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: 430

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

Comment by Gregg R Thomas on July 10, 2014 at 7:42pm

@Unseen:

Why should their right trump mine?

Because you (the baker) are the one who violated the law they (the customer) didn't, the baker is choosing to violate the law for their religious beliefs.

The baker doesn't like the law and is choosing to break it, fine, there are consequences for the baker's act.

Religious belief doesn't not trump the law (except in America these days).

The baker can break the law as many times as he wants too as long as he is will to pay the penalty imposed.  But I willing to bet the baker will acquiesce to the law makers.

Comment by kris feenstra on July 10, 2014 at 7:44pm

Because I don't think hanging up one's shingle should make one the servant of everyone who walks through the door. 

You aren't a servant to anyone who walks through the door. No one is asking to you provide anything other than the service you yourself chose to provide. Again, if you have any non-bigoted reasons for refusing service, no one would bat an eye.

If the customer can make a statement, why not the shop owner, too. 

Of course you can make a statement; you just can't make that statement through discriminatorily refusing service.

The only way to keep the customer and merchant equal is for both the right of rejection, 

You have the right of rejection, but l as with pretty much all rights there are some limitations. The point of my previous post is not that the customer has unlimited rights while the service provider has none. My point is that you can characterize the scenario as a rights issue for either side. In this conflict, however, there are mutually conflicting ideas of rights and both sides cannot win. 

The absolute right of rejection does not put customers and service providers on fair ground, just as an absolute guarantee of service doesn't put them on even ground either.

Comment by kris feenstra on July 10, 2014 at 7:54pm

I may have misunderstood a sentence. "The only way to keep the customer and merchant equal is for both the right of rejection..."

Are you saying they both have equal right to refuse business interaction?

Comment by Unseen on July 10, 2014 at 11:12pm

You aren't a servant to anyone who walks through the door. No one is asking to you provide anything other than the service you yourself chose to provide. Again, if you have any non-bigoted reasons for refusing service, no one would bat an eye.

But the service I choose to provide is services to those to whom I choose to provide those services.

Of course you can make a statement; you just can't make that statement through discriminatorily refusing service.

So, we're back to the idea that if you're a person who doesn't like one's asked to do, just lie about your reason for refusing the service(?).

Are you saying they both have equal right to refuse business interaction?

Yes. I think if he's a Christian who finds out I'm an atheist, he should be able to cancel his order at any reasonable time in the transaction, and I should be able to look at his order and say "I am not going to do it" at any reasonable time. Example, he places a general cake order with the promise of wording to come later. What he later sends is very insulting to gays or women, and I simply don't want to do it.

I may be more libertarian than you. I don't even believe we should be able to throttle hate speech in a an environment of freedom of speech unless it is immediately inflammatory and inciting violence.

Comment by Unseen on July 10, 2014 at 11:19pm

@Strega. So it would be acceptable to you to bring the full weight of the state down on a black shop owner who wanted to serve the black community only? How about a woman doctor or attorney who wanted to limit her practice to women only? A therapist who wanted to limit his practice to black males?

I think we can all think of examples we'd LIKE to stop, but remember that once the principle is accepted, it may start being applied consistently but in ways with which you disagree.

Comment by Unseen on July 10, 2014 at 11:28pm

Discrimination has gotten a bad name because of how it has been used, but if you adopt a principle as a remedy, you can't stop how/where it will be applied, possibly in ways that amount to unintended consequences.

For example, the US Supreme Court's Holly Hobby ruling was based on a well-intended law designed to protect religious freedom and promoted by Pres. Clinton and the Democrats. (source)

Comment by Unseen on July 10, 2014 at 11:37pm

@Gregg - Because you (the baker) are the one who violated the law they (the customer) didn't, the baker is choosing to violate the law for their religious beliefs.

I'm not arguing a right to violate a law. I'm arguing what the best law would be.

Comment by Geoff Boulton on July 11, 2014 at 5:14am

@unseen - I agree with you and the problem really seems to be that the baker made a discriminatory statement about his reason for refusing the service, not simply that he refused the service. It is a rather complex situation though. I teach English in Catholic Poland and have stopped having lessons with one student because of their bigoted remarks. Am I refusing them a service because they are a bigot or am I refusing them a service because of their religious views? I guess it could be argued both ways.

Comment by Unseen on July 11, 2014 at 4:46pm

@Geoff - I also believe in free speech. The only speech I would throttle would be speech directly and immediately inciting violence against a person or group. Now, Kris's "solution" for the bigot is to lie about his reason for discriminating. It accomplished the bigotry but protects the bigot from the law. I simply prefer all cards to be on the table. Frankly, if I knew a bakery had a policy discriminating against gays, I wouldn't patronize it, and once the word was out, I'm sure I wouldn't be alone. Chick-Fil-A's owner's thoughts on gays are well-known and to be sure it gets him some business, but I'm sure he gets hardly any gay business and loses a lot to disgusted gay sympathizers.

Comment by kris feenstra on July 11, 2014 at 5:43pm

Now, Kris's "solution" for the bigot is to lie about his reason for discriminating. 

No, and don't pull that shit with me. If someone wants to know my position, they can ask me. 

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