The official blog of University of Missouri Skeptics, Atheists, Secular Humanists, & Agnostics
Hi, my name is Maggie!
There’s a story coming out of Iowa about a lesbian couple who demanded that a poor, humble Christian baker provide a cake for their abomination of a “wedding.” Here they each tell their side of the story:
Iowa is one of the few states that treats the LGBTQ community like equals to us regular humans. *Shivers* They amended their Civil Rights Act to forbid discrimination against sexual orientation in areas of employment, housing, and public accommodation. So, were these lesbians applying for a job? No, they were trying to get a cake. Were they trying to get a house? No, they were trying to get a cake. Public accommodation? No, it’s a freaking private business, not owned by the government. Therefore, this beautiful, strong Christian woman has every right to stand by her true religious beliefs and follow the Bible when it says, “Thou shall not make a cake for lesbian couples” Paul 5:something.
If I was that poor baker and some lesbos walked into my store, I’d shit on a plate and serve it up free of charge! I have that right. It’s in the Constitution. “If some lesbos walk into your cake store, you can serve them shit on a plate” Art. 12 Section 2something. Why can’t they just find a different cake store? They’re just trying to force their radical gay agenda on all of us and force us to participate in their “weddings” and have gay sex with them. They’re all mentally ill perverts. They’re bullying this poor woman because she actually has morals. Disgusting.
Ok, so in case you were not aware, the beginning of this post was largely taken from comments on the article from The Blaze. Have a look at the story and comments here if you can stomach it. I did leave out a lot of the most offensive comments because I felt uncomfortable posting them. http://www.theblaze.com/stories/lesbian-couple-may-sue-christian-baker-who-refused-to-make-their-wedding-cake/
Now let’s take an educated look at the issue. A private business can be a place of public accommodation. I have not looked into the Iowa statute in depth, but generally hotels, restaurants, movie theaters and like places are considered to be places of public accommodation. The word “public” really just means that it is open to the general public. So, a privately owned cake shop is still public. Now, I do not know if a cake shop is or will be considered a place of public accommodation. Generally, places open to the public that serve food are considered places of public accommodation. A cake shop could probably go either way because it certainly sells food and is open to the public but it can be easily distinguished from a restaurant or fast food place.
For the sake of argument, I’m going to assume that the cake shop is a place of public accommodation. So does the owner have the right to refuse service to gay couples? No. No she does not. Nor does she have the right to refuse service to black people, Muslims, quadriplegics or Puerto Ricans. Why doesn’t she have this right? Because it conflicts with a right that the state of Iowa deemed to be more important: the right to not be discriminated against in a place of public accommodation. States have generalized policing powers which allow them to enforce laws that provide for the general health, safety and welfare of their citizens. In providing for these things, personal rights often become more limited. Like these kids’ right to go to a Negro-free school:
The conservative commentators as seen on the Blaze focused a lot on the lesbian couple’s ability to just go to another cake shop. I’m sure they did go to another cake shop. Also, the lesbian couple were not the individuals breaking the law, so I find it inappropriate to focus on their actions. No one is suggesting that they did anything illegal.
I’d like to put the focus where it rightfully should be: the business owner. As a responsible business owner, she should look into the law in the state in which she operates. She chose to have a business in a state which 1) legalized gay marriage and 2) prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and 3) she runs a cake shop. If I were a math person, I’d say that adds up to a possible conflict of interest for her.
If serving wedding cakes to gay couples were such a big problem for her, she should have traveled a little South or West and set up shop in Missouri or Nebraska where you can discriminate against as many gays as you want, and they certainly can’t marry one another.
As to the business owner’s “right” to refuse server, she still has plenty of grounds on which to turn away a willing, paying customer. She can refuse service to someone who is not wearing shoes. She can refuse service to someone who has brown eyes. She can refuse service to people who wear fanny packs. She just can’t discriminate based on sexual orientation in a state that forbids it.
And if this cake shop qualifies as a public accommodation, this lesbian couple has, what I like to call, a slam dunk case. I mean, cake lady said she wasn’t going to give them the cake because of their gay lifestyle. That is just too easy. If the lesbian couple had said they were sisters, cake lady certainly would have served the cake. If they said they were friends, she would have served the cake. It was only when she realized they were lesbians that she refused service. Most people who want to discriminate at least aren’t stupid enough to tell you they’re discriminating against you! They can at least make up some excuse like, “I’m too busy right now” or “I just ran out of cake.” They don’t say, “I’m not serving you because I’m a Christian and you’re gay.” That’s as bad as choosing the box!