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what is the religious issue with baking a cake?

 
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Kevin Robbins wrote:The real question here is why is the government in the marriage business in the first place? Marriage is a contract between two people and a ritual before whatever god(s) they believe in. It's none of the governments business. If my spouse and I want to jump a broom and call that marriage, that's up to us and nobody else.



I have had this discussion with others. Some argue that it helps with inheritance and others areas. It's a good point, and the government ought to recognize something for those purposes. For a few thousand years marriage meant one thing and was recognized by governments as a way to work with the people and a wonderful convenience. So, i don't think it can be said that it is none of the government's business. However, now that it has been challenged, it has to change. Otherwise, i agree with your comment.
 
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We walk into a business and many privately owned small businesses display a sign that says: "We reserve the right to refuse business to anyone." The question now is: do they actually have that right? If a person comes into a bar and he or she is belligerent and you throw them out. What if they come back and say: you discriminated against me because... They find a sympathetic lawyer (and you know there is always one of those if you pay them) and now you are involved in a battle that will determine your ability to support yourself, your family, your lifestyle, and continue doing what you have chosen to do.

If you look into your own personal history, you do some things because of biases or religion. Our society has been shaped that way. Would you want a murderer, a pedafile, a rapist, a theif living next door? Why not? Personal bias is why, that bias may be based on experience, but non the less, unless you have experience with the individual, then you are just discriminating against them based on personal biases. Why would you find those people undesireable to have around? Because you are not like minded to them. Do you have that right? Do you have that right to have that opinion? You do currently, at least to a certain extent. While you cannot run them out of town, you can legally make life less than enjoyable and encourage them to move. The legal system will even support you in doing so. So how far down the list of unsavory does it have to go before you no longer have the right to choose?

Nobody has the right to harass another individual. But do they have the right to NOT do something they find unsavory or even repugnant? Let's take that a step further: several scifi movies I've seen have society wherein people that are sexually active do not have the right to deny any request for sex, because it can be stated that they are being discriminated against in some way. Is that a proper interpretation for anti-discrimination? I could easily say, you are discriminating against me sexually because you are not gay, or that you don't like Welch, or what ever the reason. But the truth is: you are going to have sex, and sex with multiple partners, so then why is this arguament not valid and why can you discriminate in this instance? (at least for now)

Where services are offered, free market would eventually win out. If A does not want to provide services to B, is that A's right? Market says if there is a demand for what B wants, then the need will be met by the market. Does A need to be one that is forced to do something they find reprehensible to provide that service to B? To me it comes back to that sex thing--should a person have the right to choose based on personal preference? They do not have the right to harass in any case, but does one person or group of people have the right to impose their will on another? What about this: if A is forced to provide service to B, are they not being discriminated against? They are having their free will removed. They have personal beliefs just a B does, and they are being forced to do something they find repugnant for whatever reason. And in reality isn't B actually harassing A?

The reality is: you cannot grant to B that which you do not first strip from A. Wherein is the discrimination, both acts are discriminatory--one can be viewed as a harassment, the other is a choice of policy and comfort. Nobody has the right to harass another.
 
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Yes, because providing service to us icky gays is just like living next door to a rapist.

 
Brian Tkatch
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Bear Bibeault wrote:Yes, because providing service to us icky gays is just like living next door to a rapist.


Depending on your beliefs and sensitivities, it can be worse. You cannot convince someone else based on your own personal valuations Though, you can ask someone else to respect you and your feelings, as long as you reciprocate with the same tolerance and respect, no matter how strongly you may disagree with their views.
 
Les Morgan
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In actuality, for some, it may be worse. But as I have already stated, if you are being harassed--as you are now doing to me from the tone of your post--then that is truly discrimination. Nobody has the right to harass another. Discrimination does not always take place from outside the "protected community" toward the "protected community", quite often it originates inside the "protected community" and is bitterly expressed toward the outside. That is viewed as alright--as you have just illustrated. One person or group harassing another is not acceptable.

Bear Bibeault wrote:Yes, because providing service to us icky gays is just like living next door to a rapist.

 
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Winston Gutkowski wrote:ghts of the business again. I think Paul's question is more along the lines of:
1. Does that same business have the right to refuse to employ a Holocaust denier?
2. Does a Holocaust denier have the right to refuse to print a document about the Holocaust?

Indeed, can a business even identify itself as "Jewish"? Obviously terms like "kosher" and "halal" hint very strongly at religion, but it seems unlikely that, for example, a butcher with either moniker would be able to refuse employment to someone simply because they eat (and therefore presumably handle) pork in their private life.

Winston



1) Employers all the time refuse to employ people based on what they do in their private life. Laws exist to prevent certain types of discrimination - so you cannot refuse to employ someone based on their sexuality, gender, age, race, religion etc, but you can however refuse to employ someone based on their private life. I believe in America you have morality clauses - you do not have such things here in the UK as far as I am aware, but employees are still often expected to behave in a certain way, so if a teacher is a stripper on the weekends in her private life, the school will terminate her contract even though it's in her private life.
2) Yes - if someone doesn't believe in the Holocaust, then they should have the right to refuse to print a document about it. Again, these things happen all the time - if I want to run an advert saying Wall Street is driven by greed, a pro Wall Street paper will refuse to publish my ad, and I cannot say they are discriminating against me because of my political beliefs. Businesses have values, and they have the right to refuse to promote something which is against their values.

Yes, a Kosher or Halal butcher cannot discriminate against someone because they eat pork in their private life. If however there was a risk of cross-contamination e.g. the employee wasn't washing his or her hands after eating pork before doing their job, then the business has every right to terminate that individual's contract. The business has customers and the customers require their meat to not have been cross-contaminated with pork, and so the needs to of the business come first.
 
Ahmed Bin S
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J. Kevin Robbins wrote:

Brian Tkatch wrote:
Ultimately, this whole marriage thing is absurd. Marriage in the Western World is a Judeo-Xian invention, which the government recognized for convenience. Since it has been found to be discriminatory, the government should simply stop recognizing it.


This has long been my position. When I'm asked about support for gay marriage, my response is that we're asking the wrong question. The real question here is why is the government in the marriage business in the first place? Marriage is a contract between two people and a ritual before whatever god(s) they believe in. It's none of the governments business. If my spouse and I want to jump a broom and call that marriage, that's up to us and nobody else.



There is a heterosexual couple here in the UK who took the Government to court saying they were being discriminated against because they want a civil partnership and not a marriage.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-35436845
 
Brian Tkatch
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Ahmed, decent reply. I want to tweak a point though, based on my understanding of the relevant laws. (I am not a lawyer and am no expert. This is just my understanding of them.)

Ahmed Bin S wrote:Employers all the time refuse to employ people based on what they do in their private life....so if a teacher is a stripper on the weekends in her private life, the school will terminate her contract even though it's in her private life.


I believe that is incorrect. An employer cannot discriminate based on certain factors (as delineated by the constitution or local laws) if they accept public funds or advertise about the employment to the public. Private institutions discriminate all the time. However, even affected businesses may discriminate if it works against them. The example given of a teacher, is that the teacher can give a bad name to the school and hinder its ability to teach, hence, they could argue that continued employment of the teacher is a problem. However, if the teacher does something the school doesn't want, but cannot show how it hinders their ability to teach, they cannot fire the teacher.
 
Ahmed Bin S
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Bear Bibeault wrote:Yes, because providing service to us icky gays is just like living next door to a rapist.



I don't think his argument was a straw man.

Say you have a guy who is a great guy. He is always nice to people, he gives money to charity to help the needy, he volunteers to help old people, he offers his seat to others on the train, he controls his temper when someone annoys him, etc etc. Now suppose one evening he rapes a woman. Is this guy a good guy or a bad guy? A lot of people would consider him a bad guy - his one action of rape cancels out all the good things he does.

Now imagine someone is a religious fundamentalist who thinks homosexuality is an evil sin. To such a people, gays are bad people, because to these people, homosexuality is an evil sin on the same level as rape. Therefore, just like many people in society will shun rapists, religious fundamentalists will often shun gays.

Now you may argue that you cannot possibly compare rape to homosexuality - in rape, one party was caused extreme harm, in homosexuality, no harm was caused to anyone, and you'd of course be right. But that isn't the point - the point is that religious fundamentalists aren't basing the morality or immorality of an action on whether it caused anyone any harm - to them, an action is good or evil depending on what God told them.

Now if I was a baker, if someone who thinks women are usually to blame for rape came to my bakery and asked me to put a joke about this on a cake, I would refuse. To me his belief is abhorrent and I shouldn't be forced to promote his belief.
Similarly, a pro-gay marriage slogan is abhorrent to a bakery run by Christian fundamentalists. If I have the right to refuse promoting something I find abhorrent, why should they also not have the right to refuse promoting something they find abhorrent?

That's the point I think Les was trying to make.
 
Ahmed Bin S
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Brian Tkatch wrote:
I believe that is incorrect. An employer cannot discriminate based on certain factors (as delineated by the constitution or local laws) if they accept public funds or advertise about the employment to the public. Private institutions discriminate all the time. However, even affected businesses may discriminate if it works against them. The example given of a teacher, is that the teacher can give a bad name to the school and hinder its ability to teach, hence, they could argue that continued employment of the teacher is a problem. However, if the teacher does something the school doesn't want, but cannot show how it hinders their ability to teach, they cannot fire the teacher.



Fair point!
 
Ahmed Bin S
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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-37748681
 
Ahmed Bin S
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Ahmed Bin S wrote:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-37748681



So Peter Tatchell basically says the exact thing I was saying. I am glad he said it, because when a Muslim says it people can dismiss it as "ah, but that's because you're from a Muslim background", but when he, as a gay rights campaigner says it, the actual argument has to be addressed.



Ashers Bakery’s defeat is no win for the LGBT community – it sets a dangerous and authoritarian precedent
Discrimination against LGBT people is wrong and is rightly unlawful. But in a democratic society, people should be able to discriminate against ideas they disagree with

PETER TATCHELL

The Appeal Court in Belfast today ruled that a local Christian-run business, Ashers Bakery, acted unlawfully when it refused to decorate a cake with a political pro-gay marriage message.

This verdict is a defeat for freedom of expression. As well as meaning that Ashers can be legally forced to aid the promotion of same-sex marriage against their wishes, it also implies that gay bakers could be forced by law to decorate cakes with homophobic slogans.

It seems the judges have decided that businesses cannot lawfully refuse a customer’s request to propagate a message, even if it is sexist, xenophobic or anti-gay and even if the business owners have a conscientious objection to it.

Although I strongly disagree with Ashers’ opposition to marriage equality, in a free society neither they nor anyone else should be compelled to facilitate a political idea they oppose.

Ashers did not discriminate against the customer, Gareth Lee, because he was gay. They objected to the message he wanted on the cake: “Support gay marriage.”

Discrimination against LGBT people is wrong and is rightly unlawful. But in a democratic society, people should be able to discriminate against ideas they disagree with. I am saddened that the court did not reach the same conclusion.

This judgment opens a can of worms. It means that a Muslim printer could be obliged to publish cartoons of Mohammed and a Jewish printer could be required to publish a book that propagates Holocaust denial. It could also encourage far-right extremists to demand that bakers and other service providers facilitate the promotion of anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim opinions.

What the court has decided sets a dangerous, authoritarian precedent that is open to serious abuse.

Discrimination against people should be illegal but not discrimination against ideas and opinions.

Like most gay and equality campaigners, I initially condemned Ashers over its refusal to produce a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan for Gareth Lee.

I supported his legal claim against Ashers and the subsequent verdict, which last year found the bakery guilty of discrimination.

First, Ashers had falsely advertised their services, saying they were willing to decorate their cakes with any message that a customer wanted. They did not say there were any limits on the designs or wording.

Second, I feared that Ashers’ actions could open the floodgates to a revival of sectarian loyalist-republican discrimination and discrimination against women, LGBTs and other minorities – and their points of view.

But I later changed my mind. Much as I wish to defend the LGBT community, I also want to defend other important human rights, such as freedom of conscience, expression and religion.

While Christian bed and breakfast owners and civil partnership registrars were clearly wrong to deny service to gay people, this case is different. It is about the refusal to facilitate an idea – namely, support for same-sex marriage.

The equality laws are intended to protect people against discrimination. A business providing a public service has a legal duty to do so without discrimination based on race, gender, faith, sexuality and so on.

The court has erred by ruling that Gareth was discriminated against because of his sexual orientation.

It argued that Ashers “would not have objected to a cake carrying the message ‘Support Heterosexual Marriage’ or indeed ‘Support Marriage’.”

The judges determined that by refusing to provide a cake with different, pro-gay marriage wording, Ashers had treated the customer differently and less favourably, contrary to the law.

They went on to say: “We accept that it was the use of the word ‘gay’ in the context of the message which prevented the order from being fulfilled. The reason the order was cancelled was that the appellants would not provide a cake with a message supporting a right to marry for those of a particular sexual orientation. This was a case of association with the gay and bisexual community and the protected personal characteristic was the sexual orientation of that community. Accordingly this was direct discrimination.”

However, Gareth’s cake request was not turned down because he was gay but because of the message he wanted on the cake. There is no evidence that his sexuality was the reason Ashers declined his order or that their refusal to decorate the cake with the message he wanted was an act of discrimination against his sexuality.

The judges concluded that service providers are required by law to facilitate any lawful message, even if they have a conscientious objection to it.

This begs the question: Will gay bakers have to accept orders for cakes with homophobic slurs? I don’t think LGBT people should be forced to promote anti-gay messages.

It is an infringement of freedom to require businesses to aid the promotion of ideas to which they conscientiously object. Discrimination against people should be always unlawful but not discrimination against ideas and opinions.

 
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That's an interesting argument. i still disagree, but interesting.

This begs the question: Will gay bakers have to accept orders for cakes with homophobic slurs? I don’t think LGBT people should be forced to promote anti-gay messages.


Such slurs would be hate speech, no? That seems like an important distinction.

It is an infringement of freedom to require businesses to aid the promotion of ideas to which they conscientiously object. Discrimination against people should be always unlawful but not discrimination against ideas and opinions.


Businesses have opinions? Perhaps this means the owner of said business?
 
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to be honest, when I see a cake with a slogan of some kind on it, the bakery is the LAST thing I think about. If I saw a pro- or anti-gay themed cake, i'd wonder about the beliefs of the person who bought the cake.

If the cake tastes good, or looks good (regardless of the slogan), I care about the baker. Same if it's ugly or tastes bad.  

But the bakery is not responsible for or even necesarily agrees with the content of the message.
 
Ahmed Bin S
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Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:

This begs the question: Will gay bakers have to accept orders for cakes with homophobic slurs? I don’t think LGBT people should be forced to promote anti-gay messages.


Such slurs would be hate speech, no? That seems like an important distinction.



I think what Peter means by slurs is anything that is anti-homosexuality.

So, saying "gay marriage is wrong" counts as a slur.

Is saying "gay marriage is wrong" hate speech? No, it might be a bigoted statement, but freedom of speech allows us to be bigots.

Now consider a religious person who thinks gay marriage is wrong. If they go to a bakery owned by gays, and say they want a cake that says gay marriage is wrong, should the bakery be forced to bake such a cake? I don't believe they should - they shouldn't be able to say they don't want to bake a cake for this person, but they should be able to say they do not want to write a slogan they think is wrong. Similarly, a Christian bakery should also have the right to refuse to print slogans they think are wrong, even if we disagree with their decision.


 
Jeanne Boyarsky
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Thank you for the reply. I wonder if it would be different if we were discussing pie instead of cake . Because we like pie here at the ranch. I like apple pie. Maybe write on it with whipped cream so it isn't as permanent?
 
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The Supreme Court has sided with the bakery, with a 7-2 majority. My reading is that the verdict is not meant to set a precedent, and rests at least partly on the lower courts having insufficiently considered the issue, in the opinion of the SC judges.
 
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