Northern Irish Bakery Refuses to Bake Pro Gay Cake

This story has been all over the online tabloids in seems. There is a bakery in Northern Ireland who have point black refused to bake a cake for an LGBT rights organisation advocating for marriage equality. The indended cake would have had a picture of Bert and Earnie from Sesemy Street with the slogan "Support Gay Marriage"

But the general manager refused based on religious grounds

“We considered it, looked at it and decided that it was at odds with our beliefs and was in contradiction with what the Bible teaches. 

The company was founded by Christians, the current directors are Christians, that means that we run a business by Christian values and beliefs, based on what the Bible teaches. That also means for example that we don’t open on Sundays and we trade openly and honestly with people." -Daniel McArthur-

But the law in Northern Ireland is quite clear on its position regarding discrimination. The Equality Commission says that they are in breach of the stated law that prohibits discrimination in the provision of goods and services to people on the grounds of their sexuality. 

My feelings on this are quite simple, religion has no place in the business and it is simply unprofessional to being religion into a business that isn't connected with a church.

Full story is available at Journal.ie

Views: 483

Tags: Christianity, discrimaiton, equality, gay, ireland, lgbt, marriage, same, sex

Comment by Nerdy Keith on July 9, 2014 at 6:58pm

@Erock68la, 

The originally were going to make the cake for them. Had a little think about it, then changed their mind for religious reasons. 

Comment by Nerdy Keith on July 9, 2014 at 7:01pm

@Joe Passarino

In that case, they would have grounds to refuse to bake that cake as that is a hateful message. Same way as they would have the right to refuse to bake a "kill the infidels" cake.

And marriage was never originally religious at all, the origin of marriage predates religious practice. Originally marriage was nothing more than a legal contract, giving a man the right to own a woman. Religion just highjacked it.  

Comment by Joe Passarino on July 9, 2014 at 7:35pm
Belief in traditional marriage is the moral equivalent of murder? How tolerent of you.
Comment by Freek on July 10, 2014 at 12:38am
@Davis they didn't refuse service to the LGBT people, they refused to bake a cake according to a specific theme. But that, in itself, is not discrimination.

@Nerdy I'm curious how the law works on companies backtracking on orders they originally accepted. If they had stated upfront they wouldn't do it, I don't see much of a problem. But backtracking like this is a much darker grey area.
Comment by Unseen on July 10, 2014 at 1:00am

@Freek - Don't know about UK law, but in the US backing out of a non-contractual commitment can certainly be considered a tort if a damage can be shown. If it was contractual, then it IS an obligation and simply failing to carry out the commitment becomes a legal matter.

Comment by Ed on July 10, 2014 at 4:56pm

Why would a business owner think they are in violation of their own personal religious beliefs by meeting the reasonable demands of a customer? It's similar to the recent SCOTUS case involving healthcare provided by an employer. The offering of a product tailored to the needs of a customer does not mean the business condones or believes in the message the product may convey. I would have no qualms as an atheist baker to make a ten foot diameter cake emblazoned with "God is Great!" in huge letters. It's a business transaction; nothing else. 

Comment by Unseen on July 10, 2014 at 6:05pm

Ed, why would an atheist business owner think they are in violation of their own personal ethical beliefs by meeting the reasonable demands of a customer who wants a cake for an anti-gay rally? I for one would want the right to refuse to work for them. Why should their right trump mine?

Comment by kris feenstra on July 10, 2014 at 6:23pm

Is making custom cakes a service you provide? If yes, then do you do custom messages on clients' requests? If yes and you are refusing to provide your service to a customer, is your reason for refusing discriminatory? If not, there's no problem.

If so, you're refusing to allow someone to express THEIR message through a service you ordinarily provide based on your personal views. You are imposing your views on them. An anti-gay rally cake is super depressing, but I don't understand why you would need the right to refuse to make it. 

Why should your right to refuse to provide a service you're in the business of providing trump their right to secure that service free of bigotry? I don't really know what the law would state on an anti-gay rally cake, but as a point of ethics, I don't see why you, as a baker, would need to get all up in a customer's business on what they want or why.

Comment by Unseen on July 10, 2014 at 7:21pm

Why should your right to refuse to provide a service you're in the business of providing trump their right to secure that service...

Because I don't think hanging up one's shingle should make one the servant of everyone who walks through the door. If the customer can make a statement, why not the shop owner, too. The only way to keep the customer and merchant equal is for both the right of rejection, otherwise the merchant is the servant of his master, the customer.

Comment by Strega on July 10, 2014 at 7:32pm
@Unseen. If you follow that concept to its conclusion, it would be acceptable to refuse all black customers.

The basis of refusal of a commission when you provide a service should not be discriminatory based on the customer. If the bakery had refused to bake a cake saying "Happy Birthday" for a customer because that customer was gay (or black etc) then that is discrimination. To refuse to bake a cake because you don't like the cake requirements I think should be personal choice.

However, once that refusal hits the internet, you will be labelled a bigot for long after the details of the story are forgotten.

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