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Religious freedom and same-sex marriage: How a wedding cake in Colorado became a cause

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  • Lane Myer Salt Lake City, UT
    April 9, 2014 9:51 a.m.

    Dr Thom,

    Please read Furry 1993's posts. It will explain the difference between you "forcing" a Muslim to sell pork and the baker who bakes wedding cakes for everyone but gays.

    If your BBQ shop sells their pork to everyone BUT a Muslim (because the BBQ shop does not believe that Muslims should eat pork), they are going to be in trouble with the law, if the Muslim brings a case. It is not up to the BBQ shop owners to decide how a Muslim should live. That is between the Muslim and his God.

  • Dr. Thom Long Beach, CA
    April 9, 2014 5:26 a.m.

    A local restaurant in my area is run by a Muslim couple and they don't serve pork, and guess what, I am not offended since its is part of their religious convictions which is why I go to the BBQ shop down the street. Just because I like pork and its against their beliefs should I force them to serve a product when I can find what I need at another location? One would presume that the best way for homosexuals to get the products and services they want is to support like minded companies. After all this flack, would anyone really want to eat a cake made by someone who was forced to? The baker should make their cake but decorate it with the image of a husband and wife, not a same-sex couple, or just make a cake that doesn't taste good such as leaving out salt in the recipe.

    The first rule in the military is to not annoy the people who serve you your food. The same lesson should be applied here.

  • Lilalips Attleboro, MA
    April 8, 2014 11:17 a.m.

    What happened to the idea that businesses have the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason? Jim and Bob can get another cake anywhere. They are not harmed because Shelley Christian didn't want to sell them one of HERS. Who cares? What happened to "live and let live". If it were public accommodations or a grocery store I could empathize with the gay couple… but the provider of the service is an artist, someone who puts himself or herself into the creation, is different. Artistry, on some level, needs consent by the artist. Artistry such as wedding cake making is not fundamental to life and living as public accommodations are.

  • Stormwalker Cleveland , OH
    April 7, 2014 5:26 p.m.

    So claim this is a "deeply held religious issue."

    1 Peter 2:18 (ESV) Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust.

    Ephesians 6:5-6 (ESV) Obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ.

    1 Timothy 6:1 (ESV) Let all who are under a yoke as slaves regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled.

    And what if you decide you don't want to honor those you work for? The Bible has an answer for that, too:

    Luke 12:47 (ESV) And that servant who knew his master's will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating.

    So maybe not "sincere religious belief." Maybe just regular prejudice.

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    April 7, 2014 11:54 a.m.

    @Jamescmeyer

    Additional explanation -- I ran out of words my previous post.

    When I spoke of the waiver the right to discriminate or refuse any type of service otherwise available in the marketplace to people in the protected classes, I was speaking of broad categories of "service available in the marketplace". For example, if a baker bakes wedding cakes, s/he must provide those cakes to the people in the protected classes. On the other hand, if the baker does not provide bachelor party cakes or halloween cakes, etc., to anyone, then the baker is not required to make an exception and provide a cake not otherwise available from the bakier to those in the protected classes.

    Simply put -- if the business provides a given product to some people then it cannot refuse to provide the product to someone in a protected class. If the business does not, as part of its normal business operaiton, produce a given product then the business is not required to produce it for anyone, member of a protected class or not.

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    April 7, 2014 11:12 a.m.

    @Jamescmeyer

    "A person has the right to lend their services as they please; they can not be compelled to support something they choose not to. There is no basis by which to state that they can't pick and choose who to serve."

    ------------------

    That's true up to a certain point, but it's not an absolute. When a person gets a business license, s/he AGREES to follow the law at the time the license is obtained and any laws in the future that are passed dealing with the operation of a business. One of those laws in all jurisdictions is a law against refusal of service or other prejudicial/discriminatory acts against people in identified classes such as, among others, age, race, sex, handicap and in some jurisdictions sexual orientation. By obtaining a business license, the person waives the right to discriminate or refuse any type of service otherwise available in the marketplace to people in the protected classes. Any breach of that agreement is actionable. One's personal beliefs, even those otherwise protected by the First Amendment, become secondary because of the AGREEMENT inherent in the business license to follow the law.

  • RFLASH Salt Lake City, UT
    April 7, 2014 9:38 a.m.

    I have been with my partner 15 years. We didn't get the chance to marry when things happened here in Utah. It is more important to me than it is my partner. I guess that is how he handles it. We all handle the discrimination in our own way! I wouldn't have done anything in this situation because I hate fighting like that, but they had every right to stand up against discrimination. In my opinion, it is a sad excuse to use our belief in Jesus Christ to treat someone like they are garbage!
    I have always believed in God and in Jesus Christ. It is sad that so many people push us off to the side! They take a few scriptures to justify some really bad stuff! Anyway, I have spent years being treated like I was against God! I never stopped believing in Him! I know that Christ is fine with me! I am almost 50 years old! People don't think we know anything about it! Come on! there is no reason God would treat us badly, but there is a reason we are gay, and God knows that reason because He Made us!

  • Utefan60 Salt Lake City, UT
    April 7, 2014 9:26 a.m.

    To: Jamescmeyer The covenants that people take are their own, as are their opinions about marriage. In our fair state, "traditional marriage" in the past included multiple wives. (Also in some parts of our State it is practiced by thousands of follower) So really when you say something is "traditional" we have to take it in context. I may not believe in Same Sex marriages but that should not cause me to discriminate against anyone who does!

  • Jamescmeyer Midwest City, USA, OK
    April 7, 2014 8:17 a.m.

    @Two For Flinching
    That simply doesn't make sense. A person has the right to lend their services as they please; they can not be compelled to support something they choose not to. There is no basis by which to state that they can't pick and choose who to serve.

    @Utefan60
    WHether or not to consume alcohol or coffee are matters of personal covenant; they people they serve are free to choose whether or not they do so. The purpose and definition of marriage, however, are not up to preference or choice; it is a man and a woman. It is an entirely different thing to reject lending business to an event used to undermine this fact.

  • Two For Flinching Salt Lake City, UT
    April 6, 2014 10:48 p.m.

    @ Samuel L.

    There is no irony. If you don't believe it's right to be gay, than don't be gay. It's that simple. However, you don't get to discriminate against people just because they are different than you. It's wrong for a Christian to deny service to homosexual people; likewise, it would be wrong for a homosexual business owner to deny service to someone who is LDS.

  • Two For Flinching Salt Lake City, UT
    April 6, 2014 10:45 p.m.

    @ AZDZRTFOX

    Discrimination and intolerance are NOT religious convictions. Sorry. The baker is not celebrating anything. He is baking a cake for people who are.

    @ Spoc

    It would not be appropriate. If the restaurant that employs the waiter serves alcohol on the menu, than the waiter is expected to do his job. He doesn't get to pick and choose what he serves the customers. Same with the baker. He bakes and sells cakes. He doesn't get to discriminate based on his personal religious convictions.

  • Utefan60 Salt Lake City, UT
    April 6, 2014 10:25 p.m.

    What about the Mormon employee working at Starbucks selling coffee to get through school. Or the Muslim employee selling beer and tobacco at the Maverik? It doesn't hurt their religious beliefs to sell those things, nor does it hurt the religious beliefs of the baker selling the cake.

  • O'really Idaho Falls, ID
    April 6, 2014 7:05 p.m.

    It sounds like someone had think skin about this. The shop owner telling them no on the cake was worse than being slurred in previous years? Seriously?

  • Utah Businessman Sandy, UT
    April 6, 2014 6:51 p.m.

    I was pleased to see an article that details many factors on both sides of this issue. Although a romantic SS relationship is something that I cannot relate to, I think that I would probably provide the SS couple with the cake. I would also probably let them know that I do not agree with the concept of SS marriage, but that I respect their feelings and beliefs just as I would expect them to respect mine. This would likely promote friendship and communication that could be beneficial to all parties involved. Friendship and the communication it leads to often has amazing positive consequences.

  • Avenue Vernal, UT
    April 6, 2014 6:48 p.m.

    @Ryfren
    If you truly believe in the bible, you should also believe in the standing it has on homosexuality.
    "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them." (Leviticus 20:13)

  • Truthseeker2 SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA
    April 6, 2014 6:21 p.m.

    "Thou shalt not commit adultery"

    Matthew 5
    " But I say unto you, That whosoever shall aput away his bwife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery."

    Does the baker also screen out the adulterers and fornicators?

    If not, why not?

  • logicguy TUCSON, AZ
    April 6, 2014 5:55 p.m.

    >Truthseeker: "Which baker more resembles what we are taught in the New Testament?"
    Obviously, the one who politely turned down the request to bake the cake.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    April 6, 2014 5:29 p.m.

    This is NOT about selling something. The gay couple could have bought any cake off the shelf.

    This is about forcing and compelling the baker's personal labor and service in support of something that is against his religious beliefs.

    A business license does not require him to give up his constitutional rights. It just gives him license to operate a business and pay business taxes.

  • Ryfren Coralville , IA
    April 6, 2014 3:54 p.m.

    Okay. This one is really just too easy. But let's waste our time on it anyway:
    How does Mr. Phillips feel about all the other mortal sins mentioned in the Bible, such as eating shrimp, etc? And what did Christ himself actually really say about homosexuality? .... (chirp...chirp...chirp...). Where is Christ ever specifically mentioning homosexuality as a sin? Oh yeah, finally, there's one...! No wait! That was Paul, wasn't it!? Hmmm... a murderer (actually, by today's definition, more like an inquisition-type genocidal maniac)! And also someone who claims to have had a vision, during a time, when he felt just too awfully guilty about his having gone "adrift". But, unfortunately, no chance for Christ to ever step in and say: "Hold on, Paul, I never said that!" Christ was already gone at that time. And if he were to come back, one wonders if Paul and the likes of Mr. Phillips wouldn't advocate crucifying him a second time. Time to read the bible for yourselves, people! And don't conveniently abandon reason, while doing so. Because that also happens to be one of God's commandments.

  • Eliyahu Pleasant Grove, UT
    April 6, 2014 2:59 p.m.

    @Spoc:
    "A better comparison would be a bookstore that sells magazines, but refuses to sell what it deems obscene or offensive material. I would not expect to find Islamic Horizons magazine at Eichlers Judaica bookstore nor should they be compelled to sell it."

    Not a good comparison at all. The baker isn't being asked to sell something that he doesn't carry or stock. He's being asked to sell the same thing he sells to other customers. The comparison would be if the bookstore told a customer that he couldn't buy a wedding planning book because he's gay.

  • Eliyahu Pleasant Grove, UT
    April 6, 2014 2:53 p.m.

    logicguy

    "What if an African American baker were asked to make a cake for a Ku Klux Klan rally?"

    @arand

    "He doesn't make cakes for bachelor parties or halloween parties either. Should he go to jail for that also?"

    You're both drawing false equivalencies. Unless a baker makes cakes for other events that are specifically racist, he isn't discriminating by refusing to make them for a Klan rally. Similarly, since he doesn't make any cakes for bachelor or Halloween parties regardless of who the customer is, there's no comparison. Here, he's refusing to make something that he routinely makes for other customers.

    The difference lies in whether his refusal is based on an innate aspect of the person ordering it -- race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, or sexual orientation. When you're running a business that is considered a place of public accommodation -- which includes retail bakers -- you don't have the right to refuse service for those reasons any more than you can put up a sign saying "whites only" or "no Mormons".

  • Stormwalker Cleveland , OH
    April 6, 2014 1:42 p.m.

    A well written article that actually shows both sides to increase understanding instead of pushing an agenda.

    But here is the problem: Phillips the baker wants to improve people's lives "because that's what Christ does." I have read the every word of the Gospels several times. I can't find a place where Jesus refused to help or heal a person because he disagreed with their "lifestyle." In fact, helping those who were different got them to listen.

    Phillips could have baked the cake and wished them good fortune. The couple would have a positive impression of a born-again Christian, perhaps being willing to hear the message of the life change Phillips expressed in this story. Instead he caused pain and made sure he would never be heard.

    The Bible gives believers rules to follow in their own lives. It also tells how believers are to treat others. What part of "do unto others" turns into "I won't bake a cake to add to your happiness on your special day"?

  • Lucy Says St. George, UT
    April 6, 2014 12:45 p.m.

    So the baker does not have the same rights as the gay couple?
    The baker is expected to violate his religious beliefs because those beliefs do not conform with the "New Normal" of society?
    Are the baker's values and beliefs less important than the gay couple?
    In the eyes of the law it certainly appears that way.
    How unfortunate that religious beliefs are no longer considered part of our civil rights/liberties.
    How incredibly ironic that people are being penalized for some of the very principles this country was founded on.

  • Samuel L. Murray, UT
    April 6, 2014 12:30 p.m.

    Two for Flinching writes: "Do your job and stop trying to force the rest of the world to live by your definition of morality."

    Can you see the irony in that statement? You obviously think it is moral to force people to violate deeply held beliefs and insist on forcing "the rest of the world to live by your definition of morality".

  • Samuel L. Murray, UT
    April 6, 2014 12:20 p.m.

    Bob K writes: "But you are not good enough to buy a cake there, it seems.
    How do you feel?"

    Someone asks you to do something against your deepest held beliefs. The issue is not the persons themselves. You would gladly offer your services if it were anything else. They may even be your good friends. But this one thing you cannot do. It doesn't seem like a big deal to others, but it has profound significance to you. The people in your nation don't care. They hold a gun to your head.

    How do you feel?

    It's going to be a pretty miserable society if we whip out the guns whenever people hold opinions we don't agree with or don't give us the affirmation we think we deserve.

  • Spoc Ogden, UT
    April 6, 2014 11:49 a.m.

    @cjb
    "I doubt this cake place refuses to serve women who have been divorced. And if not it really isn't about following religion anyway."

    Wrong comparison. He did not refuse them service. We know he refuses to make cakes celebrating Halloween. In your example, he might feel similarly about a cake celebrating divorce.

    @Two for Flinching
    "Would it be appropriate for a Mormon waiter to refuse to serve a customer who ordered a beer?"

    It certainly would be appropriate. If he is not the owner his choice may require him to decide whether to remain employed there, but it is still his choice. Carried to its ridiculous end, your logic suggests that every business that meets the qualifications for a liquor license should be required to obtain one and be compelled to serve beer to anyone who asks for it. That is of course not what you meant.

    A better comparison would be a bookstore that sells magazines, but refuses to sell what it deems obscene or offensive material. I would not expect to find Islamic Horizons magazine at Eichlers Judaica bookstore nor should they be compelled to sell it.

  • Really??? Kearns, UT
    April 6, 2014 11:28 a.m.

    CONTINUED:

    Believe me, the cake decorator, florist, or photographer does not compel anyone to repent by denying them their services. Such actions instead lead to contention, and who have we been taught is the father of contention?

    Being a respecter of persons mean that you make claims of superiority over others. You believe that God loves some people over others. That is not the gospel of Jesus Christ. In fact, he tells us that showing favoritism is a sin in James 2: 9.

    God's greatest commandment is love. We do not do that by denying others--even sinners--the services that we would provide every other customer. So, who is with me on extending more love to all of God's children?

  • Really??? Kearns, UT
    April 6, 2014 11:16 a.m.

    I don't see this as a religious freedom issue; it seems to be more an issue about freedom of association. There is this unreasonable fear that florists or cake decorators who sell their services to a gay wedding somehow instantly become advocates for gay marriage. I would think a reasonable business owner would be more concerned about providing the best service to all customers regardless of their sexual orientation.

    I believe that the real fear is that once these business owners start serving gay marriages, they will discover the authentic love those couples share. Their opposition to same-sex marriage may fade, and they believe that will lead them down an imaginary slippery slope to do other things that violate their moral convictions. Instead, they will learn more unconditional love and realize that gay people who want to marry aren't the immoral, selfish people that they have been led to believe.

    Perhaps we need to all think about what the scriptures mean when they tell us that God is "no respecter of persons." He didn't lead anyone to repentance by denying them service. He blessed them and then commanded them to go and sin no more.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    April 6, 2014 10:31 a.m.

    I would also point out:

    Same-sex marriage is banned in CO. The gay couple was married in MA and were simply having a reception in CO. Essentially, the baker was refusing to provide a cake for a party, simply because the couple was gay.

    It was another baker in CO who, after reading about the couple being refused a cake, reached out and provided their cake.

    Which baker more resembles what we are taught in the New Testament?

  • anotherview SLO, CA
    April 6, 2014 10:18 a.m.

    It is refreshing to see an article in DN which provides both sides of the story. DN readers would be well-served if there were personal stories from our LGBT community and their families--such as the Montgomery family from central CA.

    If "Christian" bakers were screening all their customers for egregious sins, there would at least be a veneer of sincerity.

    Charlie Craig's mom, Deborah Munn wrote an article, " It Was Never About the Cake."

    ..."I just sat there in disbelief. All of the levity that we felt on the drive to the bakery was gone. As I left that bakery, my heart was breaking for my son and his fiancee. What should have been a joyous occasion had turned into a humiliating occasion.

    The decision that Judge Spencer made has renewed my hope that no other couple in Colorado will face discrimination by a business owner based on their sexual orientation. It was never about the cake. It was about my son being treated like a lesser person."

  • xert Santa Monica, CA
    April 6, 2014 10:11 a.m.

    Intolerance, pure and simple. We can find many soft ways to tell a black man to go to the balcony or use separate drinking fountains,
    We can carry on Jim Crow laws for decades, so that we might allow ourselves the freedom to discriminate as much as we legally can. We can use Orwellian doublespeak and call bigotry "religious freedom" but in the end, intolerance reveals itself and good people will not let it stand. Such shall be the case here, when all is said and done.

  • RBB Sandy, UT
    April 6, 2014 10:07 a.m.

    Waikiki Dave,

    But people who boycott a business, author, etc., based on the religous beliefs of the owners are not bigots? If they guy does not make halloween cakes or bachelor party cakes either, it sounds like he is simply living his religion. It is not discrimination base on sexual orientation - it is discrimination based on an event. I find it stunning that you suggest criminal prosecution for people living their religion. Would you like to go back to the days of criminal prosecution for people following their sexual orientation?

  • 4601 Salt Lake City, UT
    April 6, 2014 10:08 a.m.

    Could the baker refuse to decorate a cake celebrating Hitler, swastikas and all?

  • AZDZRTFOX Hucahuca City, AZ
    April 6, 2014 10:04 a.m.

    Two For Flinching
    Salt Lake City, UT
    "Baking a cake has nothing to do with the bakers religious beliefs. Would it be appropriate for a Mormon waiter to refuse to serve a customer who ordered a beer? Do your job and stop trying to force the rest of the world to live by your definition of morality."

    Precisely, stop trying to force everyone to accept and tolerate the homosexual lifestyle. This baker sincerely felt compelled by his religious convictions which prevent him from using his talents and business to celebrate what he believes is an immoral and sinful act.

    By assassinating the baker's character, attacking his business and his personal religious convictions, these two homosexuals have in reality violated his First Amendment right to exercise his religious convictions.

    There are many things we all disagree with in life. But to take that disagreement to such a level of intolerance as to destroy one's life, business and character is the uttermost of intolerance. The feelings of these two may have been hurt, yet there are other bakeries that would have been happy to bake a cake for them.

  • Rustymommy Clovis, NM
    April 6, 2014 10:03 a.m.

    The use of the word bigot is out of control. By definition bigotry is judging somebody without reason. This baker didn't say he hated anybody. He didn't refuse to bake the cake because he hated them, but because he felt that gay marriage violated his belief system. If he baked a cake that mocked their marriage, maybe bigotry. If he sent his friends out to beat them up, bigotry. But politely stating that it doesn't fall within his belief system, not bigotry. Think if things were the other way around. Suppose a gay ran a bakery. Should he be compelled to make a cake for an anti-gay rally? I think not. Everybody is entitled to a belief system. You are not infringing on somebody else's beliefs when you refuse to participate in a cause. You are definitely infringing on somebody else's beliefs when you force them to participate in a cause. Just find another bakery. If you want to make a difference, tell all your friends not to use that bakery. But don't force somebody to do something that violates their belief system.

  • Samuel L. Murray, UT
    April 6, 2014 10:00 a.m.

    waikiki_dave wrote: "People who operate a business and choose to deny services to gay people are bigots and should be subject to prosecution."

    People who patronize businesses and deny their money to ________ (fill in the blank Christian, devil worshipping, gay, pancake-eating) business owners are bigots and should be subject to prosecution.

    Obviously that doesn't make sense. *Nobody* should be prosecuted for electing to not participate in a free exchange. We shouldn't single out business owners for special restrictions just because they operate from a fixed location.

  • Samuel L. Murray, UT
    April 6, 2014 9:55 a.m.

    It is deeply unjust to force people to violate their deeply held beliefs by putting a gun to their heads. And the gun is not just metaphorical. If the baker were to resist you can be sure that actual guns would be quick to arrive on the scene. To see the injustice consider if the roles were reversed. Would it be just to put a gun to the heads of the gay couple to force them to hand over their money to a Christian baker?

    The right thing to do is to put the guns away and leave both parties (those selling money and those selling goods) to make free exchanges with whom they please.

  • Moderate Salt Lake City, UT
    April 6, 2014 9:54 a.m.

    U-tar "the baker has the right to do what he wants"
    A business owner cannot do what he wants. Running a business is privilege, not a right. Just like driving a car is a privilege, you need a license and must obey the rules.

  • Matt9898 Salt lake, UT
    April 6, 2014 9:54 a.m.

    Let's not forget that religion was used not so long ago in the south as an excuse to discriminate against black Americans. Remember the picture of those "good Christians", who threw angry epithets at children trying to go to school. As Christians, let's not forget the message of Jesus, of love and tolerance. Let he who is without sin...cast the first stone.

  • johnklds UK, 00
    April 6, 2014 9:53 a.m.

    It should not be a problem to refuse to bake someone a cake for whatever reason.

  • AZDZRTFOX Hucahuca City, AZ
    April 6, 2014 9:44 a.m.

    People (you know who you are in this thread) who are quick to claim bigotry on this issue are being judgmental and would be considered hypocritical ignorami.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    April 6, 2014 9:38 a.m.

    A gay wedding is an event. Like a meeting of the GLAAD is an event. Like a meeting of the National Organization of Marriage is an event. Like a talk by Mother Teresa is an event. Like a KKK cross burning is an event.

    This baker did not discriminate against gays. He's served them in the past. Just like the florist in Oregon who would not do flower arrangements for a gay wedding. She had been making floral arrangements for the potential customer for years.

    If it is discrimination to boycott a gay wedding, then you will have to say that getting married is a immutable property of gay people. Just like contributing to Prop 8 is an immutable property of some religious people.

    One should be able to boycott an event.

  • Shoe Auburn, King, WA
    April 6, 2014 9:34 a.m.

    Let the market make the difference. If you don't want to make cakes for homosexual weddings that is your prerogative as a businessman. Many cake makers have no qualms about that, use them. They get your business the other bakery does not. A new bakery business might see serving homosexual couples as a business opportunity and may want to specialize and emphasis that in their advertising. Since homosexuality is becoming more acceptable in our society that very likely is or will be happening. Homosexuals, you don't need to crush someone's business because of your sensitivity, take your business elsewhere and build up that business. That is the most productive reprisal against a business model that offends you.

  • Stalwart Sentinel San Jose, CA
    April 6, 2014 9:25 a.m.

    So, applying conservative logic consistently here, until this baker's random "I found Jesus" moment while driving his car in his mid-twenties, he was living a life contrary to the Bible so he should have been denied service in restaurants, hotels, gas stations, grocery stores, etc... etc....

    This is a great breakthrough. Now, instead of a greeter at a supermarket, we can have interrogators asking "Hi, welcome to "blank". Are you a fornicator?" "Did you have that child out of wedlock?" "Have you coveted today?"

    Joking aside, the fact that conservatives don't apply this standard across the board but rather have chosen to approve of it when applied against LGBT folks is undeniable proof positive of bigotry.

  • arand Huntsville, u
    April 6, 2014 9:20 a.m.

    He doesn't make cakes for bachelor parties or halloween parties either. Should he go to jail for that also?

  • logicguy TUCSON, AZ
    April 6, 2014 9:14 a.m.

    What if an African American baker were asked to make a cake for a Ku Klux Klan rally? Should he be fined and punished for refusing to do so?

  • windsor City, Ut
    April 6, 2014 9:07 a.m.

    The Scientist said

    "Bigotry is so ingrained and automatic, we shouldn't be surprised they cannot see it in themselves."

    Interesting you can see this in others-- and not see it in your own ingrained and automatic bigotry against the LDS Church, as your many comments on these comment boards attest.

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    April 6, 2014 9:00 a.m.

    @SigmaBlue “Moral courage needs to take a stand for what is right.”

    Living in Utah, you’re pretty much insulated from the bigotry and, in some cases, outright hate that some Evangelicals feel toward Mormons. And they feel just as passionately as you do that their cause is “right”. Many of them also feel that way about blacks--that their God ordained the separation of the races. But--unless you like living in a society where people can discriminate at will, personal feelings have to be put aside and people need to be treated civilly. This is why we have laws prohibiting discrimination against people because of their race or religion. Nobody is forcing somebody to make Halloween cakes or sell alcohol if they have religious objections. The point of the plaintiffs is that it’s discriminatory to agree to make wedding cakes for some people and not others.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    April 6, 2014 8:49 a.m.

    When we start seeing stories about people denied goods or services for no other reason than because they are not gay or are christian, then we will have achieved a place where this guys' actions were correct.

  • Kirk R Graves West Jordan, UT
    April 6, 2014 8:47 a.m.

    @The Scientist
    You keep using that word. I do not thing it means what you think it means.
    To help you out, I have included the definition: Bigot-stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one's own.

    This baker is willing to do other types of cakes for gay people. So it isn't the fact they are gay which is the issue. It is that he doesn't do cakes for certain types of events. Not the same thing.

    @Bob K
    That there is another baker a couple doors down and I can just let it wash off my back.

  • Wilf 55 SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    April 6, 2014 8:44 a.m.

    Balanced article that highlights the feelings from both sides. But still, it cannot convince me of the baker's viewpoint to refuse service to a gay couple. Compare: some people consider Mormons as belonging to a cult and condemn their practices as against Scriptures. Would we find it acceptable that a business refuses to service a Mormon couple?

  • viejogeezer CARLSBAD, CA
    April 6, 2014 8:34 a.m.

    I'm curious and don't know the answer to this but am open to suggestions. When one opens a business and utilizes public roads, sidewalks, utilities, airwaves, etc and offers a service to the general public in exchange for monetary compensation does he incur a duty to provide that service equally to all comers? If gay members of the public helped pay equally for the infrastructure from which the business profits do they have the right to demand equal service?
    Any thoughts?

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    April 6, 2014 8:20 a.m.

    Now if it had been a black woman and a white man wanting a wedding cake, and it was against this man's religion--would all you commenters still see it the same way?

    Suppose the baker refused to do a cake when you told him it was a Temple wedding...because he considers the LDS religion to be unacceptable..would you still feel the same way?

    Suppose it was a wedding cake for a second marriage and the baker refused because his religion does not allow for divorce--anybody out there who thinks this would be OK?

  • Chessermesser West Valley City, UT
    April 6, 2014 8:08 a.m.

    Another "you must accept us" story. The gay couple wants everyone to accept them. They don't care about how the baker feels. He doesn't have rights.

    Why are we as a society making this so complicated? The baker respectfully refused. It was obvious why he did so. He has his own beliefs and the gay couple have theirs. They don't match. They never wil. If both sides are courteous about choosing to disagree, that ought to be sufficient.

    Who funds the ACLU, anyway?

  • AZDZRTFOX Hucahuca City, AZ
    April 6, 2014 7:53 a.m.

    Morality has become, and is becoming, more and more politicized globally. Once being an individual choice of agency how one chooses to live, morality is evolving into socio-political agendas that have now formed the basis of a new discrimination toward those who wish to live their lives under traditional Judeo-Christian morals. Christ taught to love everybody, but never taught to rationalize, support, condone or tolerate sinful behavior.

    Elder Bruce D. Porter said March 5, 2010,

    "When tolerance is so inflated out of all proportions, it means the death of virtue, for the essence of morality is to draw clear distinctions between right and wrong. All virtue requires saying no firmly and courageously to all that is morally bankrupt."

    The global socio-progressive movement is blurring the essence of morality, turning that which is right to wrong, and that which is wrong to right. It is advancing it's progressive moral agenda via hypocritical intolerance and bigotry. Those who wish to continue to lives their lives as Christ taught must do so "firmly and courageously" as this man in in Colorado and others elsewhere have done.

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    April 6, 2014 7:47 a.m.

    When a person goes into business s/he gets a business license. I presume this baker had a business license.

    To get a business license, you have to agree to obey the laws in place and established in the future concerning the operation of a business. I presume this baker, did just that to get his license.

    One of the laws that the baker agreed to follow was a state law that forbids refusal of service based on sexual orientation. By refusing to bake the Mullins/Craig wedding cake, the baker broke that law -- a law he had previously agreed to obey.

    The judge rightly found that the baker broke the law, and rightly held him liable for not doing what he agreed to do when he got his business license.

    This had nothing to do with religion. If it did, the baker would refuse to bake cakes for all classes of sinners (molesters, abusers thieves, liars, etc.) but he will bake wedding cakes for all of THEM. He just wants to pick the class of sinner for whom he will not provide service. That is based on prejudice and discrimination, not religion.

  • Eliyahu Pleasant Grove, UT
    April 6, 2014 7:27 a.m.

    @ChrisB:
    "
    When a BLT person comes in and wants a cake for their "marriage" the owner should tell them what they think of gay "marriage" and what the bible says about homosexuality. "

    And if a person comes in to buy a cake and appears overweight, the owner should tell them what he thinks about fat people and what the bible says about gluttony. (Hint: it says a lot more about gluttony than about sexual behavior.) Similarly, if the couple are not of the same faith, he ought to tell them what he and the bible say about marrying outside one's faith. Same thing if either of them has been divorced without biblical grounds. Or is there only one "sin" of which he disapproves because refusing on any other grounds would cut into his profits too much?

  • Uncle Mordecai GREAT FALLS, MT
    April 6, 2014 6:45 a.m.

    I think the two dudes wanting to get a wedding cake were obviously sincere, but in light of how personal Phillips tries to make his cakes it would have put him in a very awkward position. Marriage is a religious institution. To say, "Hey you can modify it any way you like and I'll endorse it" seems to be compromising in principle. What if someone who asked him to make a bachelor party cake tried to take the angle, "Hey, you're discriminating"? Or people started to ask for "divorce cakes." Ultimately, I'm glad the guys were reasonable and got the cake made somewhere else. Good on them.

  • MAYHEM MIKE Salt Lake City, UT
    April 6, 2014 6:04 a.m.

    The baker doesn't bake cakes for Halloween? Uh oh! Soon, he'll be sued by Wiccans and Satanists!

  • Schwa South Jordan, UT
    April 6, 2014 1:58 a.m.

    I wonder what the authors would think if suddenly the majority of stores no longer accepted Christian customers. Would you feel ok if grocery stores, gas stations, and banks refused to do business with Christians? Why do you (if you do) think discrimination is ok?

  • Horse Sence Pocatello, ID
    April 6, 2014 1:16 a.m.

    I agree with Sampson! Why does tolerance seem to be a one way road with this issue? If you choose to live a LGTB life style, that's your choice. But don't FORCE me as a traditional-marriage-believer to agree with it or ACCEPT it!

  • Two For Flinching Salt Lake City, UT
    April 6, 2014 12:59 a.m.

    Baking a cake has nothing to do with the bakers religious beliefs. Would it be appropriate for a Mormon waiter to refuse to serve a customer who ordered a beer? Do your job and stop trying to force the rest of the world to live by your definition of morality.

    @ SigmaBlue

    Comparing same-sex couples to pedophilia and beastiality is very offensive, nor is it accurate. Children and animals can't legally sign a marriage license, so there is no need to worry about that becoming a reality. Not only that, but both of those thing constitute a significant amount of harm. Prove that same-sex marriage is detrimental to society, causes harm to straight couples, or disadvantages children and you will make a lot of money in the legal world. But so far, everybody who has tried to do so has failed.

  • The Rock Federal Way, WA
    April 6, 2014 12:11 a.m.

    @waikiki_dave

    "People who operate a business and choose to deny services to gay people are bigots and should be subject to prosecution."

    So we are going to fight discrimination with discrimination?

    Denying services to the gay couple may have hurt their feelings but it caused no harm.
    This is about revenge. They want to hurt anyone who disagrees with them. This will lead to persecution of all people who take their Christian religion seriously.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    April 5, 2014 11:49 p.m.

    @SigmaBlue. Gays our trying to destroy your way of life? You mean like preventing people who are in love from getting married.

    I think Christians need to stop thinking they are victims when they are the ones trying to force their way of life on everybody. Especially in Utah.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    April 5, 2014 11:40 p.m.

    Re sigma blue

    For the same reason if stores or resturants discriminated against you for what ever reason, you wouldn't put up with it either.

    Besides where in the Bible does it justify not selling to gay people? Are you aware that the Bible teaches that women who are divorced are not supposed to remarry? I doubt this cake place refuses to serve women who have been divorced. And if not it really isn't about following religion anyway.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    April 5, 2014 11:19 p.m.

    The United States having violated the golden rule in times past overtly through its discrimination is not now free to discriminate with impunity. A business owner may feel it is their right to discriminate against a certain class of people because those other people are not acting in accordance with the business owners religion.

    Given this nations history that is not reason enough. The business owner still can however choose to sell their business and go into another line of work. When a people abuse freedom they lose parts of their freedom . This is a part of our our inheritance which consists of both good and bad.

  • SigmaBlue Centerville, UT
    April 5, 2014 10:31 p.m.

    Why couldn't this gay couple just find another bakery that would bake their wedding cake rather than seek to take away the Phillp's Bakery's freedom of religion? It seems that the Gay Community wants others to be tolerate of their lifestyle, but won't extend the same coutesy to those with differing beliefs. This isn't about diversity or equality, it's about conformity and power. If the straight and Christian side of society won't conform to the Gay agenda, then they'll try to destroy your way of life. What's next, Christian's will be forced to accept Pedophile's who want to marry a child, or people into bestiality who want to marry their dog? We, as a nation, need to realize that there will be times when people's belief's will collide with one another, and that's when moral courage needs to take a stand for what is right.

  • samhill Salt Lake City, UT
    April 5, 2014 10:06 p.m.

    "The affair has made them realize, Mullins said, that 'as a minority, you don't have the option to opt out of the culture wars.'"
    ========================

    Every last one of us is a minority of one. When our most deeply held beliefs are disallowed by a society that can't find room for compromise, then our freedoms of thought and expression are denied.

    So, what happens when one minority has views that are contradictory with another? In a case like this, where one person feels constrained from participating in something the person believes is a violation of their structure of ethics is then compelled to participate regardless, it seems to be a obvious violation of their freedom of thought and expression. For surely, such a freedom includes NOT expressing and/or NOT thinking in some way.

    Yet, as shown by the judges ruling and a few comments here, some people feel completely justified , obligated in fact, in punishing others for simply NOT thinking and/or NOT expressing themselves in a way the judges deem "proper."

    How will the freedom of thought and expression survive? The same way it always has, by fighting for them!

  • Sampson Hurricane, UT
    April 5, 2014 9:59 p.m.

    The real issue is that this should not be a civil rights issue. The baker has the right to turn away customers. The free market system would be the real leverage. Forcing the cake maker to serve the customer takes away his right as a business owner. If another cake maker advertised that he would make cakes for any marriage, then he would corner the market. The first baker would lose a portion of the market. This is not the same as separate bathrooms and drinking fountains. The baker has his constitutional right to uphold his beliefs. Would we force a store owner to sell alcohol or tobacco if he felt those were products he didn't want to sell?

    Forcing the baker to make a cake against his will is not the way to handle it. The court ruling is wrong.

  • phatness SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    April 5, 2014 9:36 p.m.

    Well done on this article that encourages the reader to empathize with individuals on both sides of the debate. If all articles represented both sides of the story so well, I think it would eventually change the nature of voters, and therefore the nature of politics.

  • U-tar Woodland Hills, UT
    April 5, 2014 9:26 p.m.

    This is a free county, the baker has the right to do what he wants, leave the guy alone. I am sure there are gay bakers out there. If not, then the grocery store has Betty Crocker.

  • gmlewis Houston, TX
    April 5, 2014 9:04 p.m.

    Civil rights legislation was written in broad terms that do not limit the scope to what is reasonable. Therefore, it is easily subject to abusive use in private social situations. Is refusal to treat someone with respect the same thing as a physical assault? In the eyes of the law, there is no legal basis for recognizing the obvious difference. Is refusing to rent to a gay couple the same thing as suggesting they take their one-time wedding cake request to another bakery, while offering to provide pastries that celebrate any other family or personal event? The law can't see the difference.

    As legal precedents are established over trivial disputes, our laws have been corrupted. We will mourn that these days have come.

  • Bob K portland, OR
    April 5, 2014 9:00 p.m.

    When you go with your loved one and your Mom to pick out a cake for your wedding....

    You don't know the history of the baker.
    You don't know the religion of the baker.
    You don't know that he may have been a sinner and found God.
    You don't know he does not make Halloween cakes or batchelor party cakes.

    You just know that you are left out, unwanted, disapproved of, that your money has been refused, and you were told you do not qualify.

    Perhaps you ought to have noticed the cakes with the crosses,etc, but you consider yourself a Christian, and they did not bother you.

    Preparing for the most important occasion of your life -- something so good you could not have dreamed of it years ago, but that everyone else in your family can have -- you have been told you are not eligible.

    There was no sign in the window saying "No Gay Weddings".
    You are in a State where it is illegal to discriminate against Gays

    But you are not good enough to buy a cake there, it seems.

    How do you feel?

  • waikiki_dave Honolulu, HI
    April 5, 2014 8:27 p.m.

    People who operate a business and choose to deny services to gay people are bigots and should be subject to prosecution.

  • VA Saint Chester, VA
    April 5, 2014 8:18 p.m.

    Very good article. It is good to see a non-biased article that discusses both sides with respect.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    April 5, 2014 8:16 p.m.

    This Associated Press article puts a human face on both sides of this issue - something that is sadly missing from most of the stories I read. I suspect both sides have become unwitting and unwilling pawns in a sometimes deadly game. It would seem that helping people understand each other would be the highest calling of anyone in public life. Sadly, its easier to get attention and political power by appealing to peoples' fears than helping them see other points of view.

  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    April 5, 2014 8:11 p.m.

    Bigotry is so ingrained and automatic, we shouldn't be surprised they cannot see it in themselves.

  • Snapdragon Midlothian, VA
    April 5, 2014 7:55 p.m.

    The SSM debate needs to stop comparing itself to civil rights, and start comparing itself to the abortion issue.

    SSM is against moral and religious values. Would you go ask the cake man to go perform an abortion for you? How would you feel when he said no to that? The issues are morally comparable.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    April 5, 2014 7:28 p.m.

    I liked the approach one commentor suggested.

    When a BLT person comes in and wants a cake for their "marriage" the owner should tell them what they think of gay "marriage" and what the bible says about homosexuality.

    The owner can then explain that they will bake them a cake and that the proceeds will be donated to a pro-traditional marriage orgazniation.

    Then, bake their cake. When the person comes to pick up the cake, remind them again what the bible teaches us about this and thank them for donating to a pro-traditional marriage group!

    I applaud this man!