In Colorado, The Cake is in the Supreme Court oven

Started by Michael Slusser, December 05, 2017, 03:45:31 PM

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James_Gale

Quote from: Mbecker on December 11, 2017, 12:03:11 PM
Quote from: MaddogLutheran on December 11, 2017, 10:46:18 AM
If the facts were as you describe them, I would agree with you.  Unfortunately I understand them to be otherwise.
Sterling Spatz

Sterling,
You are citing only how the baker's attorney has defended the baker's actions.

According to the lawyer for the gay couple, the dispute did not involve words or speech. "The only thing the baker knew about these customers was that they were gay," he said. "There was no request for a design. There was no request for message. He refused to sell any wedding cake. And that's identity-based discrimination."

That's what this attorney argued before the Supreme Court.

The baker himself has been quoted as recalling the incident this way: "Our conversation was just about 20 seconds long. 'Sorry guys, I don't make cakes for same-sex weddings.'"

Matt Becker


The lawyers' characterizations of the facts do not control.  The case reached the Supreme Court on an appeal of a grant of summary judgement.  That means that the court was ruling on factual record, not on competing allegations by lawyers. 


In the decision under review by the Supreme Court, the Colorado Court of Appeals wrote that in "July 2012, Craig and Mullins visited Masterpiece, a bakery in Lakewood, Colorado, and requested that Phillips design and create a cake to celebrate their same-sex wedding."  The baker told Craig and Mullins that he does not make wedding cakes for same-sex weddings "because of his religious beliefs" but that he would be "happy to make and sell them any other baked goods."  At this, "Craig and Mullins promptly left Masterpiece without discussing with [the baker] any details of their wedding cake."  For this reason, the Administrative Law Judge "could not determine whether Craig's and Mullins' desired wedding cake would constitute symbolic speech subject to First Amendment protections." 


The Colorado Court of Appeals ultimately does not base its ruling on this ground, however.  It did not seem to matter what specifically the cake might have said.  According to the Court, the "threshold question" is whether conduct is "sufficiently expressive" to trigger First Amendment protection.  Without offering any support, the Court held that "the act of designing and selling a wedding cake to a same-sex couple "does not convey a celebratory message about same-sex weddings."  And in any event, because Masterpiece is required by law to sell wedding cakes to same-sex couples, "it is unlikely that the public would view Masterpiece's creation" as an "endorsement" of same-sex marriage.  (This seems an odiously authoritarian notion.  If it's correct, the government could compel almost any speech.  It then would justify its action by arguing that no reasonable person would conclude that any speaker believes what he's saying; he simply is fulfilling the law's requirements, after all.) 


In short, the facts upon which the Supreme Court will rule are settled in the record.  Any limitations in the record of course could affect the contours of the Supreme Court's opinion. 








   


   

MaddogLutheran

#46
Quote from: WJV on December 11, 2017, 12:38:34 PM
Here we see one major location in which the "protected class" silliness hits the oil slick — rather than protecting anyone, it becomes a stick used to goad society in a particular direction.

Reading further on the plaintiff's petition, I am appalled at the depth of this protected class silliness...

The (bakery) Company mischaracterizes the  Act  as  an edict  forcing  it  (and  every  other  bakery  in  Colorado) to make any cake requested on demand.  But that is not  what  the  Act  requires. The  Act  does  not  compel the Company to sell  custom  cakes  (or  any cakes)  at all. Nor  does the  Act  prohibit the  Company  from refusing  to  sell  cakes  for  any  reason  not  explicitly prohibited   by   law.  No  "exception"  is  required  to conclude,  for  example,  that  "[a]n  African-American baker    may    decline    to    create    a    custom    cake celebrating  the  racist  ideals  of  a  member  of the Aryan Nation," Pet. 31, because membership in an organization  such  as  the  Aryan  Nation  is  not  a protected  characteristic  under  the  Act.   All  the  Act requires is that any goods and services the Company chooses  to sell must  be  offered  to  all  customers regardless of disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation,    marital    status,    national    origin,    or ancestry. Colo.Rev. Stat. § 24-34-601(2)(a)  (My emphasis added.)

This is madness!  The plaintiffs offer this as favorable to them, but I see it as damning.  The notion that a law can declare a "protected class" and that arbitrary declaration can completely trump the freedom of expression.  Chilling.  If this legal reasoning is allowed to stand, then the law really is an arse.  Some animals are more equal than others.

UPDATE: in my judgment, such reasoning also fails equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment:  that only certain legally specified classes of people are allowed to exercise such an expansive free speech right.  As I understand case law, permitting discrimination in favor of protected classes has to be narrowly tailored and often to counter previous pervasive/systematic discrimination.  Of course, I'm not a lawyer, and neither have I recently stayed at a Holiday Inn Express.

Sterling Spatz
Sterling Spatz
ELCA pew-sitter

MaddogLutheran

Quote from: James_Gale on December 11, 2017, 01:10:25 PM
In the decision under review by the Supreme Court, the Colorado Court of Appeals wrote that in "July 2012, Craig and Mullins visited Masterpiece, a bakery in Lakewood, Colorado, and requested that Phillips design and create a cake to celebrate their same-sex wedding."  The baker told Craig and Mullins that he does not make wedding cakes for same-sex weddings "because of his religious beliefs" but that he would be "happy to make and sell them any other baked goods."  At this, "Craig and Mullins promptly left Masterpiece without discussing with [the baker] any details of their wedding cake."  For this reason, the Administrative Law Judge "could not determine whether Craig's and Mullins' desired wedding cake would constitute symbolic speech subject to First Amendment protections." 

As you may note, Mr. Gale, I quoted from the plaintiff's petition about this same interaction.  It is very interesting that their account leaves out what I bolded above in yours.  You make a very good point about what might eventually become the complete factual record of this case.

Lawyers do advocate for their clients in all their pleadings.

Sterling Spatz
Sterling Spatz
ELCA pew-sitter

Donald_Kirchner

Quote from: Mbecker on December 11, 2017, 11:49:50 AM
Quote from: Pr. Don Kirchner on December 11, 2017, 11:15:57 AM
Quote from: Mbecker on December 11, 2017, 10:37:18 AM
... since civil law requires that the baker not discriminate against people on the basis of their sexual orientation...

Really?! Did the Supremes rule while I was asleep?!

Yes, really. Check out Colorado's civil laws regulating how businesses that are open to the public cannot deny equal service to customers because of their race, religion, nationality or sexual orientation.

Matt Becker

I am aware of Colorado's law. It's similar to Minnesota's.

I beg to differ. That's why the case is before the US Supreme Court!

Does the application of Colorado's public accommodations law to compel a cake maker to design and make a cake that violates his sincerely held religious beliefs about same-sex marriage violate the Free Speech or Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment?


Don Kirchner

"Heaven's OK, but it's not the end of the world." Jeff Gibbs

Charles Austin

To the plaintiffs have any rights here? Do people have the right to expect service and fair treatment when they walk into a place that offers service to the public? Or do we say it's all right to tell people of a certain "type", you're not welcome here, we won't serve you, go away?
Iowa-born. Long-time in NY/New Jersey, former LWF staff in Geneva.
ELCA PASTOR, ordained 1967. Former journalist. Retired in Minneapolis. Often critical of the ELCA, but more often a defender of its mission. Ignoring the not-so-subtle rude insults which often appear here.

James_Gale

Quote from: Charles Austin on December 11, 2017, 02:02:23 PM
To the plaintiffs have any rights here? Do people have the right to expect service and fair treatment when they walk into a place that offers service to the public? Or do we say it's all right to tell people of a certain "type", you're not welcome here, we won't serve you, go away?
The plaintiffs have rights. Even they argue that discrimination in most situations is legal.  In fact, they asserted that a baker could refuse to make a cake for someone whose views they didn't embrace. I have no idea how your post is supposed to fit within a conversation about First Amendment jurisprudence or public accommodations law.

JEdwards

Quote from: MaddogLutheran on December 11, 2017, 01:27:03 PM
Quote from: James_Gale on December 11, 2017, 01:10:25 PM
In the decision under review by the Supreme Court, the Colorado Court of Appeals wrote that in "July 2012, Craig and Mullins visited Masterpiece, a bakery in Lakewood, Colorado, and requested that Phillips design and create a cake to celebrate their same-sex wedding."  The baker told Craig and Mullins that he does not make wedding cakes for same-sex weddings "because of his religious beliefs" but that he would be "happy to make and sell them any other baked goods."  At this, "Craig and Mullins promptly left Masterpiece without discussing with [the baker] any details of their wedding cake."  For this reason, the Administrative Law Judge "could not determine whether Craig's and Mullins' desired wedding cake would constitute symbolic speech subject to First Amendment protections." 

As you may note, Mr. Gale, I quoted from the plaintiff's petition about this same interaction.  It is very interesting that their account leaves out what I bolded above in yours.  You make a very good point about what might eventually become the complete factual record of this case.

Lawyers do advocate for their clients in all their pleadings.

Sterling Spatz

My understanding is that this case was decided on summary judgment, which (among other things) is a determination that no further fact-finding is necessary.  Therefore, when reviewing a summary judgment, the reviewing court is supposed to assume that any disputed facts are as presented by the losing party; in this case, the baker.  If the proper legal ruling depends on whose version of events is most accurate, then the summary judgment should be vacated, and the case remanded for further fact-finding.

Peace,
Jon

MaddogLutheran

Quote from: JEdwards on December 11, 2017, 02:16:46 PM
My understanding is that this case was decided on summary judgment, which (among other things) is a determination that no further fact-finding is necessary.  Therefore, when reviewing a summary judgment, the reviewing court is supposed to assume that any disputed facts are as presented by the losing party; in this case, the baker.  If the proper legal ruling depends on whose version of events is most accurate, then the summary judgment should be vacated, and the case remanded for further fact-finding.

Peace,
Jon

You are correct.  According to the Colorado court of appeals decision, the administrative law judge (ALJ) issued the (initial) summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs after both parties cross-filed motions requesting that and there was no disagreement on material facts.  I don't know anything about particular state ALJ procedure to know whether they follow the same rules as a "normal" judicial proceeding--but I have no reason to think otherwise.

As I noted upstream, the appeals court applied the reasoning I find troubling when there are contrary competing fundamental rights claims:

Masterpiece contends that the ALJ erred in concluding that its refusal to create a wedding cake for Craig and Mullins was "because of" their sexual orientation.  Specifically, Masterpiece asserts that its refusal to create the cake was "because of" its opposition to same-sex marriage, not because of its opposition to their sexual orientation.  We conclude that the act of same-sex marriage is closely correlated to Craig's and Mullins' sexual orientation, and therefore, the ALJ did not err when he found that Masterpiece's refusal to create a wedding cake for Craig and Mullins was "because of" their sexual orientation, in violation of CADA.
Sterling Spatz
ELCA pew-sitter

Steven Tibbetts

Quote from: Mbecker on December 11, 2017, 11:44:07 AM
Quote from: The Rev. Steven P. Tibbetts, STS on December 11, 2017, 01:10:25 AM
Quote from: Mbecker on December 11, 2017, 12:58:31 AM

The viewpoint of the baker in this case, as I understand it, is one that should be criticized.


Same-sex sexual behavior is sinful, contrary to biblical teaching and natural law. It carries the grave danger of unrepentant sin. Therefore my neighbor and community are best served by calling those in same-sex sexual relationships to repentance for that behavior and to a chaste lifestyle.

Pax et bonum,
Steven+

Steven,
Are you suggesting that Christian bakers should call their customers to repentance as a part of their basic service to all customers?

No.  Is the viewpoint I expressed one you believe should be criticized?

Pax, Steven+
The Rev. Steven Paul Tibbetts, STS
Pastor Zip's Blog

Mbecker

Quote from: WJV on December 11, 2017, 12:38:34 PM
By gravely repeating "it is the civil law" (as if something's having been made a law (or at least a law you like) means it is good, right, salutary, or even settled), while also couching disagreement with it as beyond the pale, you hope to write out any possibility of escape for those whose position you despise. Such is rhetoric. But in following this course, you make clear that you are in favor of both:

1. Compelled speech, and
2. Silencing speech
   a. through shaming tactics, and
   b. via lawsuits.

And that's fine. Argue for what you will. But don't pretend that this matter is about "the law", or "letting the market decide" (in your scheme the market isn't allowed a choice in the first place). You have an end in mind, one that precludes liberty for the sake of that end. Own up to it.

Here we see one major location in which the "protected class" silliness hits the oil slick — rather than protecting anyone, it becomes a stick used to goad society in a particular direction. The proliferation of protected groups is encouraged by the desire to bend society one way or another, and through their enshrinement in law the marginalization of those who have reason to disagree (good or bad, justified or not) is hastened. When that happens, we see justice displaced by power in disguise.

WJV,
If you and those who agree with you are opposed to the Colorado civil law, then have at it. I certainly will not stop you from trying to change that law, if you think it is unjust.

I do not "despise" those who disagree with me on this set of issues.

I am not in favor of "silencing speech." Let the baker make his case. Feel free to chime in with your speech here in this forum. If the Supreme Court should rule in favor of the gay couple, let the baker and those who support his position continue to make their case in public. Others will defend the decision for a variety of reasons. And if the Supreme Court should rule in favor of the baker, voices on the other side will clamor to be heard.

If you and others want to support a business owner who on principle denies public services to certain individuals that the owner suspects have engaged or will engage in sexual behaviors that the business owner deems to be sinful, go for it. Perhaps you will assist the business owner in creating signs that could be put in the front window of the business that clearly state that certain groups of individuals who are suspected of engaging in sinful sexual behaviors will not be served by that business. Perhaps you will do the same for the Christian hotelier who, for the sake of his/her Christian principles, cannot in good conscience rent out a room to a couple that the hotelier suspects will use to engage in sinful sexual behavior. Same goes for the Christian realtor who cannot in good conscience sell a home or a condo to a couple that he/she suspects will be using to engage in sinful sexual behavior. What about the Christian banker who acts on the loan for said couple? And all other Christians who are involved in any way in that real estate sale/purchase? The Christian florist at the funeral of the gay spouse? The Christian funeral director? The Christian day-school provider who is responsible for the school to which the gay couple enrolls its child? And the list of scenarios goes on and on and on.

In the case of the Colorado baker and the gay couple, who is doing the "shaming" here? It seems to me that the baker was trying to do that when he refused to serve the couple in question, in less than 30 seconds.

Every human being should be treated as equal under the law. That is a notion that fits with "do unto others as you would have them do to you."

Matt Becker

Steven Tibbetts

Quote from: Mbecker on December 12, 2017, 01:42:00 AM

Every human being should be treated as equal under the law.

It's a great line, Dr. Becker.  It would sound better if you hadn't tossed it out in the context of describing the law as compelling, rather than curtailing, specific attitudes and behaviors. 

:(
The Rev. Steven Paul Tibbetts, STS
Pastor Zip's Blog

Voelker

Quote from: Mbecker on December 12, 2017, 01:42:00 AM
Quote from: WJV on December 11, 2017, 12:38:34 PM
By gravely repeating "it is the civil law" (as if something's having been made a law (or at least a law you like) means it is good, right, salutary, or even settled), while also couching disagreement with it as beyond the pale, you hope to write out any possibility of escape for those whose position you despise. Such is rhetoric. But in following this course, you make clear that you are in favor of both:

1. Compelled speech, and
2. Silencing speech
   a. through shaming tactics, and
   b. via lawsuits.

And that's fine. Argue for what you will. But don't pretend that this matter is about "the law", or "letting the market decide" (in your scheme the market isn't allowed a choice in the first place). You have an end in mind, one that precludes liberty for the sake of that end. Own up to it.

Here we see one major location in which the "protected class" silliness hits the oil slick — rather than protecting anyone, it becomes a stick used to goad society in a particular direction. The proliferation of protected groups is encouraged by the desire to bend society one way or another, and through their enshrinement in law the marginalization of those who have reason to disagree (good or bad, justified or not) is hastened. When that happens, we see justice displaced by power in disguise.
WJV,
If you and those who agree with you are opposed to the Colorado civil law, then have at it. I certainly will not stop you from trying to change that law, if you think it is unjust.

I do not "despise" those who disagree with me on this set of issues.

I am not in favor of "silencing speech." Let the baker make his case. Feel free to chime in with your speech here in this forum. If the Supreme Court should rule in favor of the gay couple, let the baker and those who support his position continue to make their case in public. Others will defend the decision for a variety of reasons. And if the Supreme Court should rule in favor of the baker, voices on the other side will clamor to be heard.

If you and others want to support a business owner who on principle denies public services to certain individuals that the owner suspects have engaged or will engage in sexual behaviors that the business owner deems to be sinful, go for it. Perhaps you will assist the business owner in creating signs that could be put in the front window of the business that clearly state that certain groups of individuals who are suspected of engaging in sinful sexual behaviors will not be served by that business. Perhaps you will do the same for the Christian hotelier who, for the sake of his/her Christian principles, cannot in good conscience rent out a room to a couple that the hotelier suspects will use to engage in sinful sexual behavior. Same goes for the Christian realtor who cannot in good conscience sell a home or a condo to a couple that he/she suspects will be using to engage in sinful sexual behavior. What about the Christian banker who acts on the loan for said couple? And all other Christians who are involved in any way in that real estate sale/purchase? The Christian florist at the funeral of the gay spouse? The Christian funeral director? The Christian day-school provider who is responsible for the school to which the gay couple enrolls its child? And the list of scenarios goes on and on and on.

In the case of the Colorado baker and the gay couple, who is doing the "shaming" here? It seems to me that the baker was trying to do that when he refused to serve the couple in question, in less than 30 seconds.

Every human being should be treated as equal under the law. That is a notion that fits with "do unto others as you would have them do to you."

Matt Becker
Dr Becker,

As I began to consider how to respond to your reply, I found myself returning to the litany of fears you lay out in the longest paragraph. Herein is the key to the discussion, and to why I have identified (and continue to identify) your argument as I have.

Look at each example you give: none are parallel to the argument set forth by the baker's representation. Cases 1—4 are concerned with a suspected, not known act. Case 5 might or might not be able to be included in the set of cases which would include the baker. Case 6 is nothing like it, though there may be factors that might make it more similar than not.

Let us look at these in more detail.

We'll start with Cases 5 & 6. Case 5 might be similar to the case before SCOTUS if the florist was asked to create some sort of pro-gay floral display; otherwise, I can't see how. Case 6 would only come into play (at least in my experience with Church-related schools) if the school would be made to publicly recognize and/or advertise the relationship between the child's parents. No LCMS school I've had direct dealings with has had this sort of issue come to the fore, but others have dealt with it, and well, for the sake of the kids involved.

Cases 1–4, however, of not wanting to do something involving a suspected sin, bear no resemblance to the case before SCOTUS as the baker did not refuse to provide a cake because he suspected it would be used in a "marriage" of two men, but because he was asked to make one specifically for such an event. Let's leave aside the special knowledge you claim to have from the plaintiffs' representation, and focus on the actual case as presented, and the issue actually being argued here: he would not agree to make a specific cake for them as he this would compel him to be involved in promoting something he found to be inherently wrong/sinful/however he understands this theologically. The case is about the freedom of speech for the baker and all others who do creative work: do they have the freedom to only use their skills in the service of work they want to do and approve of doing (can they say yes or no to a client, especially a "special" client), or must they, if they want be gainfully employed in the use of their skills, do whatever they're asked to do (especially in the case of "special" clients)?

Note that no one in this thread, or in the arguments before SCOTUS (so far as I've come across), has been arguing that he should be able to refuse them a cake off the shelf. As much as he might have suspected (if he did at all) that such an event is the purpose to which such a cake might be used, no one is arguing that he should be able to deny them a cake, or, in the examples you give, deny someone a room, or a house, or a loan, or water service to the house, based on suspicions (and none of these would, given the arguments given by others here in this thread and others, even fit the bill for reasons why one could not engage in such trade; the only question that comes to me that might come up is the right of a B&Ber in their own home to say "no" should they be told that, yes, sex between unmarried/unable-to-be-married persons would be taking place there. One should at least be able to control what goes on under one's roof. But, then again, in this brave new world, who knows what new rights will be discovered?).

While you claim not to be in favor of silencing speech (let's let this slide for now; there are bigger fish to fry), you nowhere claim not to be in favor of compelled speech — which is what the Colorado law, as the plaintiffs assert, actually imposes. This is not something which can be evaded — your position is clearly that you are happy to compel, on pain of severance of livelihood and/or civil (and perhaps criminal, should such laws be made) penalty, speech by bakers and others so long as it is a "special", protected group that is involved.

This is where your despite of those with this position is made most evident: you deny them the truthfulness and the dignity of their argument that this is about speech and/or actual, defensible theological positions, and instead pretend that it is all about animus toward homosexuals (they are "anti-LBGTetc.", as you put it elsewhere). You ask them to remove themselves and their skills from the marketplace unless they do as they're told and decorate their cakes as ordered (preferably, of course, without even silent disapproval of what they're being made to do). This is silencing speech; this is shaming those with opposing viewpoints by making their participation in commerce dependent on their willingness to collaborate with and work for things they find sinful. Shaming, silencing, exclusion: this is the law in question, this is what you advocate for here.

If liberty is curtailed, and especially when it is removed from someone (as you would have the marketplace act; vendors, makers, etc., are nothing but input/output machines in your schema), in an attempt to treat people equally under the law, then the attempt is, at best, flawed, and (probably) wrong at its heart.

The world you would have us live in is a curious one. It is a place where speech and freedom end where the dollar begins, where some animals are more equal than others, and where the law is not meant to allow society to function, but is in place to control instead of set limits on the actions of its members. This is not a happy world in any sense of "happy".

Mbecker

Quote from: The Rev. Steven P. Tibbetts, STS on December 11, 2017, 04:23:43 PM
Quote from: Mbecker on December 11, 2017, 11:44:07 AM
Quote from: The Rev. Steven P. Tibbetts, STS on December 11, 2017, 01:10:25 AM
Quote from: Mbecker on December 11, 2017, 12:58:31 AM

The viewpoint of the baker in this case, as I understand it, is one that should be criticized.


Same-sex sexual behavior is sinful, contrary to biblical teaching and natural law. It carries the grave danger of unrepentant sin. Therefore my neighbor and community are best served by calling those in same-sex sexual relationships to repentance for that behavior and to a chaste lifestyle.

Pax et bonum,
Steven+

Steven,
Are you suggesting that Christian bakers should call their customers to repentance as a part of their basic service to all customers?

No.  Is the viewpoint I expressed one you believe should be criticized?

Pax, Steven+

Yes.

Mbecker

#58
Quote from: WJV on December 12, 2017, 04:37:48 PM
While you claim not to be in favor of silencing speech (let's let this slide for now; there are bigger fish to fry), you nowhere claim not to be in favor of compelled speech — which is what the Colorado law, as the plaintiffs assert, actually imposes. This is not something which can be evaded — your position is clearly that you are happy to compel, on pain of severance of livelihood and/or civil (and perhaps criminal, should such laws be made) penalty, speech by bakers and others so long as it is a "special", protected group that is involved.

This is where your despite of those with this position is made most evident: you deny them the truthfulness and the dignity of their argument that this is about speech and/or actual, defensible theological positions, and instead pretend that it is all about animus toward homosexuals (they are "anti-LBGTetc.", as you put it elsewhere). You ask them to remove themselves and their skills from the marketplace unless they do as they're told and decorate their cakes as ordered (preferably, of course, without even silent disapproval of what they're being made to do). This is silencing speech; this is shaming those with opposing viewpoints by making their participation in commerce dependent on their willingness to collaborate with and work for things they find sinful. Shaming, silencing, exclusion: this is the law in question, this is what you advocate for here.

If liberty is curtailed, and especially when it is removed from someone (as you would have the marketplace act; vendors, makers, etc., are nothing but input/output machines in your schema), in an attempt to treat people equally under the law, then the attempt is, at best, flawed, and (probably) wrong at its heart.

The world you would have us live in is a curious one. It is a place where speech and freedom end where the dollar begins, where some animals are more equal than others, and where the law is not meant to allow society to function, but is in place to control instead of set limits on the actions of its members. This is not a happy world in any sense of "happy".

What "speech" is being compelled here? As reported by the baker, the "conversation" lasted less then 30 seconds. There was absolutely no discussion about what would be written on the cake, no discussion about what would be presented on the cake.

I am not in favor of "compelling" someone to say or write or create something against his or her will. If the baker could not in good conscience write or depict something on the custom cake, he should be allowed to give his reasons, and those reasons, right or wrong, should be respected by the customer. But the baker cannot control how people will respond to those reasons. As far as I can tell, the conversation between the baker and the couple never got to the point of the baker giving his reasons for why he could not write or depict something objectionable on the cake. He simple refused to do business with the couple altogether because the couple was gay.

The baker acknowledged that he is opposed to gay marriage. That's why he wouldn't listen any further to the couple beyond the initial request for a celebratory cake. His action in this matter appears to me to have broken the law of Colorado.

Moreover, I do not think the baker's anti-gay position is theologically defensible. I am pleased that this term most of my students (who are 18-30 yrs of age; a majority of which claim to be Christian) do not agree with the baker's action here. At least a couple of students changed their minds after our in-class debate on whether or not Christians should support gay marriage. I'm not the only one who thinks that the baker in question tried to shame these potential customers, all within 30 seconds or so.

Every business transaction in this country is involved in sinful behavior. There is no "sin-free" economic transaction in this country, especially when they involve credit. I would argue that no economic transaction is free of sin. Every business transaction is a collaboration of one kind or another with sinful behavior. How do you know that your business investments are altogether free of sin and that through those transactions you are in no way colluding with sinful actors and sinful behaviors?

The Christian baker in this case was wrong to do what he did, at least as far as I can tell, based on the available evidence.

Matt Becker

Mbecker

Quote from: The Rev. Steven P. Tibbetts, STS on December 12, 2017, 04:07:19 PM
Quote from: Mbecker on December 12, 2017, 01:42:00 AM

Every human being should be treated as equal under the law.

It's a great line, Dr. Becker.  It would sound better if you hadn't tossed it out in the context of describing the law as compelling, rather than curtailing, specific attitudes and behaviors. 

:(

If you are referring to "compelling" the baker to do something against his will, I find no evidence of such "compelling." Within 30 seconds or so he told the couple in question that he does not do business with gay people. That action, it seems to me, violates Colorado law. The discussion never got around to the specifics of the cake itself.

By acting the way he did, the baker certainly compelled the gay couple to leave his business startled and troubled and angry. He had discriminated against them. He curtailed them from entering into a business transaction with him. He had treated them differently from most every other customer, or so it seems.

Matt Becker

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