Cake Wars!

 

shutterstock_236291065So… this is apparently happening:

Two legal rivals that duke out religious freedom cases are in unusual positions after a Denver bakery refused to make a cake decorated with the words “God hates gays” and an “X” over two men holding hands.

The case involves Azucar Bakery owner Marjorie Silva, who told KUSA-TV that making such a cake would be “just very discriminatory and hateful.” In response, Bill Jack, a Christian, complained he was the victim of religious discrimination. Colorado officials have since launched a formal investigation.

The case inverts an increasingly common narrative in which Christian business owners have used religious objections as the basis to refuse service to LGBT customers. This turning of the tables also reverses the roles of advocacy groups — for example, one group that typically defends Christians in religious liberty cases is supporting the LGBT-friendly baker.

While I love the irony here — major kudos to whatever lawyer dreamed up this test case — I’m not sure that this is going to work.

First, the content of the two cakes in question may not be equivalent. The defense will almost certainly argue that a wedding cake does not carry a specific meaning in the way the “God hates gays” cake does. I don’t know enough law to know if this argument will carry water or not, but common sense would indicate that a plain wedding cake — even with two little plastic men or two little plastic women sitting on the top tier — doesn’t quite rise to the same level of forced expression that icing “God hates gays” does. Perhaps the judge will do us all a solid and nix such nitpicking in favor of a clear general rule.

Second, I’m not sure what the desired outcome here is.

On the one hand, the judge might rule that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, and so the LGBT-friendly baker is forced to pay a fine or create the “God hates gays” cake. But who wins in that scenario? Not bakers, certainly. All that will have been established is that all proprietors — regardless of view — will be compelled to create things that they find personally hateful. Perhaps some folks particularly brimming with schadenfreude will find that soothing, but it doesn’t seem all that useful.

On the other, the court might rule that no, business-owners have a right to refuse commissions they find personally distasteful. That wouldn’t automatically give relief to Christian bakers who don’t want to bake wedding cakes for gay couples, as it seems it would be fairly easy for a motivated lawyer or court to draw distinctions between the two cases. Still, there lies here the faint possibility of libertarian hope. It is odd, however, that devout anti-SSM Christians may find themselves rooting along with the ACLU in this case.

What say you all? What do you think?

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  1. user_82762 Inactive
    user_82762
    @JamesGawron

    Adam,

    It’s so obvious. Let them eat cake!

    Sorry, I couldn’t help it. Maybe this will help.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #1
  2. Idahoklahoman Member
    Idahoklahoman
    @Idahoklahoman

    Possibly a false-flag operation intended to discredit Christian groups that oppose SSM? I don’t know of many Christian sects whose position is “God Hates Gays” except former Al Gore delegate Fred Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church, which consists of about 10 people.

    For the same reason, it is not the same kind of case as the traditional baker-refuses-to-bake-cake-for-gay-wedding case. The customer here really can’t claim discrimination in a public accommodation on the grounds of his membership in a protected class. Rather, what should trump should be the free speech and freedom of association claims that the baker could assert.

    That said, I’d prefer to see the court rule that the personal services of a baker are not a public accommodation, and therefore the baker’s purely private discriminatory acts  can’t be criminalized. That would protect bakers on both sides of the issue from abuse by idiots with agendas.

    • #2
  3. Charles Mark Member
    Charles Mark
    @CharlesMark

    The Northern Ireland Equality Commission is prosecuting a bakery (Asher’s) for refusing to make a cake with a “Support Gay Marriage” slogan. Now that crosses a line!

    • #3
  4. user_309277 Inactive
    user_309277
    @AdamKoslin

    Hate to say it, Idahoklahoman, but Bill Jack, the plaintiff, appears entirely legit.  I hope the quote in question was just meant to shock, rather than being an accurate statement of Mr. Jack’s personal beliefs.

    • #4
  5. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Idahoklahoman: That said, I’d prefer to see the court rule that the personal services of a baker are not a public accommodation, and therefore the baker’s purely private discriminatory acts can’t be criminalized. That would protect bakers on both sides of the issue from abuse by idiots with agendas.

    That’s a best-case scenario and a win for all.

    Naturally, that won’t happen.

    We really do need some public accommodation test cases, though. My leftist interlocutors on this issue take the position that the moment you open a storefront, you become a “public accommodation.”

    • #5
  6. Raw Prawn Member
    Raw Prawn
    @RawPrawn

    Who wins?  The lawyers of course, always the damned lawyers.

    You know the scene in all of the movies and TV series about lawyers where the imperious judge throws the hero lawyer in the slammer for contempt of court? Don’t you wish a judge would throw a lawyer into jail just for filing such a ridiculous suit? Of course it won’t happen. Judges are lawyers.

    • #6
  7. Fake John Galt Coolidge
    Fake John Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Don’t worry, the various government agencies will figure a away to harrass and/or arrest the plaintiff till they back off or run out of money. Any suites or petitions they file will be stonewalled, neglected, lost, etc till it all becomes pointless. While Justice may not be done at least governance will have been.

    • #7
  8. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Adam Koslin:

    Hate to say it, Idahoklahoman, but Bill Jack, the plaintiff, appears entirely legit.  I hope the quote in question was just meant to shock, rather than being an accurate statement of Mr. Jack’s personal beliefs.

    Even so, I think one of the bad effects of this is that it reinforces the (false) stereotype that Christians are haters. I mean — if we’re to take Jack’s claim seriously — then he’s asking for a cake that not only says (literally) something hateful, but goes out of its way to do it.

    It’d have been much better if the cake simply said something about “One Man, Woman.”

    • #8
  9. user_280840 Inactive
    user_280840
    @FredCole

    Ugh, don’t people have anything better to do with their time then troll eachother?

    • #9
  10. Guruforhire Inactive
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    Fred Cole:Ugh, don’t people have anything better to do with their time then troll eachother?

    No they don’t.

    • #10
  11. skipsul Inactive
    skipsul
    @skipsul

    Fred Cole: Ugh, don’t people have anything better to do with their time then troll eachother?

    Unfortunately, with so many judges interfering with businesses already, and with the catastrophe that is “public accommodation”, I’m not sure there is any other way to resolve this.  This is ugly, but the from the moment that judges started making bakers and photographers take customers they didn’t want, this was inevitable.

    • #11
  12. Spin Inactive
    Spin
    @Spin

    I yearn for the bygone days of yesteryear, where shop owners had signs that read “No shoes, no shirt, no service” and “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason”.  And if you didn’t like how things were at one shop, you moseyed down the street to the next one.

    • #12
  13. user_86050 Inactive
    user_86050
    @KCMulville

    Fred Cole:Ugh, don’t people have anything better to do with their time then troll eachother?

    Normally I’d agree … but the current law was created by trolling the bakers in the first place. If trolling makes the law, there’s little choice.

    Half of the test cases on the Supreme docket were started by deliberate trolling. The tactic is to challenge the law.

    • #13
  14. Tim H. Inactive
    Tim H.
    @TimH

    Without reading the article (I know, I know, I just don’t have time now), I’m assuming the guy is pushing this to force the judges with a “public accommodations” view to confront an unpleasant consequence of their own theories and hopefully reverse the earlier rulings.  At least, that’s what I would do.

    • #14
  15. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    Adam Koslin:

    Hate to say it, Idahoklahoman, but Bill Jack, the plaintiff, appears entirely legit

    Even so…

    … Jack’s fringe-y ministry organization appears to have a pretty slick website. Who are the developers? ;-)

    • #15
  16. user_653084 Inactive
    user_653084
    @SalvatorePadula

    It is my considered legal opinion that as a matter of constitutional law no one has a right to a cake.

    • #16
  17. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Salvatore Padula: It is my considered legal opinion that as a matter of constitutional law no one has a right to a cake.

    Are you sure? I could’ve sworn there was something in there about cake.

    • #17
  18. Autistic License Inactive
    Autistic License
    @AutisticLicense

    “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason.” This phrase will now be up there with quotes from Jefferson and Adams. Who’d have thought?

    • #18
  19. user_1030767 Inactive
    user_1030767
    @TheQuestion

    I brought up this up with a leftie on Facebook.  I said, “I’m Catholic.  What if someone who hates the Catholic Church doesn’t want to photograph my wedding or bake a cake for my wedding?”  They actually went with my hypothetical and said I should be able to make them do it.  I didn’t know what to say at that point.

    • #19
  20. Wylee Coyote Member
    Wylee Coyote
    @WyleeCoyote

    Salvatore Padula:It is my considered legal opinion that as a matter of constitutional law no one has a right to a cake.

    But how can we truly pursue happiness without cake?  :(

    I feel badly for poor Ms. Silva.  In these cases I tend to side with the bakers, both on liberty grounds and on cake-is-yummy grounds.

    Still, it is refreshing to see smug liberal opinion get smacked in the face with an unintended consequence now and then.

    • #20
  21. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    A cake baker should be able to decline to serve any person for any reason.  If you want to go further, they should be allowed to “specialize” for wedding cakes (gay, straight, black, white, mixed, etc.) if they so desire, and not pay a penalty for refusing to serve.

    An example I like to use is of a Ku Klux Klan couple going to a black bakery (owned and staffed by blacks) and demand that the bakery make a wedding cake with two Klan figures on top.

    Technically, the black bakery must bake the cake because they cannot appeal on religious grounds, so we need legal premise for denial of service.  I’m thinking of something along the lines of pruient interest, say good taste.

    • #21
  22. Raw Prawn Member
    Raw Prawn
    @RawPrawn

    Fake John Galt:Don’t worry, the various government agencies will figure a away to harrass and/or arrest the plaintiff till they back off or run out of money.Any suites or petitions they file will be stonewalled, neglected, lost, etc till it all becomes pointless.While Justice may not be done at least governance will have been.

    This appears to be a struggle between the liberal left and the loony left.  I think the government will back the loony left.

    • #22
  23. Lucy Pevensie Inactive
    Lucy Pevensie
    @LucyPevensie

    Has anyone else seen the news that the cake was never supposed to say, “God hates gays”?  Anyone surprised that that was a distortion?

    The link is here.

    He asked that the first cake show on one page, “God hates sin—Psalm 45:7,” and on the facing page, “Homosexuality is a detestable sin—Leviticus 18:22.” He requested that the second cake have on one page, “God loves sinners,” and on the facing page, “While we were yet sinners Christ died for us—Romans 5:8.”

    • #23
  24. user_309277 Inactive
    user_309277
    @AdamKoslin

    Lucy Pevensie:Has anyone else seen the news that the cake was never supposed to say, “God hates gays”? Anyone surprised that that was a distortion?

    The link is here.

    Hah!  I knew that geometry class in 8th grade would pay off!

    According to the Transitive Property, if a = b, and b = c, then a = c.  “God Hates Sin” and “Being Gay Is A Sin” so clearly, “God Hates Being Gay!”  Don’t blame the Daily Beast folks – they were just exercising their copious geometrical proof skills. :P

    • #24
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