A gay marriage ballot measure in Oregon has a provision that strikes some fire on the religious freedom front.

If Oregon votes in November to become the 18th state to legalize same-sex marriage, it will, like other states, exempt religious institutions such as churches from any obligation to celebrate such nuptials. But it could also become the first state to establish a legal opt-out for private vendors such as florists, photographers and cake bakers. 

A private conscience exemption is tricky to legislate. Supporters say the government should not force people in private business to serve everyone. Opponents of the conscience option say it opens the door to segregation. It certainly provokes questions. 

Sign on a restaurant in Lancaster, Ohio in 1938.

Sign on a restaurant in Lancaster, Ohio in 1938.

 

Once you give vendors a protected right to opt out of serving gays for religious reasons, who else might they also refuse for the same reasons? Muslim couples?  What about a Christian marrying an atheist, a couple the Bible would consider unequally yoked? 

Mark Joseph Stern, writing for Slate, has a harsh vision:  “Business owners whose “conscientious scruples” mandate homophobia might as well start putting out signs alerting gay people that their business isn’t welcome.”  

Bobby Ross Jr., * writing at  the “Get Religion” media critique blog,  praises Reuters’ coverage of the Oregon ballot initiative. It quotes Teresa Harke, whose group Friends of Religious Freedom proposed Oregon’s religious exemption referendum:

“We wanted to make sure that, no matter which way marriage is defined in Oregon, that folks who hold a view based on their faith that marriage is between one man and one woman are not going to be discriminated against or be silenced for declining to participate in same-sex weddings,” she said.

Reuters may not have seen Harke’s Oregonian interview when she compared requiring service to gay clients to forcing a Jewish baker to sell a swastika-emblazoned cake to a neo-Nazi (although state law already protects retailers from such a situation).

I’m curious about how a conscience-based opt out would work in theory or practice. 

Which sinners would Jesus not serve?

Could this door swing two ways? Many privately-owned wedding venues have lists of preferred, if not required, vendors for their location. Could the venue owners, honoring a religious-based value of hospitality, ban vendors known to discriminate?

How, exactly, do potential clients learn they may be screened before service according to the vendor’s religious values? Signs? Contracts with exclusionary catches in the fine print? Face-to-face refusal, like an unfunny version of the deli dude on Seinfeld who would only sell soup to people who didn’t annoy him? No cake for you!

I have seen this in action.

When I was a child in South Florida, a swanky hotel on Fort Lauderdale beach still had a sign that no Jews were welcome. The local movie theater refused entry to the Girl Scout troop that won a movie day prize for selling the most cookies in the region: They were black.

A sorority at my private university (where the admission quotas on race and religion had just been lifted) accidentally pledged a Jewish girl. Hey, she was blonde so they just assumed… But the national sorority made the local chapter kick her out.

When I worked in Miami, some top executives at my newspaper lived in deed-restricted neighborhoods where Blacks, Jews or Hispanics could not buy property.
The company paid for executive memberships in private country clubs with the same restrictions. A Hispanic businessman, nominated to a golf club by one executive who wanted to “change from within,” was blackballed. Finally, a stockholders’ petition put a stop to subsidized country club dues. However, the publisher told me, they would continue to subsidize membership in private luncheon clubs were women were not allowed.

None of those discriminatory actions were illegal. These were private owners, private choices, personal values. Meanwhile, countless people missed out on neighborhoods, schools, social connections and career network opportunities.

And, just as such last-century practices eventually proved to be — shocking! — bad for business, maybe this contemporary vendor-value-screening idea will meet the same fate.

In the short run, however, if gay marriage and a private conscience opt-out provision pass in Oregon, the play-out could be surprising — and painful — on both sides of the bakery counter.

Jump in with your opinion but remember the rules at Faith & Reason: All views, respectfully presented, are welcome. That’s nice for watch your tone.

*CORRECTION: The original post mistakenly attributed the “Get Religion” post to a different author.

72 Comments

  1. All these “legal opt-outs” do is sanction discrimination and restrict the flow of commerce. Its pandering to bigots for political expediency. My view is that if your conscience and morals encourage you to act in a discriminatory manner, you have no business serving the general public.

    Sell your goods and services as a members only club. You may not make a lot of money doing so, but its all about “making the principled stand”, right? Think of the lost potential revenue as the price for such attitudes.

      • Like the religious liberty of a “Christian Identity” believer to not serve blacks or minorities? Or religious liberty to only hire or serve members of your own sect?

        No. Religious liberty is not a catch-all excuse to engage in behavior which would normally be prohibited by law.

  2. Holly Williams

    If they do legalize “gay marriage” which they most definitely should NOT then they definitely should include this exemption for businesses. It is downright sickening that a baker, photographer, and florist have already been sued for practicing their religious freedom by refusing to serve a “gay wedding”. Their religious liberty was viciously attacked. I will NOT stand for attacks on our religious liberty and I will fight to preserve our religious liberty until the day I die.

    • Because you want to maintain the ability to discriminate against gays but would lack social sanction to do so.

      What you call religious freedom, everyone else would just call bigotry. Hence the reason the author equated such provisions with racist deed restrictions and private club memberships.

      If you want to discriminate in your business (whether you call it religious liberty or not) don’t do business with the general public. You want the advantages and revenue of selling your wares openly, you have to serve everyone. If you want to stand by your alleged religious freedom and do business, do so as a members only club. Don’t restrict trade to the general public because you want to stand behind your bigotry so vociferously.

      • Words that everyone should live by, Larry. It’s a shame that the so-called “religious liberty” people aren’t so open-minded. As the saying goes, “what would Jesus do?”

  3. “Which sinners would Jesus not serve?”

    Exactly. No matter what someone’s faith view is of homosexuality, it is wrong to marginalize gay couples based on your view that their lifestyle is sinful. A lot of Christians believe premarital sex is wrong, but they wouldn’t turn away a couple who is having sex outside of marriage. (They would go out of business if that were the case!) Christianity is about God’s redeeming love. Showing hate to gay couples by refusing to do business with them is not the Gospel. True religious freedom is loving people where they’re at and letting God do the rest.

  4. Oregon voters, Oregon families, please do NOT forget what happened to that Christian bakery in your state, whose owners were severely bullied and persecuted for their Christian beliefs. And don’t forget what happened in New Mexico. That gay activist bullying can happen to you too, regardless of your beliefs or labels.

    If you happen to be Christian, that stuff can happen to your Christian businesses, daycares, food pantries, bookstores, even your Christian churches. If you vote the wrong way, it WILL come knocking on your door.

    All people are created equal. But people’s behaviors — especially sexual behaviors — are NOT created equal. Skin color is immutable and genetic; sexual behaviors are not immutable and not genetic.

    Businesses (whether Christian or otherwise) should NOT have to accomodate, nor help affirm nor celebrate via their products or services, their customers’ chosen sexual behaviors. That’s what it means for ALL of us, whether Christian or otherwise, to have religious freedom in America.

    But you’ve got to vote for your religious freedom, or you’ll get clipped just like that Oregon bakery. And if you DO vote for gay marriage, that law will be used to clip you anyway!!

    • You don’t have a right to discriminate in business open to the general public. It doesn’t matter whether your form of bigotry is racism sectarianism or in this case homophobia.

      “We don’t serve your kind here!” is going to be bad no matter what kind we are talking about. Trying to split hairs on the alleged justification for bigoted actions won’t change that.

      If you don’t want to serve a certain kind of customer, you have no business holding yourself out to the general public.

  5. Larry,

    With all due respect your name-calling is not helpful in this argument. Just because someone has a conscientious (or faith) objection to homosexuality doesn’t make them homophobic. C’mon! Your line of reasoning is overly simplistic.

    I am a Christian, and I happen to believe that homosexuality falls well short of God’s will and design for us. “Which sinner would Jesus not serve?” If I were the bakery operator I would definitely service the gay couple’s order. I simply think that’s what Jesus would do in such a case. However, if another bakery owner decides as a matter of conscientious they simply cannot do so then maybe the law should allow them to “opt out.” In doing so they are not denying the gay couple a fundamental civil right. And if the community where they operate disagree enough with their selective policy then market forces will take over.

    Peace.

    • With all due respect, the name is more than appropriate. If you think discriminatory behavior is something worth supporting, bigot is an honest way to describe it. If you are uncomfortable with the label, then get a good look at what you are advocating. Complaints about name calling doesn’t mean the label is incorrect. You certainly aren’t refuting it.

      You want to use your religion to give social sanction to behavior which is hateful and restricts commerce unnecessarily.

      I think your views are simplistic, self-deceptive and repugnant. But if I was in businesses, I would still serve you. Despite not wanting to support religious based bigots. Because that is what opening a business to the public means

      • Liberal Larry

        And you are under the bias of your religious delusions (and you seem to think they are some how superior..how inferior of you) and with the rulings of every recent court and Scalia predicted future rulings your delusions are quite irrelevant

        Peace

        Have A Gay Day

  6. I keep thinking about the Washington bakery that made a huge stink about their Christian religion preventing them from making cakes for gay and lesbian couples. But then later they were fine with making cakes celebrating a divorce, or celebrating a coven’s Winter Solstice event, or celebrating a person’s doggy wedding.

    I think part of the problem is that merchants DON’T let people know that they won’t serve gay customers. So those customers contact them and begin the process of working out the details on their cakes or their reception venue or whatever, and they then get blackballed. And then the merchant calls foul when the rejected couple tells others via Facebook, Yelp, the media, etc.

    I enjoy watching “Hotel Impossible.” Just this week, the host warned some hoteliers that bad online reviews will kill their business. That’s just a business reality. If you provide crappy customer service, most likely someone will post a negative review about it and everyone will know. Same goes for people who tell gay people that they aren’t good enough to be served by certain businesses within their community. You want to tell a pair of brides that your Christian faith won’t allow you to receive their money, chances are that others will find out about it.

    I still struggle with the idea that businesses want to turn away hundreds of dollars worth of business. They aren’t sanctioning a gay wedding anymore than they are sanctioning the doggy wedding or the Winter Solstice celebration. They are earning money that helps them keep their business open, pay their employees, and pay their taxes.

    Personally, I want to know who doesn’t want my business. I want to know what Bakery X refuses to serve gay families so that me and my family can go to some other bakery. When I sent my son to summer camp, I made sure early on that he has gay dads so that if it was a problem they could let us know and we wouldn’t waste our time/energy with them.

    • Correction: “Personally, I want to know who doesn’t want my business. I want to know what Bakery X refuses to serve gay families so that me and my family can go to some other bakery. When I sent my son to summer camp, I made sure early on that THEY KNEW he has gay dads so that if it was a problem they could let us know and we wouldn’t waste our time/energy with them.

    • The problem is that businesses want the income which comes from giving the appearance to serve the general public but they don’t want the obligation that entails, to serve the general public.

      If merchants want to stick by an alleged religious conviction to discriminate which customers they want to accept, they should do their business strictly within the channels of said religious group. Work only with exclusive clubs or with certain churches. Limit your customers to the type you want and don’t pretend that you are available to anyone who comes across your business.

      But to hold one’s self out as being a business anyone can access by walking into a shop or calling a number in the yellow pages and then engaging in discriminatory behavior, one is doing harm to others and the public. It is not behavior which is legal or deserves any kind of sanction by law.

      • That’s actually a really great suggestion there, Larry. Folks won’t earn as much, but it’s apparently worth the sacrifice in order to promote their faith over their actual business.

        • It has always been the best way to get around anti-discrimination laws.
          Call it a private club, do not take any kind of government assistance and limit your exposure through closed channels and one avoids giving the appearance of engaging in general commerce which runs afoul of those laws.

          One has to keep in mind, anti-discrimination laws for businesses are based on the notion of avoiding unnecessary impediments to the flow of commerce. A private club is not considered engaging in commerce under most laws.

  7. Does Chik-Fil-A refuse to serve gays or lesbians? Aren’t they an avowedly Christian-owned and operated business owned by a family that is adamantly against acceptance of same-gender marriage? How come they aren’t screaming about this? I’ll venture that it’s because they understand the principle stated above – that providing commercial service to someone is not the same as condoning or agreeing with who they are or what they do.

  8. Hi Cathy,
    I am afraid you are doing a disservice with this article. The comparison with racism and anti-semitism simply does not hold water.

    Don’t you see the contradiction when you say that the case of a jewish baker not having to serve a swastika emblazoned cake is already protected by state law? What is that if not conscience protection?

    Christian retailers (and muslim and jewish for that matter) are not refusing service out of hatred for people but out of profound disagreement with a clear episode of social engineering. They would have no trouble making a birthday cake for a homossexual, but a wedding cake is implicit cooperation with an act they find immoral, illogical and detrimental to society.

    The problem, Cathy, with the racism card is that, despite false, it turns this case of conscientious objection into hatred. And that means that in one stroke you have turned all orthodox followers of Christianity, Islam and Judaism into haters.

    It is one step closer to kicking dissenting voices out of the public square and it has serious and unfortunate consequences, such as the closing of all catholic owned adoption agencies in the UK and French mayors being threatened with jail for not wanting to “marry” two men or two woment, just to name two examples.

    I hope you are well!
    All the best,
    Filipe (Church up Close conference in Rome)

    • Filipe: Why wouldn’t people consider those who object to gay families to be “haters” (your words)? After all, you believe our families to be “immoral,” “illogical,” and “detrimental to society.”

      And frankly, why would I want to spend my money on a birthday cake from a business that considers my family “immoral,” “illogical,” and “detrimental to society?” If businesses want to be run as exclusive religious clubs, then let the public know that you believe gay families to be societal detriments and don’t complain about the resulting negative publicity.

      • Jon, this is the problem. Nowhere did I say that you or your families are immoral. But I do maintain that homosexual activity is immoral and that marriage between two people of the same sex is an illogical non sequitor.

        Although on a different plane, you would probably agree with me that polygamous marriages are immoral, does that make you a hater of all fundamentalist mormons? Of course not.

        So no, I dont hate you, and if saying that I do somehow furthers your agenda to drive my voice from the public square, then say it all you want. Doesn’t make it true…

        • That’s correct. You attempt to separate people from our families. I’m not immoral. But my relationship with my husband and with our children is. Seriously, with what other group of people would that statement fly?

          And I certainly haven’t driven you from the public square of opinion. What a ridiculous notion…

          • Ah, but is it that ridiculous? Look at the reactions I got from repeating the teachings of a 6000 year old faith tradition upon which the very notions of family and marriage in our respective societies are built?

            Look at what happened to every single catholic adoption agency in England; look at the case of the Swedish pentecostal pastor thrown in jail for preaching that homosexual activity is a sin. There countless other cases.

            NowI understand your reasoning, and I get your conviction. Having an agenda is not wrong in itself, who doesn’t have one? But be honest enough to admit that there is no place for orthodox Christian, Muslim or Jewish opinion in this brave new world you are building.

            Regards.

          • Surely you’re not talking about Ake Green, the Swedish minister who actually never spent time in jail and who’s conviction was appeal and overturned?

            Regarding the Catholic Adoption Services: I’m old enough and in the business enough to know that Catholic Social Services has placed children with gay people and gay couples before their higher-ups said they no longer could. I’m also in the business enough to know that they don’t have a problem placing kids with non-Catholic homes (married or single). But once again, it all comes down to the gays. “We have strong religious convictions against working against gays — but we choose not to exercise our strong religious convictions against other groups that the governments says we can’t discriminate against when it comes to adoption and foster care.”

            But I get your point about having a conviction and an agenda…

    • Just because you have some self-styled excuse for discriminatory behavior, it does not mean that it isn’t still discriminatory behavior. Changing the subject of your discrimination doesn’t change the pernicious nature of the action. What you call disagreement with social engineering goes by another name, treating people with human dignity.

      Just because you are uncomfortable with equating actions with past bigoted actions, it doesn’t mean it is not similar. Plenty of racists believed their point of view was sanctioned by their religious faith. It never was an excuse people needed to take seriously. The Southern Baptists used to love proclaiming how Jim Crow was God’s will. [To their credit, they recanted and apologized, generations later]

      You are talking about withholding business which is open to the public to people based on some outside characteristic having nothing to do with the regular part of engaging in commerce.

      If you don’t want to do business with the entire public, you don’t have to. Just don’t hold yourself out as if you are. Don’t open a storefront, don’t put an ad in general public channels.

      To discriminate in a business which is visible and by all appearances open to the general public is to harm others. Having a religious/political excuse for such behavior is not going to make it acceptable.

      • Larry, by your own reasoning the Jewish baker who is unwilling to cater to a Nazi party, regardless of whether the cake has a swastika or not, is a hater, equivalent to a Southern racist. Of course he is not.
        And no, I am not equating homosexuals to nazis…
        You can paint it any way you like. I do not hate you.

        • Your example doesn’t fly either. Nazis are hardly a group subject to regular discrimination. Plus the Nazis probably CAN sue the Jewish baker on such grounds.

          Its a silly analogy that was not well thought out. When you have to resort to analogy as the basis for your argument, you are on shaky ground from the outset.

          My reasoning is the one used in over 50 years of court cases on the subject. Yours is the one people used to use for about a century prior to that when trying to tie up commerce with bigoted practices.

          If you are going to discriminate in your business, you have to pay a price for it. Either that means reduced exposure that opening to the public would have brought or being shut down by action of law.

    • Filipe,

      Bingo! You have highlighted one of the most unfortunate aspects of this whole debate – those who are determined to frame it in a “you either support us or you hate us” manner. Very unfortunate indeed. It prevents us as a people from civil discourse and the safe exchange of ideas.

      The issue of homosexuality will likely be controversial till the King comes, at which time he’ll set us all aright. Until that time it would be good if we can talk, respect one another’s differing views, and then move on in peace.

      Blessings.

      • How is it not hateful to deny people goods and services in a discriminatory manner?

        This is not a subject where reasonable accommodating is possible. You are talking about deliberately ostracizing others and attacking the access to business on the basis of personal bias.

        There is no reason why such bias has to be given the color of law. It is harmful to commerce and society in general. I can find no rational or sane way your position can possibly be supported. Its morally reprehensible and personally repugnant.

  9. As a middle aged southerner I was raised in a Christian culture that believed that God grieved over the ” mixing of the races” and that miscegenation was a sin. This was a core Biblical truth to many otherwise good Christian white folks. Do we really want a law that legalizes that type of religious discrimination?

    • Oh, Yes. That good ole argument. I grew up in a small Oklahoma town. When my pastor found out I was pregnant by a black man, I was escorted out of the church(in the middle of the service) and told my baby was an abomination, I was a sinner and God doesn’t believe in mixing the races. To each his own kind, they told me. I’be been just outside a rez where this bar &grill type place had a nice lil sign stating “no indians and no dogs allowed”. WE went in anyways because..well we’re rebels like that. The owner was supposedly a “nice Christian man and upright citizen “. I see this opt out going exactly the same way. I don’t why there’d be an issue if someone is wishing to only serve people who are in line with their belief structure, then they need to be a private and religious based club. That way they have total control over who they serve.

      • There is really no way such a law can possibly survive a 14th Amendment Equal Protection argument. It also flies in the face of the Civil Rights Act.

        One of the first ways segregation was demolished was attacking the alleged private rights of businesses to discriminate. Just because the subject of discrimination has changed, it doesn’t mean the arguments no longer apply. What the dolts who argue “But race is different from sexual orientation.” don’t get is that its not the subject of the action which is important here. Its the action itself.

        Willfully denying business based on purely prejudicial notions is considered harmful on its face. Whether its racism, sectarianism or this case. Even if you think you have an excuse from social sanction in religious belief, it doesn’t matter. Discrimination is discrimination.

  10. There are those in our nation seeking to equate wrong, immoral, perverse, etc. with right, moral, pure, etc. Thus, they are seeking to force the rest of society to adopt and/or, at the very least, provide legal sanction and protection for their skewed thoughts, feelings, desires and passions. When thinking, desires, passions and behaviors become so spiritually and morally confused doesn’t it also place the legal side of the equation in a dubious position, as well? Furthermore, why should the rest of society, based on such shaky spiritual, moral and legal footing, be forced to change the Biblical/historical/traditional definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman to accommodate the skewed thinking, desires, passions and behaviors of others? Oregon, therefore, is taking proper action to protect the religious freedom of its citizens (i.e., no one should be forced to violate their deeply held religious beliefs, convictions and practices by rendering support to behaviors they view as wrong, immoral, perverse, etc.), but why are they seeking to alter the definition of marriage and provide legal sanction and protection for such skewed thinking, desires, passions and behaviors in the first place? After all, that which is wrong, immoral and perverse is not equal to that which is right, moral and pure.

    • Its funny because many others see what you are stumping for as based on shaky spiritual footing, immoral and perverse. It definitely has no legal footing. Not after 50 years of the Civil Rights Act and state versions which made business discrimination illegal.

      People like yourself are trying to enact Jim Crow 2.0. Even bringing back religious reasons for explaining the cause of bigoted behavior. Frankly the idea of claiming good Christian conduct involves acting spiteful to others, ostracizing, and attacking the ability of people to live with a measure of human dignity is utterly ridiculous.

      Who would Jesus discriminate against? Nobody. People like yourself do not own Jesus nor is he a member of your political party. Jesus would forgive you for your declaration that some people unfit to love, to care for children, to serve their nation, or to be full members of their society

  11. I’d like to know how it is a religious practice to deny service to someone? If the vendor knew, for example, that a straight couple, who wanted a wedding cake, made love to each other some way other than the ‘missionary position’ in their sex life, would they deny them service? Or if the vendor were Catholic and discovered a client was divorced, would it be a reasonable religious practice to deny that customer service? The answer is obviously, no. To include an ‘out’ for bigots who want to decorate their hatred with ‘religious belief’, is to pander to the same mentality that created slavery, Jim Crow and witch burning.

  12. I would be perfectly fine with letting the opt-out go through and letting time and the marketplace show these businesses the consequences of segregating their customer base. I would, if I hadn’t moved to a rural area. Alas, in scarcely populated regions, there may be only one business of a kind available; if they decided to segregate, it amounts to a total blackball. I don’t know if it’s legally feasible to write in to the bill that a business may only opt-out if it does not hold a monopoly in its area.

    • There is no way such an opt-out can be anything short of legalizing an act which the government has a vested interest in keeping illegal.

      It is discrimination in business. Pure and simple. A gross violation of the principles of equal protection under the law and nothing short of an attack on the Civil Rights Act.

  13. I have seen a few people leave comments talking about “Christian businesses” and I have to admit that I have no idea what that means. You see Christ came to Earth and died on a cross to save people, not businesses. People can accept Christ, businesses can’t. Christ seemed to have pretty strong feelings about using God to make money as shown by his reaction to the money changers (Mark 11:15–19) in the Temple in Jerusalem. Maybe if a business could be Christian it would turn over all of its profits to the poor as Jesus instructed a man to do (Matthew 19:21) of course I doubt a business would last long if it was really acting as a “Christian business”. There are things that one must do if they are a Christian and there are things that one must do to run a business. If there is a contradiction between what it takes to live as a Christian and what it takes to be in business it seems to me that a Christian would leave the business behind which of course would solve this problem completely.

  14. I think that a business has the right to refuse service to anyone, for any reason, and for no reason. However, they do not have the right to impose their values on their employees, such as not giving a gay person the same time off to get married or have a child as a straight person. And I think that the way to respond to businesses that discriminate is to make their names known, as was done with Chick-Fil-A. I have not gone back in there since it was made public, and never will again, unless they change their attitudes. Let the marketplace reward or punish those who discriminate. This would not have worked in the culture of the 1960s South, but in today’s, it should be very effective.

    • No, they never had that right. If you hold yourself out as servicing the public at large, you have to service the entire public.

      Condoning discrimination in businesses impedes commerce in general. If you want to be blatantly discriminatory, you have to do so as a private members only club.

      For all the talk of Chik Fil-A, they do not turn away customers because they are gay. They just fund efforts to destroy gays dignity through political means outside of what goes on in the restaurants.

    • Sounds like a sensible plan. It beats me how people will make a dramatic point of not giving Chick-Fil-A their money and business because of its “homophobia” but then seek to give another equally “homophobic” business their money–by force.

  15. Mother of a gay child

    For all those arguing against discrimination of gays, remember…

    Arguing with bigots is like playing chess with a pigeon: no matter how good you are, the bird is going to sh** on the board and strut around like it won anyway.

  16. Cathy Lynn Grossman

    Hi folks, I don’t want to be the buzz killer here but… once you get two or three comment posts up, please step back and let others have the floor. Some people are just going to have a view you can’t accept and you can let the next reader carry the comment flag.
    The idea here is a CIVIL airing of diverse views. There will be no “winner” and no drowning out views you dislike.
    I’m happy and grateful you spend thoughtful time here. Just make cyber-room for others. Thanks! Cathy

  17. Edward Borges-Silva

    It’s a little late for this, but some facts are missing here. The bakery in question did not refuse ALL service to the lesbian couple in question. They were occasional, if not frequent, customers The bakery only refused to provide a wedding cake on the basis that a wedding is a religious ceremony instituted by God, and that such a wedding is in violation of biblical precepts. A distinction is being made between the sacred and the secular. Bigotry has nothing to do with it.

    • I was aware that they were regular customers. In some ways, that makes this work. The couple was invested in this business and vice versa. They were familiar with each other and gander had problems before. And then they were turned away.

      I still don’t get this from a business perspective (because they are indeed running a business, not a religious institution). They turned away hundreds of dollars in business (wedding cakes don’t come cheap), they lost long term customers, and they have created a PR nightmare for their business. All because they made a business transaction into a religious refusal.

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