen. That is a problem.

        1. Matt 8:44 there are plenty of fashion designers who have a priori stated they will not make clothes for Melania Trump because of her husband.

          I’m not a lawyer, but that does not seem the same as a retailer who opens her door to the public to sell appeal to women. The retailer pays sales taxes and meeting legal safety requirements, etc. of state/local governments. I don’t think that retailer can refuse service to a class of people like black or gay people. To me, that seems like what the cake baker is violating. The cake baker can refuse to write on the cake, “Christians are bigots because they hate gays” but should sell generic cakes or ones out of the cooler.

          Designing clothing for clients seems like an entirely different business. It’s like commissioning a painting. In addition, so far as I know, no designer has been asked by Ms. Trump and been refused.

          That said, it’s not classy, in my opinion, to brag you will refuse so and so service. I thought it was tacky when Bishops/priests refused to give communion to politicians they disagree with. I’m sure they have the right to do this, it’s just a little over the top with self righteousness.

          1. Communion, aka the Eucharist, is not to be distributed to non-Catholics or to Catholics in a state of mortal in or who bring scandal to the Church. It is not withheld “… to politicians they disagree with.”

            Jon Lindgren is not supposed to receive Communion because his not Catholic.

            An abortion clinic manager who spouted off about her Catholicity was denied Communion and informed of her excommunication in 1990 – http://www.nytimes.com/1990/06/30/us/bishop-excommunicates-2-in-texas-for-abortion-stance.html

            There are Catholic politicians who have been excommunicated but don’t advertise it. Those that may have been told include Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, Barbara Mikulski, Rudy Guiliani, Mario Cuomo, Gray Davis, etc.

      2. From the article you linked, “A devout Christian, he believes that he would displease God if he created cakes for same-sex weddings. Charlie Craig and David Mullin asked Phillips to “design and create a cake to celebrate their same-sex wedding.” Phillips declined to do so on religious grounds, but he advised them that he would be happy to make and sell them any other baked goods. Craig and Mullin promptly left the store, and obtained a wedding cake from another bakery.”

        Did you read the article you referenced? Clearly, the cake was to be made to celebrate their homosexual union.

        1. mark anthony

          I have a question in regard to these episodes. seems to me that anyone living in a large or medium sized city could easily find a shop that would gladly prepare a cake or a decoration for a SSM. no questions asked or concerns expressed. agents provocateurs?

          1. mark 11:24 The couple went elsewhere and had a cake made. But, that is not the issue. Back in the segregation days black people were turned down for housing, restaurants, schools and swimming pools. So they went elsewhere. The issue is whether a U. S. citizen should be subjected to discrimination.

        2. Matt 10:47 cake was to be made to celebrate their homosexual union

          That is true. What is unknown is whether the baker was to be required to write or design something on the cake that was against his beliefs, or, was he denying merely because they were homosexual. In one place I read the encounter between the couple and the baker lasted about 20 seconds. Paraphrasing, “Can I help you?” “Yes, we want a cake for our wedding.” “Sorry, I don’t do cakes for gay weddings.” Couple left.
          The baker was not asked to do anything but sell a cake. However, would it be reasonable to assume he thought he would have to write or design something signally approval? And, can what might be reasonable for him to assume or think justify his discrimination? All of these details are what will be sorted out.
          George Will wrote a column about various aspects of the case:

          1. You ignored the original referenced article YOU provided. You found George Will’s article which is strictly an opinion piece and not a story. The original story stated unequivocally that the two men wanted a “wedding cake to celebrate their same-sex” marriage. Bam. The baker said he no.

            Turn to the Trumps where dressmakers refuse to make a dress for Melania simply because of her husband. No where in any of the discussion is a desire by the Trumps to make a political statement of the dress; a wall, a tax cut, an immigration travel restriction, etc. The dressmakers simply did not want to be associated with the Trumps.

            Turn to the baker. He doesn’t want to have his artistry associated with homosexual unions.

            Since most wedding cakes have some reference to a bride and groom, often a likeness of a man and a woman, he is standing on firm ground to refuse them based on his Constitutional rights.

            For those who don’t think bakers consider themselves artists, there is a cable show entitled Cake Boss. I recommend at least one viewing.

            Also, I’m pretty sure no one recorded the exchange of said homosexuals and said Christian baker. No doubt the two versions of the interaction wil be at the center of the US Supreme Court arguments.

          2. Matt 9:09 And why the dog?
            I wondered the same thing–lots of pictures of gay couple dolls on cakes. That was the only one with a dog.

            And, one wonders, why a cake? Churches were always the most desirable place for weddings. Now motels, parks, whatever are more popular. Maybe the cake will pass in popularity. I remember a wedding in Fargo of a “60’s couple.” Their cake was banana nut bread with cream cheese frosting. (They got divorced later so maybe the cake failed them.)

          3. Catcher re the dog: Puppy love?

            Good one. There must have been a dog in their lives and they wanted it included in the celebration. I hope they didn’t get divorced and had a fight over it.

          4. Catcher 11:01 Maybe dog was on the menu for the reception

            That, or maybe it was there for protection. It might have sent the message, “If you read any anti gay scripture to us we’ll sic the dog on you.”

          5. Catcher

            @11;07; That reminds me of the story of the mail man that complained to a lady about her dangerous dog. A few days later he saw the dog on the porch just laying there doing nothing. Thinking the lady had done something, he started to leave for the gate. Just then the dog exploded towards him, and bit his leg. The lady came out, and said, “Rover! stop that”. The lady explained she had the dog castrated, he mail man screamed she should have had his teeth removed. “I could tell right off he wasn’t going to screw me”.

  2. Jay S

    The issue that the blog writer and many liberals fail to realize, is that the cake decorators must come to the wedding event to set up the cake, unlike serving someone lunch with a cheese sandwich. If it was just a matter of making the cake and the couple comes and gets it themselves at the place of business, like your grilled cheese sandwich example, it would be a different argument.But you are asking the cake decorators to take part in the ceremony by being on site at a event that they disagree with to set up a cake.I don’t know of many people that serve grilled cheese sandwiches off site. And yes it does go against their artistic expression, and businesses should be able to refuse service to anyone in a capitalistic society but that is different debate.

    1. Jay S 8:58 Thanks for commenting.
      cake decorators must come to the wedding to set up the cake

      From what I read that is not correct. They set up cakes at weddings sometimes and sometimes sell pre made wedding cakes off the shelf. The fellow who refused the gay couple did both. When he turned them down he did not bother to ask if they wanted a custom cake or off the shelf cake. If they had said the wanted an off the shelf cake it would have been identical to the grill cheese sandwich example. He turned they down because he thinks gays are sinful.

  3. Henry

    It is interesting that Jon was not on his ivory tower when the Nazi children out in Leith, ND were being denied the sale of water. Now, suddenly, when homosexuals need to stuff their face with cake, there is a constitutional crisis.

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