Should Bakers Be Forced To Put Anti-Gay Messages On Cakes?

Frosting for thought

Colorado baker faces complaint for refusing anti-gay message on cake

A dispute over a cake in Colorado raises a new question about gay rights and religious freedom: If bakers can be fined for refusing to serve married gay couples, can they also be punished for declining to make a cake with anti-gay statements?

A baker in suburban Denver who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding is fighting a legal order requiring him to serve gay couples even though he argued that would violate his religious beliefs.

But now a separate case puts a twist in the debate over discrimination in public businesses, and it underscores the tensions that can arise when religious freedom intersects with a growing acceptance of gay couples.

Marjorie Silva, owner of Denver’s Azucar Bakery, is facing a complaint from a customer alleging she discriminated against his religious beliefs.

According to Silva, the man who visited last year wanted a Bible-shaped cake, which she agreed to make. Just as they were getting ready to complete the order, Silva said the man showed her a piece of paper with hateful words about gays that he wanted written on the cake. He also wanted the cake to have two men holding hands and an X on top of them, Silva said.

She refused to put the “hateful words” on the cake, and nowhere within the Associated Press article are those words laid out. She offered the man, Bill Jack of Castle Rock, icing to do it himself. He was upset, so he has filed suit with Colorado’s Civil Rights Division. The Washington Post reports that one of the phrases he wanted was “God Hates Gays”. The Christian Science Monitor notes Mr. Jack wanted “anti-gay passages he said were from the Bible.”

But gay rights advocates say there is a significant difference in the cases. Silva refused to put specific words on a cake while Jack Phillips, the baker who turned away the gay couple, refused to make any wedding cake for them in principle.

“There’s no law that says that a cake-maker has to write obscenities in the cake just because the customer wants it,” said Mark Silverstein, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Colorado.

Perhaps the ACLU of Colorado can tell us exactly what the obscenities are? Because I haven’t seen any as of yet. But, of course, the ACLU, along with all those who are “defending” the bakery, will find all sorts of excuses to find a way to make sure that discrimination a one way affair. What if a Christian, Muslim, Jewish, etc baker feels that a cake with a pro-gay message is “obscene”?

The case comes as Republicans in Colorado’s Legislature talk about changing the state law requiring that businesses serve gays in the wake of a series of incidents where religious business owners rejected orders to celebrate gay weddings. Republican Sen. Kevin Lundberg said the new case shows a “clash of values” and argued Colorado’s public accommodation law is not working.

“The state shouldn’t come in and say to the individual businessman, ‘You must violate your religious — and I’ll say religious-slash-moral convictions. This baker (Silva), thought that was a violation of their moral convictions. The other baker, which we all know very well because of all the stories, clearly that was a violation of their religious convictions,” Lundberg said.

I will fully admit, I have to wonder if this was a setup. However, regardless, I think the baker has the best idea. The baker makes the cake, and gives the purchaser some icing to write their own message. If they don’t like it, they can take their business elsewhere. If I don’t like the way someone does business, I don’t bother doing business with them. There is a nationwide chain at Crabtree Valley Mall that, as of the last time I was there a few years ago, only took credit, not debit. They never asked for ID nor looked at my checkcard with my face on it, hence, I do not trust them. I walked out of a car dealership recently because I didn’t like the way a sales manager berated sales associates on the sale floor in view of other employees and customers. I could mention lots more, and I bet you could, too.

What if someone wanted to put a pro-NAMBLA (North American Man Boy Love Association) message on a cake? Or, say, went into a baker who obviously was pro-Obama, and wanted an anti-Obama message? Should they be forced to make the cakes?

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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