Bakers Refusing Gays Same As Designers Snubbing Melania?

According to Bryan Fischer, Melania Trump’s struggle is real. In a tweet on Monday, as part of an effort to add to his stockpile of utterly short-sighted, ignorant, and flat-out stupid statements, Fischer said this:

I’m truly amazed at how much Bryan Fischer mentions sodomy on Twitter. I’d go so far to say he’s obsessed with it. If only he knew how many heterosexual couples engage in sodomy, it might cause every orifice on the man to simultaneously erupt.

Normally, responses to Fischer’s tweets go unanswered… UNLESS a reply opens the door for Fischer to drive home his point and, in his and only his mind, win the argument. Such an opportunity presented itself on Tuesday after San Franciso-based actor Chris Maltby responded with this:

Chris made a good point — that if the bakers were truly applying their religious principles to customers, then they should be applying them to every customer, which is just short of impossible. Does this mean that the bakers also don’t serve people with tattoos or who wear mixed fabrics?

Thankfully, Bryan Fischer decided to respond and make us all realize that discrimination against the LGBTQ community is exactly the same as dress designers refusing to make a dress for the First Lady:

At first glance, some might think, “Hey, he might actually have a point.” Except that he doesn’t. Refusing service to someone based on sexual orientation, something out of the customer’s control, is not the same as refusing service to someone for personal or political reasons which are controllable. That’s why we have laws to protect minorities and people with disabilities — in order to guarantee equal treatment for people at square one. What you do to earn your own exclusion from a business is on you. Fischer’s tweet was blasted with replies pointing out how wrong he was about this issue, but as usual, he turned a blind eye to the truth and walked away. Oh that confirmation bias.

Aside from that difference, a major distinction here is that Melania Trump didn’t go to designers asking for a dress and get denied service. Designers preemptively issued statements saying they were not interested in making her a dress, which was more of a statement about her husband’s politics and behavior than hers. She wasn’t directly refused service from what I can tell.

I’ll just add this to the pile.

 


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Kevin Davis

Kevin Davis is the head writer and editor for SecularVoices, co-founder of Young Skeptics, and author of Understanding an Atheist. He is known for local and national secular activism and has spoken at conferences and events such as Reason Rally 2016 and the Ark Encounter Protest and Rally.

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15 thoughts on “Bakers Refusing Gays Same As Designers Snubbing Melania?

  1. Does Fischer know that straight couples can engage in sodomy? And the last time I checked, someone designed the gowns Melania wore to the inauguration events.

    If a business is open to the public, it must serve all members of the public. That’s a principle which protects everyone’s rights.

  2. If anyone reading this is a lawyer and I am mistaken please correct me but as I understand it businesses can refuse services to specific individuals, they can refuse to serve someone even if they’re in a protected group, but the refusal can’t be arbitrary and can’t apply to just one group of people. I suspect designers could argue that Melania Trump, because of her specific reputation as a public figure, would damage their brand. They are not denying her service because of her sex or ethnicity but because the reputations of clothing designers are influenced by the celebrities they dress. They could similarly refuse to dress Kim Jong-un’s wife.

    1. Okay, I’m a lawyer and the way you put it is not exactly right or wrong and some of it may depend in part on the outcome of the “wedding cake case” that was just heard in the Supreme Court.

      First of all, the anti-discrimination laws apply only to businesses engaged in “public accommodation.” There isn’t an exact definition of what that term means but generally it is understood as businesses that are open to the general public for the sale of goods and services necessary or common for day-to-day living. The 1964 Civil Rights Act named certain establishments as included in the term: any inn, hotel, motel, or other establishment which provides lodging to transient guests; any restaurant, cafeteria, lunchroom, lunch counter, soda fountain, or other facility principally engaged in selling food for consumption on the premises; and any motion picture house, theater, concert hall, sports arena, stadium or other place of exhibition or entertainment. People could not be denied services by such establishments on the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin. Subsequent state and Federal laws have expanded the lists of protected classes, notably to include sex and, in some limited places, sexual orientation and gender identity.

      It has been assumed for some time that “art” (oil paintings, sculptures, fiction writing, fine photography, etc., etc.) or other highly creative personal work doesn’t fall within “public accommodation.” But where to draw the line between “art” and “stuff,” between a Robert Mapplethorpe photograph and a picture of a kid on a department store Santa’s lap is neither obvious nor much explored by the courts. My guess is that a custom-made haute couture dress would not be a matter of public accommodation. But if the same designer sold “off the rack” clothes, refusing to sell one to a member of a protected class, would at least be problematical. Not selling such a dress to a woman because of her husband, could be deemed discrimination based on sex though, as you can imagine, I doubt there has been any such case litigated.

      I hope that helps.

      1. The “art” aspect of this case is an interesting one. The baker, his lawyer and many christian activists have been throwing around the notion that he’s an “artist” whose cakes are his “canvas” meaning, according to them, he can refuse to serve whomever he chooses. They seem to think this is a winning strategy.

  3. it might cause every orifice on the man to simultaneously erupt

    Thank you for that mental image … excuse me while I go and stick an open firehose in my ear …

  4. “Does this mean that the bakers also don’t serve people with tattoos or who wear mixed fabrics?”
    I’d be willing to bet he’s created – and sold – wedding cakes to folks remarrying after divorce.
    Remember – the bible only allows divorce if one’s spouse commits adultery, OR one is married to a non-believer who asks for a divorce.
    If anyone divorces for any other reason, and subsequently remarries, the act of remarrying is considered adultery. Adultery is a death-penalty crime in the bible.
    These businesses which provide wedding-related products or services and refuse same-sex couples often claim providing their product/service is “participating” in sin.
    If that’s true, then any time a business which provides wedding-related products or services to anyone remarrying after divorce, unless they divorced for one of the two circumstances allowed by the bible, is participating in the sin of adultery.
    This, I believe, makes a much stronger case than the inquiry about people with tattoos or those who wear mixed fabrics because 1) the issue of remarriage after divorce is from the new testament, not the old, and 2) statistically speaking, roughly 1/4 – 1/3 of customers served by wedding-related businesses are remarrying after a previous divorce (or two. Or three).
    The question then becomes, “How do you justify participating in the sin of adultery, if, in fact, your religious beliefs are as “sincere” as you claim?”

  5. “Refusing service to someone based on sexual orientation, something out of the customer’s control, is not the same as refusing service to someone for personal or political reasons which are controllable. ”

    It’s not simply “refusing service to someone based on sexual orientation” or it wouldn’t be an issue (I hope). If they were merely denying service to people walking into the bakery for being gay, for example, I’d agree with you 120%. In my understanding however, that’s not the issue–it’s the question of making cakes for a wedding. Are you saying that getting married is not a personal issue and is outside of one’s control? That sounds like pretty shaky ground to base any legal interpretation of the issue on.

    The question that occurs to me with this is: I have a bakery. The local klan chapter wants me to make a cake celebrating a cross burning ceremony. Do I have to do it?

    1. No. You don’t have to make a klan cake. You’re refusing based on political disagreement and possibly hate speech. The KKK is not a protected class. The bakers are refusing because it’s a GAY wedding, not just a wedding. They can’t refuse a wedding based on the sexual orientation of its requestors. If they refused ALL weddings, that would be ok. But they quite obviously bake wedding cakes in general, unless I’m mistaken.

      1. Point taken. The religious objection makes little sense in the context of the civil institution of marriage–what’s exactly is the religious objection to people being joined in a relationship legally recognized by the government? I hope the decision refers to this point; I don’t see any reason that religion should have its hands on the legal institution of marriage. Hypothetically I guess, what if it was a religiously themed cake however? I could see the point of this objection more.

    2. Does a bakery owned by the Klan have to make a wedding cake for Jews?

      Let’s keep the people who show bigotry in the pressence of a minority they are prejudiced against on the supply side, please.

    3. “Are you saying that getting married is not a personal issue and is outside of one’s control?” No. Sexual orientation, not the decision whether or not to get married, is outside of our control.

      As for your “klan…cross burning ceremony” example goes, no, you wouldn’t have to bake their cake. You also wouldn’t have to make cakes for a Christian man who asked you to bake cakes with anti-gay slogans, as Azucar Bakery in Denver was asked to do.* The refusal in both instances would be based on the requested message, which you found offensive, and not a refusal the person. Had the Denver baker refused to bake the cakes because the man was Christian, that would have been a violation of the anti-discrimination law.

      *https://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/local-news/denvers-azucar-bakery-wins-right-to-refuse-to-make-anti-gay-cake

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