Bake a Cake—And Be Religious Too!

By: Amanda Knief

gayweddingcakeApparently, not all bakers want everyone to sample their cakes. There are two high-profile cases in Oregon and Colorado that revolve around cake makers who refused to bake cakes for the weddings of same-sex couples. The bakers in both cases based their refusals on their religious beliefs.

I am not going to go into their beliefs because what beliefs these bakers have and why does not matter. What does matter is what the law says about refusing to sell cakes.

In the first half of the 20th century, it wasn’t cakes that made the news, it was a hotel where black Americans were being refused service for who-knows-what-racist-and-stupid-reason. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title II, outlaws public accommodations (businesses where the public is served) from discriminating on the basis of race, religion, and a couple of other things. Some folks resisted and fought this in the ‘60s. But the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the accommodations section under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution in Heart of Atlanta Motel v. US in 1964.

Since then, many states including Oregon and Colorado, have adopted their own anti-discrimination laws for public accommodations. And some states, including Oregon and Colorado, have added sexual orientation as a protected class in their statutes. This means that if you have a business that serves the public, you cannot legally refuse service because the customer is straight or gay.

So, to sum up thus far: If you have a business—including a bakery—in Oregon or Colorado that serves the public, you must serve all straight and gay customers.

But wait! These bakers say they refused service because of their religious beliefs. Doesn’t that make a difference? No, it doesn’t. Because it is in the best interest of society to not have to search Yelp for the one bakery that might bake a cake for same-sex couples, and depending on where you live, Yelp isn’t terribly helpful because you only have one bakery to choose from. So these anti-discrimination laws protect the rights of minorities to ensure that public accommodation means exactly that—the whole public is served—in the city and in the country.

Now, the baker in Colorado says that he is sincere in his discrimination because he also refuses to make cakes for Halloween and any that are “anti-American.” Here’s the problem with that: Halloween and anti-Americanism are not protected classes of people. The Civil Rights Act and these state laws are to protect people, not ideas. They are intended to correct and prevent decades of discrimination—the kind of discrimination that LGBT people have faced and continue to face. The kind of discrimination that makes these public accommodation laws necessary in the first place.

These bakers and others now trying to claim religious protection from equal protection laws think their religion trumps our laws—but it doesn’t. They think their bigotry is somehow made “better” or less awful because they put it in religious terms—but it isn’t. They pass the buck to their god rather than be accountable for their own prejudices. Shame on them.

Woe to this baker if a non-patriotic gay Satanist walks into his bakery.

  • Bill

    They should not be able to discriminiate but why would anyone want to go to a place where they are hated when someone is baking or cooking for them? What would possess you to put anything they made for you into your mouth? I shudder to think what might be in there….

    • JamesKaye

      I think the problem is that the gay couple probably didn’ know until they walk into the place and try to order a cake…then the awkward silence comes, or maybe a berating, and the prospective customers are forced to leave without being able to do something as simple as order a product. I live out in the country where the next bakery may be 50 miles away. If someone is in a business to serve customers they cannot pick which ones by discrimination.

      I understand the concern over a cake being tampered with but any crime like that would be easily traceable to the culprit and their business would definitely be shut down. That’s probably incentive enough to do the job right.

      • Bill

        That certainly would be unconfortable but if there is a sign on the door…. don’g go in. They are perverse enough to put “foreign matter” into the food as it appears the consequences are not really important to them. It is insane that they would alienate clients but they have never been accused of being smart.

  • Sean Nolan

    Good article, especially the last paragraph. They think that their religious laws are somehow above the laws of their country and yes they pass the buck onto their god for their own prejudices instead of taking ownership of them and making themselves accountable. Disgraceful. I hope the couple find every review site possible and put this shameful act on each and every one.

    • Stanley B. Manley

      Problem is the Christians will start boycotting those who DO serve same sex couples.

  • Insanity_Claus

    There are a lot of ways to determine that the bakers are in the wrong. I think the approach that is th easiest for the bakers to accept is to discuss economics. They run a business. The purpose of the business is to make money. Not selling a cake to anyone is bad business. They should not confuse business ethics and religious ethics.

    Also, to help the public decide which bakers to use, put a comment in Yelp stating that that bakery has refused to sell wedding cakes to same-e couples. If I saw that, I would not buy anything from them. I am sure others would too.

  • Mo Fo

    Why do Gays NEVER ask a Muslim business to cater their wedding? Why is a Halal Market NEVER asked to cater a Gay Wedding?
    Notice ONLY Christian businesses are targeted????

    • Yee-chung Fu

      Because it’s hard to find a Halal bakery.

      • Stanley B. Manley

        And in most cases it’s downright impossible.

  • Stanley B. Manley

    I’m wondering if they’d be allowed to turn away a customer who wanted a big swastika put on a cake.

  • Mission_Architect

    The thing that has to be recognized is Christians believe that a same-sex relationship is indeed wrong, but it does not mean that we hate these people, we are told to love them (love your neighbor as yourself). Unfortunately some ‘Christians’ have wrongly demonstrated hate towards those who are attracted to the same sex. Nevertheless, our goal is to bring individuals to the understanding of who God is and his desire to be with us. With the bible stating that a same-sex marriage will lead a person further away from finding or desiring God, we are not going to support it, just as a doctor would not prescribe something that would deteriorate the health of an individual. The baker had the right to refuse service, because the God she serves is greater than business, money, or any other desire of this world (“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5)). Just as a parent refuses giving a child something detrimental to their health out of love, the baker was doing the same thing. Now I do honestly hope the baker’s intentions were rooted in the Bible and that she still tried to share love with the couple whose belief were different that hers, that is what we are supposed to do. If the couple wanted to take their services elsewhere, that is fine. None of us Christians are going to boycott those bakeries, because we will not take away that free will of those who believe differently than us. But we will stand for what we believe in and it is wrong to make us do something that stands against our moral standards (is that not discrimination against us and forcing a belief system down our throats?). Rosaria Butterfield is a Christian author with attractions for the same sex who has great perspectives on why we must stand for what we believe in.

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