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Source: (consider it) Thread: Dead Horses: Stonespring's Same Sex Wedding Photography Question
Matt Black

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In the bakery case, it's not even a case of 'refusing to serve the gays' IMO, but more a refusal to be co-opted into supporting a cause with which you fundamentally disagree.

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Penny S
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I actually have developed some sympathy for the bakers, having read about the situation more fully. Given the number of cake decorating paraphernalia shops, I would have thought the customers could easily have ordered a plain iced cake and tarted it up themselves. I'm wondering if they deliberately set the bakers up. Usually I'm on the other side of these arguments. I would be in the case of a wedding cake.
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Lamb Chopped
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quote:
In your comment , do you do think such discrimination should be illegal, but invoking the law should be done infrequently. Or are you suggesting such a law should not exist and recourse requires a new law when the harm grows to a certain point?
Neither. As for the first, there's no way to make that happen; if the law exists, people are going to invoke it, even over paltry stuff like photographers. It's more up to their personalities than anything else. And only they (and God, I suppose) can do anything about changing that.

Nor would I suggest repealing laws that already exist and were created for good reason during horrendous times.

I suppose what I am recommending is that we refrain from passing new, sweeping laws in a fit of pique, simply because we can (see: current political climate) and because we are failing to distinguish between real harm and simple insult. And perhaps because we are unwilling to tackle the hard work of deciding where the line between the two lies.

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Crœsos
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quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
In the bakery case, it's not even a case of 'refusing to serve the gays' IMO, but more a refusal to be co-opted into supporting a cause with which you fundamentally disagree.

I'm not sure this is the case. Is there anyone who believes that a baker truly endorses each and every message inscribed on a cake? For instance, if Dave is truly the "World's Best Dad", does that mean a baker should refuse to make a cake for John with the same inscription? After all, only one of them can truly be the best.

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
For instance, if Dave is truly the "World's Best Dad", does that mean a baker should refuse to make a cake for John with the same inscription? After all, only one of them can truly be the best.

This isn't a serious comment. Find me someone who seriously believes that "World's Best Dad" is an objective statement of Dad-ranking, and I'll point at him and laugh.
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Antisocial Alto
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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
I suppose what I am recommending is that we refrain from passing new, sweeping laws in a fit of pique, simply because we can (see: current political climate) and because we are failing to distinguish between real harm and simple insult. And perhaps because we are unwilling to tackle the hard work of deciding where the line between the two lies.

How many times, in your view, does a person have to be "simply insulted" before it becomes real harm? If a group of kids shouts "fag" at your son on the bus every day, does that not eventually cause him real harm?
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Crœsos
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quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
For instance, if Dave is truly the "World's Best Dad", does that mean a baker should refuse to make a cake for John with the same inscription? After all, only one of them can truly be the best.

This isn't a serious comment. Find me someone who seriously believes that "World's Best Dad" is an objective statement of Dad-ranking, and I'll point at him and laugh.
I'm pretty sure that political opinions aren't objectively ranked either, at least not in any sense that doesn't render the adverb "objectively" meaningless. So yes, it's as serious a comment as the pretense that we typically expect bakers to exercise editorial and censorial control over the messages on cakes.

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quetzalcoatl
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That's what I find bizarre - that baking a cake is being seen as a political act, with support for some causes and disapproval for others. Give me strength. What is the word for this - precious?

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
So yes, it's as serious a comment as the pretense that we typically expect bakers to exercise editorial and censorial control over the messages on cakes.

Then you've missed the point.

First, we are not talking about whether a baker must refuse a particular message, but about whether he may.

quote:

[Mostly irrelevant aside]
Most of the time, one would not expect a baker to have a particular animus about declaring John to be "The World's Best Dad" - everyone understands that this is not a literal statement, and doesn't imply, for example, that John is better than the baker's own dad.

If, hypothetically, the baker was John's ex-wife, and John had done a runner leaving her and his children unsupported, and had chosen to have no further contact with his children, she might object to making a "World's Best Dad" cake for John and his new family. Or not - I'm not interested in how she should think, but I claim that she has the right to refuse to make a cake for John if she thinks he sucks. I don't think anyone disputes that - but of course, Dads called John aren't a protected class.
[end of irrelevant aside]

Second, the cake and its message is, quite explicitly, political speech. It's a cake for a group campaigning for the legalization of same-sex marriage in NI, carrying a political message, to be used at an event to further that campaign.

Let's take the protected class out of the equation for the moment, and suppose that, for example, the local Conservative Party is arranging a fundraiser. I would agree with your claim that the fact that a local merchant is providing food, flowers, or whatever else doesn't imply that that merchant supports the Conservative Party, but I would also claim that if a merchant found the Tories and their goals repugnant, he would have the right to refuse their business. Further, it would be entirely reasonable for him to be happy to cater dinner parties for individual Tories, but not happy to cater a Tory party gathering.

(That's the different between "I don't want to serve Tories" and "I don't want to work to further the aims of the Tory party".)

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quetzalcoatl
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But the Tories, (I think) are not part of a group with protected characteristics. Gay people are.

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
But the Tories, (I think) are not part of a group with protected characteristics. Gay people are.

quote:

"Let's take the protected class out of the equation for the moment"

Going back to the gay rights cake, we re-introduce the protected class, but note that protection is given to sexuality and not to political opinions (including about whether same-sex marriage should be legal.)

It is clear that the baker cannot refuse to serve a customer because he is gay. It is clear that the baker cannot refuse to serve a customer because he's doing something which is a proxy for being gay (such as celebrating a union with another man) - this is like the way you can't discriminate against "pregnant people" and claim that you're not discriminating against women.

It's not obvious to me that "not talking business from an organization campaigning for same-sex marriage" is the same as discriminating against gay people.

(Obviously at some level it is, because people who oppose gay marriage do, by construction discriminate between homo- and hetero-sexual coupling. But the law of the land in NI is also discriminatory in this way.)

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:

Obviously at some level it is,

And this is fundamentally the problem. It is discrimination, full stop. And baking a cake for a gay rights event in no way harms the baker. If LGBTQ+ people attain all the rights of straight people, it changes nothing in regards to the beliefs of those who disagree this should be so.
LGBTQ+ people attaining rights in no way harms people who believe God hates the LGBTQ+ lifestyles.

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:

Obviously at some level it is,

And this is fundamentally the problem. It is discrimination, full stop.

As is the law in NI! The question is whether refusing to support a gay rights cause is the same as refusing to serve gay customers. Everybody agrees that the latter is illegal. Several of the arguments used by the courts in the US in the cake / photographer cases suggest that the former may not be illegal, at least in the US.

quote:
And baking a cake for a gay rights event in no way harms the baker.
I would have described being forced to act in opposition to one's deeply-held beliefs as intrinsically harmful.

The question is whether the state should force this harm on businesspeople in furtherance of the state's legitimate aim in defending the rights of its citizens. Does the state do this, and should it?

Note, again, that this isn't the bakery refusing any kind of service to gay people. The bakery is refusing to sell a cake advocating same-sex marriage to anyone, and whilst gay people have an obvious and stronger interest in same-sex marriage, the majority of SSM supporters are straight. I don't know whether that makes a difference.

Am I splitting hairs? Maybe, but that's because I think this case comes pretty close to the edge of what is legal and what is illegal, so a certain amount of hair-splittery is inevitable.

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Palimpsest
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quote:
Originally posted by Penny S:
I actually have developed some sympathy for the bakers, having read about the situation more fully. Given the number of cake decorating paraphernalia shops, I would have thought the customers could easily have ordered a plain iced cake and tarted it up themselves. I'm wondering if they deliberately set the bakers up. Usually I'm on the other side of these arguments. I would be in the case of a wedding cake.

It's always possible to cope with discrimination, legal or illegal. The Green book is a good example. At a certain point in the American society we decided not to allow this discrimination because it was a wide spread conspiracy against certain classes rather than an occasional personal animus.

Suggesting "just cope with inconvenience" strategies can work both ways. If the bakery got rid of the ability to do inscriptions for anyone they would not have been sued. Surely all of their customers could easily learn to do their own inscriptions.

As for hairsplitting, I think there's a very feeble argument that cake inscriptions fall under the freedom of the press rather than the laws which prevent denial of service of baked goods to protected groups.

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Ricardus
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
But the Tories, (I think) are not part of a group with protected characteristics. Gay people are.

Actually, according to the diversity training I completed the other day, you cannot discriminate against employees on the grounds of their political opinions.

This article would suggest the source of this legal opinion is an ECHR judgement that Serco should not have sacked a bus driver for being a member of the BNP. And although I think most people would be uncomfortable with the idea that someone could be sacked purely for membership of a political party, I would be very surprised if people also thought a baker shouldn't be allowed to refuse to make a 'Voluntarily repatriate all immigrants' cake.

ETA: the article also suggests that laws against political discrimination are stronger in Northern Ireland than the rest of the UK, presumably because political discrimination in practice would mean Unionists refusing to employ Republicans and vice versa.

[ 11. July 2014, 22:24: Message edited by: Ricardus ]

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Doc Tor
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quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
quote:
And baking a cake for a gay rights event in no way harms the baker.
I would have described being forced to act in opposition to one's deeply-held beliefs as intrinsically harmful.
Being asked to bake a cake and inscribe it as the customer wishes is not "being forced to act in opposition to one's deeply-held beliefs".

It's not like they're being asked to take it up the wrong'un, an act which would more closely fit your level of outrage.

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Ricardus
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The issue isn't the asking. The issue is not being allowed to refuse.

If your publisher asks you to write your next novel in the style of Stephanie Meyer, are you morally obliged to accept?

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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quetzalcoatl
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quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
The issue isn't the asking. The issue is not being allowed to refuse.

If your publisher asks you to write your next novel in the style of Stephanie Meyer, are you morally obliged to accept?

No, but legally writers don't possess protected characteristics, as far as I can make out. Gay people do. They are one of a number of groups of people whom businesses cannot legally refuse service to, if the reason is to do with their protected characteristics. Thus, a baker cannot refuse service to black people, because they are black.

The complication in this case is to do with the writing on the cake, as no doubt the bakers' barrister will argue that they don't mind serving gays, but object to gay marriage. We shall see.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
The issue isn't the asking. The issue is not being allowed to refuse.

If your publisher asks you to write your next novel in the style of Stephanie Meyer, are you morally obliged to accept?

Apples and spanners.

Or, what quetzalcoatl said.

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:

The complication in this case is to do with the writing on the cake, as no doubt the bakers' barrister will argue that they don't mind serving gays, but object to gay marriage. We shall see.

Yes, that is the thing that makes is potentially different from earlier cases. One assumes that the bakers would refuse to make this cake for a heterosexual couple who were involved in the campaign for same-sex marriage as well.

It is of interest that same-sex marriage is currently illegal in NI, although I don't think that should affect this ruling - it doesn't seem right that the status of political speech depends on whether it is in support of or in opposition to the legal status quo.

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quetzalcoatl
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I don't know enough about indirect discrimination, to say if this is applicable. I mean even if gay people are not being directly discriminated against, is there still some form of discrimination because of the cake inscription. Maybe some legal expert knows more?

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Ricardus
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
No, but legally writers don't possess protected characteristics, as far as I can make out. Gay people do. They are one of a number of groups of people whom businesses cannot legally refuse service to, if the reason is to do with their protected characteristics. Thus, a baker cannot refuse service to black people, because they are black.

The complication in this case is to do with the writing on the cake, as no doubt the bakers' barrister will argue that they don't mind serving gays, but object to gay marriage. We shall see.

Yes, and the distinction a number of us have made is between refusing a person and refusing a piece of work.

It is clear to me that people have a right to protection. It is less clear that ideas do.

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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Ricardus
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
The issue isn't the asking. The issue is not being allowed to refuse.

If your publisher asks you to write your next novel in the style of Stephanie Meyer, are you morally obliged to accept?

Apples and spanners.

Or, what quetzalcoatl said.

You miss the point of my question, which is my own fault for not making it.

The default position is that outwith contractual agreements, tradesmen are not obliged to accept any particular job if they don't want it. That is more or less what distinguishes a tradesman from an employee.

In other words, it isn't up to the baker to demonstrate he would suffer harm by baking the cake. It's up to someone else to show that other people would suffer harm as a consequence of his refusal.

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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Palimpsest
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It may be different where you are, but most of the United States the doctrine of Public Accomodation applies to business that serve the public. Public Accomodations may not discriminate
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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by Palimpsest:
It may be different where you are, but most of the United States the doctrine of Public Accomodation applies to business that serve the public. Public Accomodations may not discriminate

But, once again, there is no claim that this has anything to do with not serving gay people - it's about not wanting to produce political material in support of a change in the law to permit gay marriage. And whilst an opposition to legal same-sex marriage is de facto discriminatory, it is not clear to me that it is illegal discrimination.
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Palimpsest
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You think a grocery store with sincere Christian beliefs can discriminate by not selling food to gay people because they might be going to a picnic at a pride festival? What possible service or product couldn't be used by someone to make political speech?

[ 12. July 2014, 21:54: Message edited by: Palimpsest ]

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Ricardus
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quote:
Originally posted by Palimpsest:
You think a grocery store with sincere Christian beliefs can discriminate by not selling food to gay people because they might be going to a picnic at a pride festival? What possible service or product couldn't be used by someone to make political speech?

But that is not even remotely comparable to the situation under discussion. There was no 'might' about the purpose of the cake. The baker was asked to bake a bespoke cake with a slogan supporting gay marriage. Supporting gay marriage was the whole raison d'être of the cake. The cake was politicised from the moment of inception.

Yes, you can use random groceries in a politicised way, e.g. by buying tomatoes and throwing them at Peter Robinson. But the tomato only becomes political at the moment of being thrown. There is nothing inherently political about a tomato.

Or maybe you lot are right and I am just hair-splitting. Every object is political regardless of its generally accepted usage. Every tomato is a potential statement in the war against homophobia. But then we're back to the position I thought I was advancing as a reductio ad absurdum, that a tradesman must accept each and every commission that is sent their way - because who knows? Doc Tor's publisher may want him to write like Stephanie Meyer to show solidarity with the Mormons - so how dare Doc Tor deny the rights of a protected religious group by a refusal?

[ 12. July 2014, 22:21: Message edited by: Ricardus ]

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
Yes, you can use random groceries in a politicised way, e.g. by buying tomatoes and throwing them at Peter Robinson. But the tomato only becomes political at the moment of being thrown. There is nothing inherently political about a tomato.

I'm not clear how refusing to serve gays, and refusing to serve gays who want a cake saying "Yay for Gay," are all that different. If a part of your business model is putting slogans as chosen by your customers on cakes, then you're saying, "I am willing to put self-chosen slogans on cakes for straights, but not for gays." Which is to say, you are denying service to gays for part of your product line. I can well understand a gay person seeing this as a camel's nose inside the tent.

I wonder if perhaps you could worm out of the problem by having a short list, completely non-partisan, of slogans you're willing to put on cakes. "We will only put the following things on cakes:

Happy Birthday
Happy Anniversary
Congratulations
Yay for Us"

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quetzalcoatl
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How about 'Happy divorce'?

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Palimpsest
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quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:

But that is not even remotely comparable to the situation under discussion. There was no 'might' about the purpose of the cake. The baker was asked to bake a bespoke cake with a slogan supporting gay marriage. Supporting gay marriage was the whole raison d'être of the cake. The cake was politicised from the moment of inception.

Yes, you can use random groceries in a politicised way, e.g. by buying tomatoes and throwing them at Peter Robinson. But the tomato only becomes political at the moment of being thrown. There is nothing inherently political about a tomato.

Or maybe you lot are right and I am just hair-splitting. Every object is political regardless of its generally accepted usage. Every tomato is a potential statement in the war against homophobia. But then we're back to the position I thought I was advancing as a reductio ad absurdum, that a tradesman must accept each and every commission that is sent their way - because who knows? Doc Tor's publisher may want him to write like Stephanie Meyer to show solidarity with the Mormons - so how dare Doc Tor deny the rights of a protected religious group by a refusal?

Yes you are hairsplitting. The cake in the Oregon Bakery was ordered to celebrate a wedding. It may have been used at a private celebration. Like your hypothetical tomato it only becomes "political when it was actually shown and served.

As for your reduction ad absurdum case, it's the actual law which created to deal with the absurd reality that there were many commercial businesses who would simply not serve people in a discriminated class.

Your case about Dr. Tor having to write a specific book is not applicable unless he advertises services as a public stenographer.

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by Palimpsest:
You think a grocery store with sincere Christian beliefs can discriminate by not selling food to gay people because they might be going to a picnic at a pride festival? What possible service or product couldn't be used by someone to make political speech?

Let me give you an example. If I was a printer, I think I would refuse to print BNP campaign literature. I'd print stuff for any of the other parties, some of whom I oppose on almost every one of their stated policies, but I wouldn't help the BNP.

On the other hand, if an individual racist wanted to order wedding invitations, or personal stationery or something, I'd sell it to him. (Unless he wanted white power slogans on it or something.)

[I would, I think in everyone's jurisdiction, be legally free to do so, because racist "politicians" aren't a protected class.]

Now, it's entirely possible that Mr. Racist might take the notepaper he bought from me, and use it to write letters to his racist friends and campaign for his racist cause. But I see a rather stark difference between selling paper to the man and printing his racist tripe.

If I was opposed to equal marriage rights for same-sex couples, I imagine that I might want to make a similar distinction.

Whether, if I am prepared to serve the man but not his politics, I am discriminating against him in an illegal fashion is the question here.

Palimpsest - we're not talking about the Oregon bakers. We are talking about an entirely different baker in Northern Ireland, who refused to produce a cake carrying a "support same-sex marriage" slogan for a gay rights organization. This is explicit political speech in the way that someone's wedding cake isn't. Some of the arguments made by the courts in the Oregon baker and the gay wedding photographer cases suggest that a US court might treat this case, with its explicit political speech, differently.

The law in Northern Ireland is (obviously) not the same, so I am interested in both how this case will be treated in the NI courts, and how a similar case would be treated in the US.

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Ricardus
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
I'm not clear how refusing to serve gays, and refusing to serve gays who want a cake saying "Yay for Gay," are all that different.

But straight people are in favour of gay marriage too, and could want to order such a cake. (It's not even clear from the article that the bloke who ordered the cake was gay.) In fact I'm sure, even in Northern Ireland, numerically more straight people than gay people are in favour of gay marriage, simply because there are more straight people in the world. Conversely, there is no evidence that the bakery would have refused, say, a World's Best Dad or a Lisburn Distillery FC cake for a gay man.

The bakery is not (on the evidence so far) discriminating against gays. It is discriminating against people who support gay marriage, and it is by no means clear that such people are a protected category.

Presumably you think 'people who support gay marriage' ought to be a protected category - in which case, we might be talking past each other less if you would say why you think so?

quote:

I wonder if perhaps you could worm out of the problem by having a short list, completely non-partisan, of slogans you're willing to put on cakes.

In my experience businesses that offer that sort of service usually have a disclaimer on the lines of 'we reserve the right to refuse any slogan we find inappropriate'.
quote:
Originally posted by Palimpsest:
The cake in the Oregon Bakery was ordered to celebrate a wedding.

OK, I see the confusion and I apologise for ranting at you. I wasn't talking about the case in Oregon. I was talking about the case in Northern Ireland.

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lilBuddha
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LC,

Racism is harmful to those it is aimed against.
SSM does no inherent harm to anyone.
Despite the rhetoric, if I decide to marry someone of the same gender, no Christian is actually harmed.

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Hallellou, hallellou

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Anglican't
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quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
I'm not clear how refusing to serve gays, and refusing to serve gays who want a cake saying "Yay for Gay," are all that different.

But straight people are in favour of gay marriage too, and could want to order such a cake. (It's not even clear from the article that the bloke who ordered the cake was gay.) In fact I'm sure, even in Northern Ireland, numerically more straight people than gay people are in favour of gay marriage, simply because there are more straight people in the world. Conversely, there is no evidence that the bakery would have refused, say, a World's Best Dad or a Lisburn Distillery FC cake for a gay man.

The bakery is not (on the evidence so far) discriminating against gays. It is discriminating against people who support gay marriage, and it is by no means clear that such people are a protected category.

There are also some gay people, of course, who are not in favour of gay marriage. Admittedly not many, but they do exist.
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ChastMastr
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I just want to eat a wedding cake.

I'm not getting married or anything, I just like the taste.

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ChastMastr
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Jokes aside, I am ... conflicted on this. Mainly if I put some sort of genuinely nasty group, like the KKK or whatever, in the "what if they wanted such and such a service?" category. (Kind of the way the ACLU, and quite rightly, defends everyone's freedom to be treated the same under the law, which has indeed been put to the test in lawsuits dealing with the KKK.)

I would think it would be... messed up if two people (gay or otherwise, LOL, though somehow I think that's pretty rare) from the KKK would be disallowed a wedding cake.

But I also think that if a baker did not want to put, say, a "White Power" or, I don't know, a lynching scene or something on a cake, then they should not be forced to.

There seems to me that there should be a line somewhere. And not based on "well, most people like this sort of thing but most people don't like that sort of thing"--part of the point is protecting the minority, whether racial, sexual, or ideological.

Of course, they could say, "We'll make you any cake of whatever kind, but we reserve the right of refusal of words or images."

I mean, getting away from ideological things altogether, what about cakes (for any gender or combination thereof) of a specifically sexual nature (decorations or shape, I mean)? Those do exist, after all, mainly for bachelor/bachelorette parties, I think, but what if someone didn't want to bake a cake like that? Don't people have to go to specialty shops to have ones like that made?

Thoughts?

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ChastMastr
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quote:
Originally posted by Antisocial Alto:
It's not about the actions of one business. It's about allowing the idea to flourish that it's OK to tell certain people that they're second-class citizens. And groups of people repeatedly being told they're worthless *does* cause harm to society- look at the despair in our inner cities and the suicide rate among our gay teens.

Amen. And, again, you don't need to sue Denny's; just tell the people at the corporate level about the behavior of the local Denny's. If you owned a restaurant chain and found that one of them was behaving in such an inappropriate manner, wouldn't you want to know about it and take action?

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by ChastMastr:
I mean, getting away from ideological things altogether, what about cakes (for any gender or combination thereof) of a specifically sexual nature (decorations or shape, I mean)? Those do exist, after all, mainly for bachelor/bachelorette parties, I think, but what if someone didn't want to bake a cake like that? Don't people have to go to specialty shops to have ones like that made?

Thoughts?

Yes. There is no suggestion in any of this that normal cake bakers are going to have to start making penis or vulva cakes. That's really a red herring-cum-straw man. The question is whether you can withhold a service you normally provide from some but not all customers.

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Ricardus
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What 'service' are you referring to, though?

The provision of cakes with pro-SSM slogans? But that is a service the bakery refuses to all customers.

Or a hypothesised agreement to provide whatever decoration the customer wishes? But do we have any evidence that such an agreement exists? What if some customer wants a penis cake? Do you think in that circumstance the baker would have the right to refuse the customer?

[ 13. July 2014, 21:21: Message edited by: Ricardus ]

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
What 'service' are you referring to, though?

The provision of cakes with pro-SSM slogans? But that is a service the bakery refuses to all customers.

Or a hypothesised agreement to provide whatever decoration the customer wishes? But do we have any evidence that such an agreement exists? What if some customer wants a penis cake? Do you think in that circumstance the baker would have the right to refuse the customer?

This is disingenuous. Penis-shaped cakes are not an example of just another cake. It's a specialty item -- there are specialty shops that sell them. It is not just another cake. This kind of arguing is exactly the same thing as "If we allow gays to marry soon we will have to allow people to marry their dogs." Exact same kind of disingenuous twisting of analogy.

As for slogans, saying "this kind of slogan is okay but that kind is not", when the two kinds roughly correspond to two different people groups, is de facto discrimination.

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Ricardus
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:

As for slogans, saying "this kind of slogan is okay but that kind is not", when the two kinds roughly correspond to two different people groups, is de facto discrimination.

The question is whether you can formulate that in a way that does not oblige bakers to accept orders that most of us would find repellent. What if someone came in and demanded a 'Free Ratko Mladić' cake, and, on being refused, argued that it 'corresponded to' the Serbian ethnic group, on the grounds that you're not likely to find many non-Serbs who would want one?

Yes, my argument is basically a form of slippery slope. That's because nobody has as yet proposed a convincing set of brakes, but has acted as though the brakes are perfectly obvious. Believe it or not, things can be totally obvious to one person and not to another ...

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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mousethief

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At least you've let go of the fatuous penis cake example. I'll take what small victories I can.

I don't see a problem with a baker deciding not to do cakes with political messages, to avoid having to do political messages they find abhorrent. We have a much stronger culture of freedom of speech in the US than in most of Europe; much that would be illegal on the right side of the pond is legal here. The ideal of "I despise what you think but will defend to the death your right to say it" still has legs here.

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:

I don't see a problem with a baker deciding not to do cakes with political messages, to avoid having to do political messages they find abhorrent.

So your position is that, if a baker makes someone a cake that says "Conserve Energy - Save the Planet", or "No War for Oil", he should be obliged to make a "Free Ratko Mladic" cake should a customer so desire?
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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:

I don't see a problem with a baker deciding not to do cakes with political messages, to avoid having to do political messages they find abhorrent.

So your position is that, if a baker makes someone a cake that says "Conserve Energy - Save the Planet", or "No War for Oil", he should be obliged to make a "Free Ratko Mladic" cake should a customer so desire?
Pretty much.

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Palimpsest
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I can see the confusion between the Oregon Case and Northern Ireland. What was being asked in Oregon and the non-discrimination laws are different.

I am curious about the Northern Ireland law. Is it viewed as the bakers right to not inscribe cakes for Catholic centric Holidays or Protestant Holidays?

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by Palimpsest:

I am curious about the Northern Ireland law. Is it viewed as the bakers right to not inscribe cakes for Catholic centric Holidays or Protestant Holidays?

I was wondering something along those lines - I was wondering about the local Orangemen trying to purchase banners and sashes from a Catholic uniform maker (or whoever makes sashes and banners).

It's hard to imagine an Orangeman doing that, but in the event, I wonder whether the Catholic businessman would be legally able to turn away his business.

By analogy to the Mladic example above, it sounds like Mousethief would say no, and it sounds like Mousethief would also force a Californian gay baker to bake "support Prop 8" cakes.

I would assume that no court in NI would force a Catholic to make Orange sashes.

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orfeo

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:

I don't see a problem with a baker deciding not to do cakes with political messages, to avoid having to do political messages they find abhorrent.

So your position is that, if a baker makes someone a cake that says "Conserve Energy - Save the Planet", or "No War for Oil", he should be obliged to make a "Free Ratko Mladic" cake should a customer so desire?
Pretty much.
Early in the life of this thread I made the point that any 'speech' involved is the speech of the customer, more than the photographer or cake baker. Which leads me to agree with you. If someone is in the business of selling cakes with slogans on them, they probably shouldn't be trying to vet the slogans ot only permit the ones they personally like.

But if someone says to all customers, "we only write things on our cakes like Happy Birthday and Congratulations", I think that would be fine.

Of course, there's going to be an evidentiary issue here. It actually could be quite tricky to prove that a bakery has allowed 'slogans' in other cases but refused a pro-gay 'slogan'.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
By analogy to the Mladic example above, it sounds like Mousethief would say no, and it sounds like Mousethief would also force a Californian gay baker to bake "support Prop 8" cakes.

"Force" is of course a weasel word. I would enforce laws that say a business doing business with the public cannot pick and choose which customers to do business with. Once you set out that shingle and welcome the public in, you are subject to anti-discrimination laws. Part of the price of doing business. Maybe countries that never had Jim Crow can't understand how we feel about this.

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ChastMastr
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
At least you've let go of the fatuous penis cake example. I'll take what small victories I can.

Hey, I was making that one up as an example precisely because it doesn't ever seem to come up, so I'm trying to figure out what the boundaries of speech/text/decoration actually are and/or should be.

I've pretty much never ordered a cake from anywhere but Publix, and not very often even then; the universe of private bakeries is an alien one to me partly because they're so expensive. I don't know if they normally say "We will put any text you want on your pastry... er, except for this list" or "we reserve the right to not put certain words on your pastry."

I think that barring gay people from having "Congratulations on your wedding John and James" would be very mean--and yet I think that saying, "No, I will not put 'Take back the country from nonwhites' on your cake, fuck off" would be just this side of meritorious. But -- the law has to apply equally to everyone, so I'm wrestling with where the lines should be in a fair way, not just what I prefer myself.

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ChastMastr
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And of course in the US we have this increasingly bizarre thing going on in which almost anything can be counted as "speech"--I say bizarre because that was the rationale for this horrible thing we have called the "Citizens United" case in which basically an infinite amount of money can go into politics on the grounds that money equals speech. Yikes. And of course this has meant the most wealthy powerful corporations and such pouring it in by the ocean carrier-load.

(We also, as has been coming up on other threads, and relevant to this one, have been having this bizarre notion that corporations are people, and apparently people with religious beliefs... gah...)

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