Religious Liberty or Discrimination?

by: Mormon Heretic

January 13, 2014

Jack Phillips, Owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop

Should a wedding cake owner be allowed to avoid making cakes for a same sex wedding?  Is the owner discriminating against the couple, or simply exercising their religious liberty?  A recent case in the Colorado courts ruled that the owner was discriminating against gays, and ruled in favor of the gay couple.  Now the case is headed for the U.S. Supreme Court.  What do you think?

What Should be the over-riding concern of the court?

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130 Responses to Religious Liberty or Discrimination?

  1. alice on January 13, 2014 at 3:49 PM

    I know everyone’s sensitivities to this issue has been raised all across the spectrum. It seems to me, tho, that to come up with a fair answer you have to be able to substitute any other social, gender, racial or economic group for “gay” and see how that works. Is the baker’s religious liberty challenged if senior citizens want to purchase a cake? Moslems? Bankers? Felons? Democrats? Which of them doesn’t sin? Who doesn’t sin? And whose sin is contagious anyway?

    Why are we willing to go to the place where we consider religious liberties threatened at any contact with an “other” group in a polyglot culture? It’s unreasonable. It’s uncivilized. It’s, basically, sorta hysterical and speaks to faith that lacks something in the substance department because the facts are, no one is going after anyone else’s religious liberties. …unless it’s the Moslems’ and atheists’.

    This is grandstanding. It’s judgmental. And it’s a very unChristian sort of prickliness.

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  2. New Iconoclast on January 13, 2014 at 4:14 PM

    A male Muslim marrying a female Muslim is not the legitimization of an inherently sinful act (the sexual consummation of that marriage). A male Democrat marrying a female Democrat is not the legitimization of an inherently sinful act. A male banker marrying a female banker is not the legitimization of an inherently sinful act.

    Our baker regards the marriage of two people of the same gender, regardless of their religion, politics, means of making a living, or criminal history, as the legitimization of an inherently sinful act (the sexual consummation of that marriage). He should not be forced by law to lend his talents and business acumen in support of that act. A law which forces him to do so is an unjust law.

    What’s more, it’s unjust in a particularly direct and personal way, unlike other unjust laws which force him to give his money, through taxation, to things he might not support, like wars or welfare or mass transit or ethanol subsidies. With this unjust law, he is directly and personally forced to put his business, his talent, and his energy to work in support of a cause or an event to which he is deeply morally opposed. That is a line we should be unwilling to cross, since crossing it degrades the notion of individual conscience and makes “morality” no more than a legal term defined by either a majority vote or a strong and active minority. If individual liberty is defined as the freedom to swing your arm until it meets someone else’s nose, this unjust law is deeply illiberal. You do not need to be opposed to same-gender marriage to respect the right of others to believe differently, and to accord them the freedom to run their own lives and businesses in harmony with their beliefs.

    To call such coercion “civilized” is to pervert the meaning of civilization.

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  3. Jon on January 13, 2014 at 4:40 PM

    Well what happens with a photography business? Don’t you sit down and decide if you want to do business together? Shouldn’t it be the same with this? I don’t really want a cake for someone that doesn’t want to make it for me.

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  4. kd on January 13, 2014 at 4:47 PM

    Could it not also be considered free speech by the baker to refuse to bake a cake for a same-sex couple, like a sort of boycott? I’ve seen protests on far more trivial topics.

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  5. ji on January 13, 2014 at 4:48 PM

    Is a professional photographer REQUIRED to accept a commission to shoot pornography? Is a publisher REQUIRED to accept a manuscript for a novel glamorizing incest? Is any artist ever required to accept a commission that he or she doesn’t want to? No. A baker creating a specialty cake is an artist.

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  6. dba.brotherp on January 13, 2014 at 5:33 PM

    Allowing discrimination opens up a Pandora’s box. Do you want police, fire, ems, pharma, doctors, electric companies, gas companies, cable companies, internet companies, etc able to discriminate against you for being Mormon? Sometimes, to get want you need you to let other people get what they need. Let’s quit mixing God and mammon.

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  7. babaroni on January 13, 2014 at 5:55 PM

    ji #5 – The point you are missing is that no one is required to sell any service they do not normally sell. The Jewish restauranteur is not required to serve pork ribs to someone who comes in and demands them if s/he does not normally carry pork ribs on the menu. The baker would not be required to bake a wedding cake for the couple if he did not normally bake wedding cakes for other couples. The issue, here, is not the wedding cake, itself (which the baker indisputably bakes for other customers), but the denial of service to someone on the basis of their sexual orientation, which is illegal in Colorado.

    It wouldn’t matter if the baker was gay and did not want to provide a cake for a straight couple’s wedding. He is not permitted by law (and he’s agreed to abide by laws governing businesses in Colorado by taking out his business license) to discriminated on the basis of characteristics including race, religion and sexual orientation, in the provision of his services.

    I wonder how many people who think this baker should be permitted to discriminate against the gay customer would also believe that he should be entitled to refuse service to an interracial couple if his church forbids interracial marriage?

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  8. babaroni on January 13, 2014 at 5:58 PM

    In fact, that would be an interesting question to add to this poll…

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  9. Mormon Heretic on January 13, 2014 at 7:00 PM

    kd, if you read the link above, the court said it is not free speech because the baker denied the request before he learned what they wanted to write on the cake.

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  10. Andrew S on January 13, 2014 at 7:01 PM

    re 5

    Bouncing off what babaroni said, the important thing to note is that in all of your other examples (e.g., “shooting pornography,” “incest,” “doesn’t want to”), there is no protected class involved. So, it’s not that discrimination is disallowed, but rather that someone can discriminate on any basis whatsoever *as long as it’s not based on a protected class.*

    So, the reason the photographer is allowed to reject those cases isn’t because he or she is an artist, but because there is no suspect class involved.

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  11. Gary on January 13, 2014 at 7:15 PM

    I think there is a distinction between refusing to serve a customer because he is gay, and refusing to make a cake for a gay wedding. If a Baptist refused to sell a cake to me because I was a Mormon, I would consider that to be an unjustified violation of my civil rights. However if I asked him to design a cake in the shape of a temple to celebrate my temple wedding, I would understand if he said that he did not want to participate in celebrating a Mormon ritual because that violated his religious beliefs. I would think he was nuts of course, but I think he should be entitled to do that. It is not as if I can’t get a cake somewhere else.

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  12. Nate on January 13, 2014 at 7:25 PM

    There is a subtle but important difference in discriminating against a gay person who orders a wedding cake, and discriminating against the ceremony itself.

    The baker would have no problem taking an order from a gay wedding coordinator who purchases the cake for a hetrosexual wedding. He only discriminates in the case of a same-sex marriage ceremony, not the people involved. So you can’t accuse him of discriminating against someone based on sexual orrientation. So current Colorado discrimination laws shouldn’t apply.

    There should be other examples that could apply. What about a landowner who refuses to sell land to a Marijuana farmer. Or a decorator who refuses a contract for the interior decoration of a casino.

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  13. babaroni on January 13, 2014 at 7:30 PM

    Nate and Gary, were that the case, then it should be fine to refuse to bake a wedding cake for an interracial couple who are getting married. After all, the baker would not be refusing service on the basis of the race of the person ordering the cake, but rather, on the fact that people of different races were getting married, and he thought that was sinful. But we don’t allow that sort of discrimination, either.

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  14. Nate on January 13, 2014 at 7:40 PM

    Babaroni, I think that is good point, and an uncomfortable implication that defendants must be prepared to defend. If someone’s religious convictions lead them to believe that interracial marriage is immoral, they should be allowed to discriminate against the ceremony. It does not nescessarily mean they are racist, just that they believe the races should not be mixed. (That could be argued to be a racist belief, but it is not nescessarily one. There may be cultural, non-racial arguments used to support such a belief, as controversial as those arguments might be.)

    What happens when churches or venues that discriminate against same-sex marraiges begin to be challenged? The LDS church in Utah is currently in the same exact situation as the baker. The implications of this ruling could have disasterous consequences for the church.

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  15. kd on January 13, 2014 at 8:34 PM

    MH
    I just think the judge is wrong. Courts have long opened up speech to be more than just a written or spoken message. One could easily argue that the mere presence of the cake is a message, just as my mere presence at a rally is speech regardless of what I actually say or if I say nothing at all. Be that as it may, compelling someone to act should be considered worse than silencing them. I would think that there would be more concern for someone being forced to participate in an action that is against their moral, religious, and political beliefs.

    Then again, babaroni raises a fair point. Some balance has to be found, a balance which probably can’t be found in government action.

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  16. babaroni on January 13, 2014 at 9:20 PM

    Nate, I challenge you to come up with a good, “non-racial” argument which would hold up in court to justify a purveyor of public accommodations (such as our baker) refusing service to an interracial couple on the basis of his religious beliefs that interracial marriage is wrong. I will bring to your attention that this is a battle which has already been thoroughly adjudicated some 50 years ago.

    By the way, the very idea that there are *any* good reasons to discriminate against a mixed-race couple is, itself, pretty racist. The whole thing about a mixed-race couple “having different cultures, and it just won’t work out, and what about the children???” was just more prejudiced overlay injected into the race conversation when it became too gauche to talk about “mixing of the races” and “white supremacy.” And even if there were a “good” reason for the couple to choose not to marry, this still wouldn’t constitute a “good” reason for someone else to discriminate against a mixed-race couple who decided to marry. I hope that distinction is clear.

    I will also say that your comparison of the baker refusing to bake the cake, to churches refusing to marry couples, is completely baseless, and for the very reason that we are discussing — interracial marriage. No church has ever been forced to marry an interracial couple against its will. Churches can and do refuse to marry interracial couples. Churches are not public accommodations. In the same way that a baker cannot refuse to bake a wedding cake for an interracial couple, but a church can refuse to marry them, so, too, a baker (in a state which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation) cannot refuse to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple, but churches can and do refuse to marry them. It’s really as simple as that, and the case law on the subject is already firmly established.

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  17. Andrew S on January 13, 2014 at 11:21 PM

    Nate,

    re 12

    There should be other examples that could apply. What about a landowner who refuses to sell land to a Marijuana farmer. Or a decorator who refuses a contract for the interior decoration of a casino.

    Again, marijuana farmer, interior decoration of a casino aren’t suspect classes.

    This is really a big concept — discrimination along any line but suspect classes is not problematic legally. But with suspect classes, things change. We as a society (because, for example, sexual orientation as a class is something that happens on a state-by-state level) determine what to include here.

    re 14

    What happens when churches or venues that discriminate against same-sex marraiges begin to be challenged? The LDS church in Utah is currently in the same exact situation as the baker. The implications of this ruling could have disasterous consequences for the church.

    The basic issue here is that anti-discrimination laws only apply to public accommodations — the sticking point is that public accommodations include not just government but private business that avail themselves to the public. Anti-discrimination laws specifically exempt or exclude religious organizations and private clubs.The LDS church in Utah is different from the baker in one crucial way — it is not a public accommodation.

    So, really, talking about the implications of this ruling on the church is legally misinformed.

    The major question re: religious liberty and discrimination is something more like: Can private businesses outside of religious organizations “have” or “express” religious beliefs?

    For example, it’s easy to say that the LDS church has religious beliefs. It seems easy enough to say that a sole proprietor has religious beliefs, and so any businesses that a sole proprietorship has could possibly extend to his/her businesses. But then you have cases like Hobby Lobby, where even though you have private ownership, it employs many people who may not share the religious beliefs of the owners. [Note: this is another difference between public accommodations and religions. The Church *can* make religious criteria important in hiring/employment decisions. But whether a public accommodation can do that is far more uncertain. {technically, no. But with employment at will, it’s hard to fight.}] Religious protection was simply never designed to apply to a company like *Hobby Lobby*, which is what is striking about what an outcome like that case could be.

    (A secondary question is: can religions organizations enter into arrangements that have them operating as public accommodations? The answer here is a relatively straightforward, “Yes” depending on circumstances. But these circumstances do not apply to LDS temples.)

    If someone’s religious convictions lead them to believe that interracial marriage is immoral, they should be allowed to discriminate against the ceremony. It does not nescessarily mean they are racist, just that they believe the races should not be mixed. (That could be argued to be a racist belief, but it is not nescessarily one. There may be cultural, non-racial arguments used to support such a belief, as controversial as those arguments might be.)

    One thing is that “racism” doesn’t necessarily have to factor into this. Because the issue is that people can come up with all sorts of facially neutral policies that nevertheless discriminate against suspect classes. So, at least in employment discrimination, you have both disparate treatment (e.g., explicitly treating someone differently based on suspect class) and disparate impact (facially neutral policies that result in different outcomes by suspect class lines).

    So, whether one is against interracial marriages or just thinks that “it’s better for [cultures] to stay on their own” or whatever, if the disparate impact is that they refuse interracial couples when they would accept same-race couples, it’s still foul.

    Similarly, if one isn’t really against LGBT people, but simply thinks that everyone is afforded the same right to a opposite-sex marriage, then the disparate impact is to LGBT people, who (other than folks in mixed orientation marriages), aren’t getting married to the opposite sex.

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  18. hawkgrrrl on January 13, 2014 at 11:36 PM

    If only Christians had some sort of guide for how to treat their fellow men.

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  19. Nate on January 14, 2014 at 1:02 AM

    Barbaroni, I don’t think there are any “good” arguments to support the discrimination of an inter-racial marriage. I also don’t see any “good” arguments to support discrimination against a same-sex marriage.

    We are dealing with matters of faith, which appear to normal people to be completely irrational. Religion IS irrational. There might be some orthodox Jewish cake makers who would be so appauled if a Jew married a Gentile that, or if he was asked to bake a cake for a baptism of a Jew, that they would decide that their religious convictions didn’t allow them to provide the service. I think they should be allowed to discriminate if they so choose to do so for religious reasons.

    Religion can be ugly. But I think we should give it broad freedom of expression, because it is such a powerful and important cultural force. The French head-scarf ban was very popular in France, and it may serve to stigmatize bigotry in Islam, but I find it to be a gross and ugly violation of the freedom of religion. Unless you are actually harming others, (like JWs who let their children die without blood transfusions) religious people should be allowed to be as bigoted and prejudiced as their doctrine demands.

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  20. New Iconoclast on January 14, 2014 at 8:29 AM

    dba.brotherp in #6 says Do you want police, fire, ems, pharma, doctors, electric companies, gas companies, cable companies, internet companies, etc able to discriminate against you for being Mormon?

    In what way is providing such services to Latter-day Saints contrary to the deeply-held religious beliefs of anyone? In what way would it be considered sinful, in any belief system of which you are aware, to save a Mormon’s life in a fire or emergency situation – or, put another way, whose religious beliefs obligate them to let the Mormon die to please God?

    Do you, can you, see that it’s not the same thing as forcing someone to directly support an action they see as sinful? What you are saying is a faulty argument. It’s not analogous. Regardless of your personal feelings, you should be able to understand that – and that’s actually the point. Laws should not be made to enforce your personal feelings.

    Babaroni in #7: You’re right, in one sense. He is forced to obey the anti-discrimination law. But the law is unjust. We should not, as a society, coerce anyone to devote their time, talents, and energies to support and sustain something that goes against their closely-held values. Only by applying that principle across the board can we claim that we are respectful and not discriminatory. Thus, in re. your interracial couple posited in #13, yes. The baker should have the right to refuse that deal as well. We might regard him as stupid, bigoted, and backward. We might decide not to do business with him because we don’t like his attitude. We might influence all of our friends and family to find another baker. But we have no right to use the power of the state to coerce him to act contrary to his conscience. If you insist upon doing so, you join the ranks of a pretty unsavory crowd.

    The concept of “public accomodation” is pretty recent; essentially an invention of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Its invention, which severely undermines private right of property, only occurred in order to create the legal fiction that a business owner has no right to act on his/her own biases – in essence, the business becomes an extension of the government by virtue of being open. This makes your argument circular – “We invented a legal fiction in order to make it illegal to discriminate; therefore, it’s illegal to discriminate.”

    That’s not only silly, it’s unjust. One neat thing about freedom (and the reason they call it “freedom”) is that it’s supposed to leave you free to be an idiot. The problem with limiting it is that, while we’re hemming and hawing about where the limits coulda-shoulda-woulda-oughta be, the folks who think there shouldn’t be any are busy pushing them back.

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  21. New Iconoclast on January 14, 2014 at 8:40 AM

    Andrew S says in #17, The basic issue here is that anti-discrimination laws only apply to public accommodations — the sticking point is that public accommodations include not just government but private business that avail themselves to the public. Anti-discrimination laws specifically exempt or exclude religious organizations and private clubs.The LDS church in Utah is different from the baker in one crucial way — it is not a public accommodation.

    “Public accommodation” only exists as a legal construct to articifically put our baker in a position where the government can dictate that he either violate his conscience or suffer punishment under the law. Morally, he’s in exactly the same position as any church, mosque, or synagogue. The politicians simply decided that organized groups of religious people had more political power than individual religious people, so what was once a private business open to the public suddenly became a “public accommodation” for purposes of accomplishing political goals.

    Some of these goals are laudable, some are not – that’s in the eye of the beholder. But they are all coercive.

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  22. hawkgrrrl on January 14, 2014 at 9:08 AM

    The man would not be allowed to discriminate against a gay person in employment, but we are discussing his right to discriminate against customers. I think Andrew’s right in that you can refuse service to people for whatever bogus reason you devise, and it may not be enforceable, even if it’s “wrong.” What’s interesting is that there are suddenly so many businesses in the limelight for their purported religious justifications for discrimination against others (whether it’s codified or not). I assume this is backlash as rights become codified. It’s still a pretty poor reflection on humanity, IMO, and on Christians specifically in this case.

    In Singapore, there is a shop in Kampong Glam (aka Arab Street) selling religious items for Muslim worship. It is a few doors down from the beautiful mosque. The family that has run the shop for 80 years is Hindu. They keep a little Hindu shrine in the store, behind the cash register. It is the most popular shop for these items in all of Singapore, and the family has great expertise and is well-respected. Honestly, that would not be possible in many countries, for someone to sell the religious items of another faith successfully for so long. To me, that’s a great example of multi-culturalism. It’s so easy to hate in the name of God. I think it’s time we own up to the ugly truth of our hatred.

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  23. forwardjoe on January 14, 2014 at 9:39 AM

    hawkgrrrl,
    I think it is incorrect to assume that refusing service to someone else is just “hate in the name of God.” That is a cool example of the store in Singapore. But I think if I ran a store of some kind where I had the opportunity to sell the religious artifacts of someone else’s religion, I might not do so. Not because they are evil or wicked or because I hate them or because they are on the fast train to hell but because I can’t in good conscience sell something that I don’t believe in.

    Likewise, if I was a baker or a photographer, it would be difficult to consent to selling services for a same-sex wedding because I don’t believe in it. Just as I might also refuse service for other types of events. Not because I hate the gay couple, not because they are vile sinners, but because I might not, in good conscience, approve of the behavior. Hate is not even remotely a factor and I tire of being told that it is the only one.

    I am aware of the legal issue of protected class that make this view legally untenable, but it seems to me that we should be able to carve out a small but reasonable religious exemption in these types of cases dealing with weddings and the like.

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  24. Andrew S on January 14, 2014 at 10:04 AM

    re 20

    Thus, in re. your interracial couple posited in #13, yes. The baker should have the right to refuse that deal as well. We might regard him as stupid, bigoted, and backward. We might decide not to do business with him because we don’t like his attitude. We might influence all of our friends and family to find another baker. But we have no right to use the power of the state to coerce him to act contrary to his conscience. If you insist upon doing so, you join the ranks of a pretty unsavory crowd.

    This argument reminds me of a joke:

    There was a town in which a business decided not to serve black people. Libertarians said, “Well, the free market can solve this problem. If people really find this behavior abhorrent, then they’ll vote with their feet and wallets about it. Things will correct themselves”

    So, there came an effort to raise awareness for this event.

    “Can you believe this business refused to serve black people?” one townsperson said.

    And his audience was indeed outraged. Indignant. Infuriated.

    “How dare those negros try to go to that white establishment!”

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  25. allquieton on January 14, 2014 at 10:04 AM

    Just take a step back and look at the whole picture. Forget about the legality of it. Forget about any emotional attachments you might have to the issues here. And consider what is being discussed here:

    Whether or not it’s okay to use the power of the state to force a person to make a cake for someone else, when they don’t want to.

    It’s insane. Why would you want to involve the state in this matter? Why not leave the baker alone and let him do as he wishes?

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  26. alice on January 14, 2014 at 10:55 AM

    Yes, let’s take a step back.

    The baker wasn’t asked to marry them. He wasn’t asked to attend their wedding. He wasn’t asked to give his personal endorsement to it. He was asked to bake a cake with multicolored layers. And even that wasn’t for the wedding. It was for a family celebration for a wedding taking place in another state at another time! Still, the baker had to make an issue of it.

    How petty.

    I’ve gone back through several generations of links. It seems that the legality may not be the biggest part of this matter. His Yelp rating has really taken a beating.

    It all makes me think of “Fiddler on the Roof” in which the hero, Tevye, is so invested in tradition that he can’t adapt. In the end, in his rigidity, he winds up without a beloved daughter. He has to go one way, she another and he can’t even say good-bye to her when political upheaval rocks their world. She’s the poorer for it. So is he. His whole family pays the price and no one made that happen but Tevye.

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  27. alice on January 14, 2014 at 11:02 AM

    #2 “To call such coercion “civilized” is to pervert the meaning of civilization.”

    Civilization means that a society is governed by laws. And, like it or not, the government is not in the business of regulating religion or enforcing anyone’s religious beliefs on anyone else.

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  28. allquieton on January 14, 2014 at 12:14 PM

    Alice–
    Okay, so you think the baker is wrong and he is ruining his life. But I’ll ask again: Why would you want to involve the state in this matter?

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  29. alice on January 14, 2014 at 12:32 PM

    Because the protection of one citizen’s civil rights strengthen all of our civil rights.

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  30. Last Lemming on January 14, 2014 at 12:40 PM

    How about this. The baker should be required to bake the cake. Cake’s per se are not speech. But cake decorations can be speech. It is not clear, however, where to draw the line on decorations. Presumably, the baker is not opposed to weddings, so he could not refuse decorations that identify it as a wedding cake. But decorations that identify the celebrants as a same-sex couple should not be required. So he might be required to write “Congratulations” on it, but not the names “Tom and Bob” or “Jane and Joan.” (It gets tricky if the names are ambiguous.) And he could refuse to add a two-groom or two-bride topper.

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  31. Andrew S on January 14, 2014 at 12:54 PM

    One thing is that in anti-discrimination cases, it’s not about “requiring” people to bake the cake. But rather, it’s a matter that if you say, “I am going to be available in public to bake cakes,” then you can’t say, “I will bake a cake for anyone…except [insert suspect class.]” E.g., “I will bake a cake for anyone…except interracial couples.”

    But you could always say, “I will not bake a cake for anyone.” I’m guessing that cake bakers actually want to bake cakes, so that won’t suffice. You could instead say, “I will not bake a cake to the broader public, but only as a private club function.” But here’s the issue — chances are, the cake bakers want to avail themselves of the benefits of being open to the public. It’s just that public privileges also come with public responsibilities.)

    It’s not a free speech issue, so the whole cake vs decorations misses the point. As soon as your reasoning is, “Well, since it’s a same sex couple…” you run afoul of any anti-discrimination statute that includes sexual orientation as a suspect class.

    Anyway, Let me present a different possible solution.

    Anti-gay bakers should accept jobs for gay weddings, etc., but advertise publicly that their personal beliefs are against gay marriage, that they do not agree with gay marriage, and that they use their profits to help support traditional marriage/oppose gay marriage.

    Then, gay folks know where the bakers are, and, more importantly, know that if they choose to shop at the bakery, their money will go to causes that hurt them. So, they can choose to buy if they want, but it might not like the long-term results of that.

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  32. babaroni on January 14, 2014 at 1:00 PM

    The government has a legitimate interest, not only in protecting the rights of majority individuals, but also in protecting the rights of minority individuals. The government has a legitimate interest in promoting trade, and also in making that trade equally available to all. The government has a legitimate interest in protecting the rights of all citizens to access *all* public accommodations, since those with lesser access to public accommodations (as well as fair employment and housing) will be socially and economically disadvantaged and will likely be *more* reliant upon government assistance to stave off the effects (poverty, homelessness, hunger) brought about by discrimination.

    This isn’t just about some people being forced to treat other people nicely even if they don’t feel like it. This is about *all* of us living in a society which actually works, and in which equal opportunities are available to all. Because when equal opportunities are *not* available to everyone, we all end up having to pick up the slack.

    Understand that if you argue that business owners should not have to do business with gays if they don’t feel like it, you are also arguing that business owners should not have to do business with black people, Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Mormons, women, disabled people, or what-have-you, if they don’t feel like it. That is a recipe for a society where no one does business with anyone else, and where people who are members of the minority group in their city or state cannot obtain needed help and services.

    Unless you are willing to argue that businesses should be able to refuse service to racial minorities and religious minorities, you cannot make an honest argument that they should be able to refuse service to gay people. And while I know that some people here would (MI) would come down on the side that Woolworth’s should still be able to have a “Whites Only” policy at its lunch counter (I cannot even imagine how anyone could believe this, but I’ll have to take you at your word that you are truly that devoted to your exclusionary beliefs), I think most of us can agree that the Civil Rights Movement was a just and proper implementation of the state’s authority.

    It’s easy to say that someone should “just take their business elsewhere,” but black people in the south didn’t have this option — many or even most white-owned businesses would not serve or seat them in many localities. They were confined to the black businesses in segregated black areas. They were kept in deliberate poverty and isolation. If Woolworth’s wouldn’t seat them, they couldn’t just go to Denny’s down the street for their lunch.

    There are 30 states where discrimination against gays is absolutely legal. Most gays in those areas wouldn’t even bother *trying* to get someone to bake them a rainbow cake. They are too busy trying not to lose their jobs because someone found out they were gay, and finding landlords who will rent to a same-sex couple. This isn’t just about wedding cakes.

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  33. alice on January 14, 2014 at 1:01 PM

    So far as I can tell from several generations of links regarding this story, the gay couple only asked for multi-colored layers. Not a treatises on marriage or gender politics. Do a google search for images of multi-colored layer cakes. Preschools all over the country make them to delight kids. Moms everywhere make them for birthdays.

    This baker wouldn’t make it because this couple was gay. That’s about as close as you can come to a definition of discrimination.

    People can keep trying to make argument on this topic. It all comes down to one group wants the government to endorse their personal prejudice and/or religious beliefs. The government doesn’t do that. That’s what the judge recently said regarding SSM in UT. No one is making a new argument that hasn’t already been ruled discriminatory.

    Yes, I know there are appeals pending. I’d bet the farm that ultimately the same ruling will be made. And I think the poll above reflects that when it seems even people who want religious liberty protected (I do too!) expect the gay couple to prevail.

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  34. babaroni on January 14, 2014 at 1:13 PM

    Nate #19 –

    Religion can be ugly. But I think we should give it broad freedom of expression, because it is such a powerful and important cultural force. The French head-scarf ban was very popular in France, and it may serve to stigmatize bigotry in Islam, but I find it to be a gross and ugly violation of the freedom of religion. Unless you are actually harming others, (like JWs who let their children die without blood transfusions) religious people should be allowed to be as bigoted and prejudiced as their doctrine demands.

    Nate, you’re suggesting that a business owner who refuses service to someone because that person is black or Mormon or gay is not harming that person. I disagree (and so does Civil Rights legislation in this country). If someone can be refused service legally because of his/her race or religious beliefs, s/he is disadvantaged in a society by his/her minority status. Same is true for sexual orientation.

    The Muslim woman who is denied the right to wear hijab in public is not the same as the business owner who is denied the ability to refuse service to a minority. Wearing hijab is a personal statement which affects only the wearer. This would be comparable to refusing someone the right to wear a cross or crucifix in public, or the right to pray privately in a public space. It is not the same as denying someone the “right” to affect the lives of others by refusing them service in a public place of business because the business-owner disapproves of their race, religion, sex/gender, or sexual orientation.

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  35. allquieton on January 14, 2014 at 2:07 PM

    Alice—
    “Because the protection of one citizen’s civil rights strengthen all of our civil rights.”

    That’s very broad and very vague.

    Specifically how will all our civil rights be strengthened if the state puts this man in prison for refusing to bake cakes for gay weddings?

    Think about that. They don’t just want to revoke his business license—they want to put him in prison for a year. That’s insane.

    I think putting him in prison won’t strengthen anyone’s civil rights. I think it will make people wary of doing business with homosexuals. It will send a message that homosexuals are thin skinned and vindictive. And that the state is unjust.

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  36. Steve on January 14, 2014 at 2:30 PM

    To me it’s sad that we have come to a place where we think so little of the right to property (own, control, dispose) that we are willing to force a person to do with his/her property against their wishes. Why are we so willing to force other people against their will? I remember another who operated thusly.

    Why not let others live as they wish, unless they harm us.

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  37. alice on January 14, 2014 at 2:32 PM

    Who, exactly, is going to prison? The baker wasn’t even fined (so far as I can see) and the gay couple didn’t ask for any damages — just clarification of their legal rights.

    Your can read the judgement. https://www.aclu.org/sites/default/files/assets/initial_decision_case_no._cr_2013-0008.pdf

    Phillips (the baker) was ordered not to discriminate in the future because such discrimination violates an existing CO law. I’m sure that law has a penalty (I don’t happen to know what it is). If he chooses to violate it again, or if some other provider of public accommodations chooses to violate it, they are informed by this ruling that they will face the penalty which, I’m sure, will be proportional to the offense.

    That’s how the rule of law works. That’s what makes us a civilized society. That’s why we know our right to go about our business unmolested is secure.

    Phillips just assumed a right to discriminate while the court found that his beliefs don’t entitle him to break laws.

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  38. hawkgrrrl on January 14, 2014 at 2:35 PM

    Personally, I think prison time is going too far, but would I revoke his business license? In a New York minute. I do believe the state should govern trade practices to protect citizens from discrimination. However, I don’t agree with allquieton that it would make businesses wary of homosexual customers; it would make them more careful to ensure they don’t discriminate against people because they won’t get away with it.

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  39. Andrew S on January 14, 2014 at 2:37 PM

    “Why not let others live as they wish, unless they harm us.”

    And as a society, we have determined that discrimination along certain lines (including sexual orientation for Colorado) is a harm.

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  40. babaroni on January 14, 2014 at 3:18 PM

    Steve #36 – When the only hotel for 50 miles on a stretch of road in the middle of the night, when you’re about to fall asleep at the wheel, refuses to accommodate you and your family because you are Mormon, come back and let me know if you feel you have been harmed.

    Is not getting a cake you want for a party a measurable harm? That’s arguable. But if one kind of public accommodation can be legally refused on the basis of one’s membership in a discriminated group, so can another. If I can be denied a wedding cake because I am gay, then you can be denied service in a restaurant or hotel or doctor’s office or hospital or grocery store because you are Mormon. And if enough businesses in town see that one guy got away with refusing you service because you are Mormon, then more may follow suit, especially if you live in an area of the country where Mormons are a tiny minority and the majority evangelical population considers Mormonism a “cult.”

    Eventually, you may find yourself unable to do business at all in your town, and you may realize you have no option but to uproot your family and move somewhere else. Where you may face the very same problem, since, by your rules, it should be perfectly okay to discriminate against you and your family in the provision of public accommodations because of your religious beliefs.

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  41. allquieton on January 14, 2014 at 3:32 PM

    #37
    He didn’t end up going to prison, but it was a possible outcome. Apparently the Colorado law threatening him with incarceration was repealed while the case was ongoing. But I think it’s alarming that this was ever considered by anyone to be an option.

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  42. alice on January 14, 2014 at 4:24 PM

    I don’t know CO law. I’m just googling references to see what might be going on so filter anything I have to say about CO laws through that acknowledgement.

    That said, apparently, the law you refer to, allquieton, was revoked because it had never been enforced. The bill removing criminal penalties was joint sponsored by Reps and Dems.

    “”No one has ever gone to jail for a day for this,” (Sen. Pat) Steadman said Wednesday. Employment discrimination already is punishable only by civil fines, not jail, and Steadman said public accommodation policies should be the same.” http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/local-news/colorado-senate-introduces-bill-removing-discrimination-law-following-passage-of-civil-union-bill

    So it sounds like the law was ill-advised and, consequently, never invoked. In any case, whether anyone ever was charged and sent to prison would be an issue of the unfairness of the law not a proof of the existence, or lack thereof, of discrimination.

    Again, in the legal judgment I cited above the bakery owner stipulated that discrimination occurred. He just wanted legal sanction to do it.

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  43. alice on January 14, 2014 at 4:30 PM

    BTW and just out of curiosity, would you find it alarming if someone faced a criminal penally for discriminating against another group? Atheists, Moslems, Socialists, Mormons, for example?

    That’s just a matter of my curiosity. Don’t even answer if you don’t feel like it. It sounds like a pretty draconian law and, fortunately, it’s no longer in effect.

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  44. nuovoiconoclast on January 14, 2014 at 4:36 PM

    babaroni #40 – When the only hotel for 50 miles on a stretch of road in the middle of the night, when you’re about to fall asleep at the wheel, refuses to accommodate you and your family because you are Mormon, come back and let me know if you feel you have been harmed.

    I probably will be harmed. But, since I have principles by which I live, and my principles don’t involve getting the government to force other private citizens to care for me when they’d rather not, I’d find an alternative. I don’t feel the need to force others to kowtow to my views at gunpoint.

    You can always find a way to rationalize using the coercive power of the state. Alice says in #29, misunderstanding completely what a “civil right” is, that the protection of one citizen’s civil rights strengthen all of our civil rights. Andrew S. in #39 is trying to claim that “we as a society” have decided that discrimination along certain lines is a harm.

    Both commenters fail to understand that, in essence, what they’re saying is that it’s OK for them to use the law and the threat of punishment to achieve their ends because they’re “right,” and the other guy, whoever he is, should suck it up and eat the threat because he’s “wrong.” My point is, and I despair of making it more clearly, is that ideas of what is “right” and “wrong” will change and evolve over time, but enforcing your views on your fellow citizens at the point of the government’s pistol is always wrong. It is not necessarily the goal, but the means, which is immoral. It is practically the definition of “unrighteous dominion.” It’s bad enough when unjustly exercised by individuals over one another, but when one segment of “society” (no matter which) seeks to do it to an individual (no matter which), it’s inexcusable.

    You can generally sort out people who really believe in individual liberty by their willingness to defend it for those with whom they disagree. “Freedom” and “society” become merely excuses. A benevolent bully is still a bully.

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  45. Andrew S on January 14, 2014 at 4:51 PM

    re 44,

    My point is, and I despair of making it more clearly, is that ideas of what is “right” and “wrong” will change and evolve over time, but enforcing your views on your fellow citizens at the point of the government’s pistol is always wrong.

    The reason you despair is because quite frankly, most people do not agree. You can keep trying to convince people about this (given that ideas of what is right and wrong will change and evolve over time), but most people seem to like the idea that participation in a society, with all the privileges it entails, naturally involves a social contract — and contracts require consideration from all parties.

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  46. alice on January 14, 2014 at 4:56 PM

    #44

    Really? So Black Americans should have sucked it up and continued to live as abused and exploited second class citizens. Women should make up their minds to get over making 80% of a man’s salary. And why should they be able to vote, by the way. Is that your point?

    What happens to individuals when the law is invoked is important but even more important is that the legal process is how we define as a society what is and is not acceptable behavior.

    What a nuisance for the baker AND for the gay couple, in the case we’re talking about, that they had to devote time and resources to this case. But how useful for the citizens of CO that they now have a more clear concept of what is permitted and what risks fines and/or the loss of a business license.

    If WY had had similar complaints and legal rulings then maybe the good people of WY would be clear about the fact that the society they lived in was evolving and Matthew Shepard might be alive instead of dragged to his death.

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  47. alice on January 14, 2014 at 5:07 PM

    As an aside, a federal district court has struck down KS’ ban on SSM. A stay is in place at the moment.

    It’s a changing world.

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  48. alice on January 14, 2014 at 5:12 PM

    Sorry. That should have said OK.

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  49. allquieton on January 14, 2014 at 5:21 PM

    Alice–
    Yep-for any group. Why?

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  50. babaroni on January 14, 2014 at 5:50 PM

    My undying gratitude to George W. Bush and the GOP for mercilessly pushing through all of these unconstitutional bans on marriage equality to help them get turn-out and win that 2004 election. It was kind of like setting up a big row of dominoes, it would appear. :)

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  51. babaroni on January 14, 2014 at 6:01 PM

    My point is, and I despair of making it more clearly, is that ideas of what is “right” and “wrong” will change and evolve over time, but enforcing your views on your fellow citizens at the point of the government’s pistol is always wrong. It is not necessarily the goal, but the means, which is immoral.

    Kind of like all of the religious conservatives who did everything in their power to help pass laws and constitutional amendments to disadvantage families with same-sex parents? Like the way that, even though ideas of what is “right” and “wrong” will change and evolve over time, they enforced their views on their fellow citizens at the point of the government’s pistol, compelling those who disagree with them, whose lived experience does not match their own, to be treated as second-class citizens and deprived of equal protection for their families.

    Shoe pinches a bit on the other foot, I guess.

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  52. babaroni on January 14, 2014 at 6:05 PM

    My point is, and I despair of making it more clearly, is that ideas of what is “right” and “wrong” will change and evolve over time, but enforcing your views on your fellow citizens at the point of the government’s pistol is always wrong. It is not necessarily the goal, but the means, which is immoral.

    You mean, kind of like the way religious conservatives over the past few years have “done all within their power” to pass legislation and constitutional amendments banning marriage equality in as many states as possible in order to enforce their religious views on their fellow citizens at the point of the “government’s pistol”?

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  53. babaroni on January 14, 2014 at 6:07 PM

    Sorry, the blog apparently ate my post, then magically made it reappear. Apologize for the double-posting.

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  54. Steve on January 15, 2014 at 11:26 AM

    #39 – It’s odd they consider harmful not sharing what is truly ours and ours alone for whatever reason. And they are willing to do such when such force clearly violates the right of property.

    #40 – Such things may happen. And if we permit the freedom of speech, people may say nasty things. With freedom to own a gun, some people may be wrongly shot. Of course, with the freedom of speech, then we may be able to change a government which oppresses. And with the freedom to own a gun, we may be able to stop the government (either King George’s or Obama’s) from oppressing ourselves and our neighbors.

    Freedom is messy, but it is the birthright of the children of God.

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  55. alice on January 15, 2014 at 12:34 PM

    #54

    Steve- I can appreciate that you feel that way. I don’t share your opinion in the least but I can still empathize with the fact that you believe something is wrong about putting the basic civil rights of gay Americans above someone else’s right to act on their prejudice or distaste. (There’s confusion about what a public accommodation is, I realize, but let’s set that issue aside for now.)

    It must be confusing and painful to find, seemingly, everything eroding under your feet. I don’t minimize that distress which I believe is genuine. … even if I think it’s misguided. (I’m entitled to an opinion too) And yet the direction of the whole country* with respect to this is to recognize that gay Americans have all the same rights as everyone else and preventing them from exercising them is wrong and, in fact, just as illegal as it would be if someone did that to you.

    So here’s my question to you or anyone else who feels that way: what are you going to do when the dominoes stop falling and the US Supreme Court finally rules on this? ‘Cause it’s pretty clear that just about every federal court and a growing number of state courts that have had to rule have found that there isn’t a rational, a moral or a legal justification for denying full civil rights to a gay American. It’s very likely the Supreme Court will eventually do the same. …when they can’t evade the issue anymore and that time is coming.

    What do you do when the highest courts of the land tell you that, whatever you believe or want to happen, you don’t understand what the US Constitution actually says?

    I know the question is stark and the realities unpleasant but I ask in all sincerity and, I hope, with real consideration for your point of view.

    * I am referring here to federal courts around the nation and the aggregate population of the country.

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  56. Steve on January 15, 2014 at 12:45 PM

    Everyone is entitled to an opinion, Alice. If my Russian Jewish grandfather had not wanted to work with Gentiles, I would have said he was within his rights. And if black African immigrants only wanted to rent to or employ their relatives so as to build up their own people, I’m good with that too. Because I view their property as their own.

    Our allegiance to time-honored concepts (such as the Constitution or right to property) have been eroding for decades. I saw it in my teachers in high school. Little wonder that the graduates of public schools of the last generations have been deceived by their instruction and leaders in society.

    So, your question is really: When the supreme Court requires that the LDS Church perform temple marriages for gays, what will I do? Will I support my Church in doing such? Not in a million years, unless I heard convincingly from the heavens that such is the Lord’s will for me.

    What would you do in such a situation? For if government can force a photographer or baker, they can surely coerce a church.

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  57. Andrew S on January 15, 2014 at 1:07 PM

    re 56.

    Steve.

    The basic issue here is that property is not equitably distributed. So, if you say, “it’s within someone’s right to use their property to “build up their own people,” then how that actually looks like in our historical setting is white people excluding minorities.

    If you’re white, this is a great system. If you’re not white, not so much.

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  58. babaroni on January 15, 2014 at 1:09 PM

    Steve #54 – You seem somewhat confused, Steve. We’ve never had the right in this country to simply do as we please all the time with no regard for any sort of regulation or guidelines for our conduct towards others. To borrow your example, while the constitution guarantees the right to bear arms, it does not guarantee that every sort of armament will be available for personal, individual ownership and use (you can’t, for instance, own a tank and launch shells at your neighbor’s dog when it barks.) And, incidentally, if you are thinking that you might overthrow President Obama and the US Government with a rifle or some handguns, this plan might bear some re-thinking.

    While in the early days of the country’s existence as shopkeeper could probably do pretty much what s/he wished to do, selling or not selling wares to this or that person at a whim, business law has not been quite that simplistic for a very long time. At this point in history, we have agreed, as a society, in which you participate by helping to elect your representatives to the government which passes such legislation, that business owners must be bound by certain codes of conduct, including maintaining a safe and accessible place of business, paying employees a minimum wage, paying for overtime and breaks as demanded by local or state laws, withholding income and social security taxes from their employees’ wages and duly paying those to the government, along with the employer’s share of social security, providing insurance coverage to pay for employees’ care if they are injured on the job, etc. Business owners are also required to meet standards of cleanliness, particularly if they are engaged in the sale or preparation of food at the wholesale or retail level.

    Business owners must also be bound by practices of fairness in advertising, honoring advertised prices and sales, and following laws ensuring fair credit/lending practices. They cannot charge one customer a different price or rate of interest than another customer based on the customer’s religion or race.

    When you enter the public marketplace as a vendor, you are obligated to follow fair business practices as determined by federal, state and local laws. While you may retain *ownership* of your inventory and may decide whether or not to sell it at all, you are not entitled to sell or withhold it in a discriminatory manner. These are the rules, and someone who applies for a business license *agrees* to abide by them. This is not the Wild West. It is a country with a system of government involving democracy and elected representation. By being a citizen of this country you are both *protected* by the laws we pass to ensure fairness and equality, and *bound* by those laws in your interactions with your fellow citizens.

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  59. babaroni on January 15, 2014 at 1:33 PM

    Steve #56 –

    So, your question is really: When the supreme Court requires that the LDS Church perform temple marriages for gays, what will I do? Will I support my Church in doing such? Not in a million years, unless I heard convincingly from the heavens that such is the Lord’s will for me.

    What would you do in such a situation? For if government can force a photographer or baker, they can surely coerce a church.

    Steve, I’m having to wonder if you’ve read this thread (or any other on this topic), because it has been repeatedly said that nondiscrimination ordinances do not apply to churches. No church has ever been forced to marry an interracial couple, despite Loving v. Virginia and decades of legislation and case law guaranteeing nondiscrimination based on race in the public marketplace, and in employment and housing. It simply does not apply to churches.

    Your arguments will be vastly improved and taken more seriously if you can keep this one basic principle in mind. The idea that churches will ever be forced to marry gay people just because *businesses* are not permitted to practice discrimination against them in provision of employment, housing or public accommodations is a HUGE red herring. A church is not a public accommodation.

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  60. alice on January 15, 2014 at 2:18 PM

    #56

    No, my question isn’t about government requiring any church to perform religious ordinances because I think that clearly would be a violation of the Constitution.

    I am asking about a time when the law of the land demands that gay Americans have full rights to do business without discrimination and marry, at least civilly, with full benefits and no constraints.

    I am asking how you will deal with that in your own life when any pretension of having a right to discriminate is removed.

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  61. Steve on January 15, 2014 at 2:28 PM

    #57 – I would think if both the rich man’s and the poor man’s property rights are respected, they and society are all better off. Certainly immigrant groups have employed favoritism in strengthening their people.

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  62. Andrew S on January 15, 2014 at 2:37 PM

    61

    Steve,

    If the poor man is systematically deprived from property, then I don’t see how they or society is better off.

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  63. Steve on January 15, 2014 at 2:52 PM

    #57 – I’m talking principles, not race. If a principle is true, it should work for all races. I believe in the principles of freedom and right to property.

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  64. Steve on January 15, 2014 at 2:56 PM

    #59 – Do you really believe that government will not coerce churches? Nazi Germany is a good example of where it happened. I imagine that there are others. Our government does it with 501(c)3 churches all the time, in telling them what they may say, etc.

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  65. Steve on January 15, 2014 at 3:02 PM

    #58 – The colonists were able to defeat the British because they DID have comparable firepower to their enemies. Do you understand that there is to be a hierarchy of laws? The Constitution is supreme and it is essentially a brake upon the federal government. Any laws not made pursuant to it are no laws at all and imply no duties.

    If a shop owner in the Wild West had more rights than we do, I would ask how that could be. Who has the authority per the Constitution to take away rights from the People?

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  66. Steve on January 15, 2014 at 3:07 PM

    #60 – You said:

    I am asking about a time when the law of the land demands that gay Americans have full rights to do business without discrimination and marry, at least civilly, with full benefits and no constraints.

    So, we want to give rights to gays to do business and marry without discrimination. For the latter I would suggest divorcing government from the business of marriage. If appearing before a minister with witnesses and recording in the family Bible was good enough for folks long gone, it should be good enough for us. It eliminates the coercive element (government) and anyone can do it.

    Regarding business, they can do that today. You seem willing to coerce the businessman to do business with the couple. I would neither condone coercing the businessman nor the couple.

    Why do people keep wanting to employ coercion towards others?

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  67. Steve on January 15, 2014 at 3:08 PM

    #62 – I want everyone protected in their property and other rights, don’t you?

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  68. Steve on January 15, 2014 at 3:09 PM

    Whew! I’m tired.

    Have a good day, all.

    Steve

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  69. Andrew S on January 15, 2014 at 3:11 PM

    re 63:

    But here’s the thing: in theory, theory is perfect…in practice, theory isn’t. Your principles lead to outcomes that many people wouldn’t want in practice. I mean, even if one is not a raging marxist, one can recognize that the current system of property ownership we have isn’t ideal.

    re 64:

    For the government to coerce churches would require a radical change to the status quo. It would require a divergence from legal precedent. The basic point that babaroni and others are trying to make is that the way antidiscrimination statutes are written and enforced today and historically, churches (as well as private clubs) have been explicitly written as exempted from those provisions.

    So, the counter, “Things could change!” doesn’t answer why you should be opposed to how things are set up *now*.

    In other words, it would make sense if you said, “We should continue to have exemption for churches in anti-discrimination provisions.” But it wouldn’t make as much sense to say, “We should remove anti-discrimination provisions so that this won’t happen.”

    Like, if your basic argument is, “We could turn into Nazi Germany,” that doesn’t engage America as it is today, or as it has ever been.

    However, I think your criticism is more basic. For example, you seem to be opposed to the basic idea that the government can define requirements that must be met for it to recognize an organization as 501(c)(3).

    But I simply don’t know how to address this. Like, what if everyone decided to create a 501(c)(3) organization just to avoid income taxes, and then used that organization to do lobbying, raise funds, etc.,? If the government did not have restrictions on what 501(c)(3) orgs can do, then this form of organization would be more popular than corporations, LLCs, partnerships, etc.,

    But the government reserves the right to define the various restrictions and privileges of different forms of organization. This does not mean, however, that these restrictions could change to be *anything*. So, the fact that 501(c)(3) organizations, in order to maintain that status, must limit their lobbying activity, doesn’t mean that the government could just say tomorrow, “Ok, and now, we are repealing religious exemptions in anti-discrimination laws.”

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  70. alice on January 15, 2014 at 3:13 PM

    #65 “Who has the authority per the Constitution to take away rights from the People?”

    Which people? DOMA and comparable state laws took away rights from a whole group of people. Phillips the baker took away the right to be treated like any other customer in a public accommodation from Mullins & Craig.

    The law is held to the standard of approaching each citizen’s rights with the same weight and standard. Shouldn’t individual’s and states be held to the same standard? The US Constitution say so and also says that states can’t withhold a right guaranteed to an American citizen. …even if they’re gay or have some other attribute an individual or business objects to.

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  71. alice on January 15, 2014 at 3:23 PM

    #65

    You realize in that wonderful mythical Wild West that there was financial ruin, murder and open warfare over whether a person raised cattle or sheep, don’t you? Others were defrauded or forced to abandon their homes because an unscrupulous person could make them. That’s preferable?

    I think our way is a whole lot better. At least we’re only getting our tails in a twist while we work out these changing and evolving societal issues. …even if there’s a degree of coercion.

    That’s not new after all. Businesses are coerced to buy a license. They’re coerced to meet pubic health and safety standards. They’re coerced to meet wage and working condition minimums. I’m sure there are a lot more conditions under which they must operate. Now they’re coming to understand that there are standards of equal treatment of all that are required to do business with the general public.

    It’s sorta evolve or die more than something to oil up the firearms about.

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  72. Steve on January 16, 2014 at 9:14 AM

    People have rights; organizations do not. But in the case of the SL county ordinances, it was educations/religious organizations which got a pass on complying with directives for housing and employment for gays. Does that not strike you as odd? Of course, they were also pushing the ordinances, so maybe that’s just how it works.

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  73. Andrew S on January 16, 2014 at 9:17 AM

    As much as Citizens United is a lot of people’s favorite punching bag, the conclusion is either that 1) organizations do have rights, or 2) organizations “are people, my friend.”

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  74. Steve on January 16, 2014 at 9:34 AM

    Andrew, I like #2.

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  75. New Iconoclast on January 17, 2014 at 10:13 AM

    alice,

    In #46, you’re attempting to create a straw man, which is simply a distraction. I can’t tell if you’re not reading carefully or if you’re not capable of distinguishing between institutionalized discrimination at a public, governmental level (like voting rights, where you make an invalid comparison to an argument I am not making; smart-aleck what-ifs should be beneath you) and an individual human being’s rights to his own property and conduct, no matter how irrational and foolish that may be.

    and in #55 ((There’s confusion about what a public accommodation is, I realize, but let’s set that issue aside for now.) No, let’s not, because that’s exactly the point. Only when you recognize that fact will you actually address the issue instead of continuing to set up and knock down the straw men. You seem to believe that the government has the right to dictate an individual’s use and enjoyment of his/her own property and life, even when s/he is not harming others. This is different from the government’s public actions.

    babaroni,

    Re. #51 and #52, Shoe pinches a bit on the other foot, I guess. and

    You mean, kind of like the way religious conservatives over the past few years have “done all within their power” to pass legislation and constitutional amendments banning marriage equality in as many states as possible in order to enforce their religious views on their fellow citizens at the point of the “government’s pistol”?

    The first statement strikes me as another straw man. You have no idea which foot I wear my shoe on (or whatever), and it’s irrelevant. Attempts to invalidate a viewpoint by suggesting that the holder is inconsistent and favors the same immoral behavior when acted out by people s/he agrees with only work if that’s actually true. That’s a cheap shot, and it’s unworthy of you if you want to be taken seriously in a serious discussion.

    Re the second, yes, exactly like that. Either you oppose the government enforcing the views of a group of citizens on another group, or you don’t. If you don’t, all you’re doing is whining that your side didn’t win. In the immortal words of the field hands sacking the Big House as recorded by a Federal officer during the Civil War, what you’d be saying is, “Bottom rail on top now.” You can support that viewpoint if you want, but don’t put lipstick on the pig. Just ‘fess up to it.

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  76. Steve on January 17, 2014 at 10:42 AM

    There are priorities in life. If you favor non-discrimination (meaning government choosing which are the favored groups) over rights, then someday you may be guilty of the same misgiving that you accuse others of. We are all fallible, but does that mean that government should have the authority to punish us for bad opinions?

    The Declaration of Independence states in part:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed

    Is acquiring/controlling/disposing of property a right or is not being discriminated against? Don’t we all discriminate? Perhaps I don’t like noisy people. Perhaps you don’t like people who don’t want to associate gays. Should we be able to instruct government the power to punish the people we don’t like?

    New Iconoclast: Thank you for expressing your opinion. Well done.

    Steve

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  77. Douglas on January 17, 2014 at 10:57 AM

    I wish I had joined in on this one when it was fresh. Much of what I have to say has been covered.
    Orwell’s observation that “some are MORE equal than others” has sadly come to pass. In the name of “equality”, or “access”, which in reality is construed to mean “Either I get my own way or the Government gets it for me, rights and sensibilities of others be damned”.
    That the CO gay couple had a “right” to marry under CO law isn’t disputed (though it disgusts me, but I don’t have to live there). When rebuffed in their attempt to purchase a wedding cake, if they had any decency, they would have accepted the baker’s inherent right not to associate with him, to contract his time, materials, and efforts to making a wedding cake for an activity which offends his personal sensibilities. Instead, they appealed to CO’s discrimination statutes to committ aggression against him out of spite. It’s gone from “tolerance” (I don’t hear that the baker or like-minded folk in CO were interfering with the gay couple’s “wedding”) to aggression against the natural right of the baker to choose with whom he will do business with. I see no violation of public policy (e.g., did this baker have some Government contract which required him to “take all comers” (no pun intended), much as current US Government contractors must have an “affirmative action” program in place) in the baker’s refusal to do business with them. For that matter, he did NOT owe them any explanation, and it would have been better if he’d said nothing, save, “no”.
    What’s at stake is one’s inherent freedom of association, or, more properly in this case, freedom to NOT associate. Like it or not, we all “discriminate”, and the nature of a free society is that we are indeed free to make pesonal decisions as to whom we befriend, do business with, worship with, and even romance. Our actions ought NOT to be subject to whatever standards of “orthodoxy” that common society considers the “norm”…so yes, we can be whatever “bigots” we choose to be in our private lives. As a counter-action, the gay couple and their confederates were perfectly able to encourage a boycott against this baker (as long as they don’t slander), and be held harmless for any subsequent loss of business on his part. Me, though I don’t normally eat baked products, I’ll have to buy a cake or pie from the man to show my support should I ever be in his neck of the woods. In fact, does he have a mail order? If so, I’d like to know.
    This neo-facism, imposing the gay agenda on our private businesses and other private aspects of our lives, is a big reason WHY I supported Prop 8 back in ’08. At the time, due to Libertarian concerns, my support was somewhat lukewarm. I was convinced to do so by my then bishop who explained that in fact there was more at stake than if a gay couple wanted to consider themselves married, much that has to do with the Church’s ability to maintain it’s religious freedoms. Sadly, what he predicted has indeed come to pass, hence why I resist the deluded notion of gays having a “right” to marry with all vigor.

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  78. alice on January 17, 2014 at 1:19 PM

    #75

    I suggest you read the CO ruling. The very first paragraph is a summary of the case. It tells us:
      •  The man operates a public accommodation. He doesn’t dispute that.
    • The man discriminated against people in violation of an existing CO law. He doesn’t dispute that.

    That CO law that decided the outcome was enacted by officials he had an opportunity to elect. Nevertheless, he wants a “right” to violate it and you seem to want to defend his right to violate the law. Here’s where your and his basic error lies: He DOES NOT HAVE such a right. Never did. …even if he can explain why he thinks he should have such a right. Hence, the court’s decision.

    So I repeat the question I asked Steve above. When all these pending cases move their way through the courts and the US Supreme Court rules, as it eventually must, that the equal protections clauses of the Constitution apply to gay Americans wherever they may live in the US, how are you going to deal with that? It’s coming. What happens in between comes down to stubborn refusal to treat a fellow American citizen with the freedom to live their lives that they’re entitled to just as much as you are.

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  79. New Iconoclast on January 17, 2014 at 2:56 PM

    #77 Once more, with feeling, since you failed to comprehend it the first six times: The law is unjust. Calling the man’s business a “public accommodation” is a fiction, invented to allow the government to tell him how to run his private affairs and interfere in his property rights. He absolutely has a right to violate it, as did the Founding Fathers. As did Rosa Parks and Dr. King.

    Laws against sodomy and cohabitation are also unjust, fictions invented to allow governments to interfere in people’s private affairs and tell them how to run their private lives. People have the right to violate those laws, if they’re willing to suffer the consequences to make their point.

    The Equal Protection clause of the Constitution should protect people with unpopular views as well as those whose views meet with your approval. Unlike you, I at least have the advantage of consistency.

    I don’t need you to agree with me. I don’t even need you to understand what I’m trying to say, although I’m trying to put it in plain English. I would appreciate it, however, if you’d stop making assumptions about what I do and don’t believe, and stop trying to put words in my mouth and thoughts in my head to justify your homily.

    Emotion is no substitute for clear thought and coherence.

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  80. Andrew S on January 17, 2014 at 3:32 PM

    re 78

    seems like if you get rid of anti-discrimination laws, though, that you are against Rosa Parks and Dr. King.

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  81. babaroni on January 17, 2014 at 3:42 PM

    New, Iconoclast, what you seem to be missing is that it is *also* an injustice to deny service to someone because they are black or Mormon or gay. If it is “unjust” to say that this baker must not deny service to gay people because of their sexual orientation, then it is also “unjust” that Woolworth’s lunch counter be forced to seat black patrons, or that the Montgomery Bus Line be forced to allow black passengers to sit where they like on the bus.

    You may believe that’s true, but you are in the tiniest minority of people. Is this a “violation” of his property rights, compelling him to sell his cakes to gay people? Who knows? Perhaps. But it is a violation of the gay person’s civil rights to be denied service in a business providing service to the public simply because they are gay. And since these two people (the gay man and the anti-gay baker) have rights which are in conflict — the baker’s to refuse to sell his cakes, and the gay man to be able to obtain service from any business providing services to the public, without regards to his sexual orientation, it is necessary for the law to determine which right holds precedence — which potential injustice is the greater injustice.

    Were there a long history of oppression against bakers in which they were enslaved to bake cakes against their will and for no remuneration, perhaps punished severely for not baking the right sorts of cakes, or taking holidays, or for burning their baked goods accidentally — maybe being imprisoned for years if their bread did not rise — then there might be cause for declaring “bakers” a “suspect class,” and protecting them against possible discrimination. If there were strong “anti-baker” sentiment in society, in which legislation was repeatedly proposed or passed forcing bakers to work 80-hour workweeks and provide their goods to all for free, or declaring that bakers not be eligible for service in other types of establishments, then it would make sense that this baker’s rights might be being violated in an egregious manner, and that he deserved protection of the law such that he shouldn’t have to sell cakes to this terrible gay exploiter who wanted him to bake, of all things, a rainbow-colored cake.

    But the fact is that forcing the business owner to sell his cake (which he was going to sell *anyway*, to someone or other) is a far smaller “violation” than allowing businesses to refuse service to someone because of their race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. That’s why those classes, among others, are considered “suspect classes” for discrimination, and that’s why they have been specifically named in non-discrimination legislation.

    You may not like it, but it is the law. And it’s a law the baker agreed to obey when he got his business license.

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  82. babaroni on January 17, 2014 at 3:45 PM

    As far as that goes, New Iconoclast, your “right to own property” is every bit as much a legal fiction, concocted for the sake of attempting to stabilize social interactions, as my “right to be served in places of public accommodation.” Do away with one, and you may as well do away with the other, and just have anarchy.

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  83. alice on January 17, 2014 at 4:37 PM

    I think this is actually a pretty fair illustration of what just happened.

    I have an understanding of the facts. You have an understanding of the facts. Phillips had an understanding of his rights. Mullins & Craig had an understanding of their rights. No one could agree.

    It went to a court which heard all the arguments and reviewed all the laws applicable.
    The court determined that Phillips violated a standing law against discrimination in public accommodations and that was the principle overriding all others.

    You think the law is unjust. Maybe you want to see what you can do about getting it changed just as lawmakers who found the law that would have required Phillips to be jailed unjust and changed it.

    The rest is just you and I wasting each other’s time. Adios, amigo.

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  84. babaroni on January 18, 2014 at 10:18 AM

    Douglas #77, your rant would make a great deal more sense if you took the trouble to become acquainted with the actual case in question before commenting. This case had nothing to do with “gay marriage” (or “marriage,” as we like to call it), and everything to do with basic civil rights. The couple in question could *not* get married, as marriage equality still to this day has not come to Colorado. All they wanted was a cake for a *party* for family and friends, celebrating their getting married in another state. The baker refused to sell them a cake because he surmised, from their request for rainbow-colored layers, that they were gay.

    Now I recognize that you also resent the fact that the law provides that people not face discrimination on the basis of certain basic characteristics, but the fact is that these same laws which protect people from facing discrimination for their race, religion, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, and so forth, *also* protect *you* from being discriminated against for *your* race, religion, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, etc. The fact that you don’t “feel” protected by these laws is not a function of them protecting only minorities — it is a *symptom* of your own privilege; of the fact that you do *not*, and are not likely to, as a general rule, *face* any sort of discrimination for being (I’m guessing, here — correct me if I’m wrong) white, male, heterosexual, cisgender, of USAmerican birth and extraction, and a member of, if not a mainstream majority religion, still, a religion which has achieved general acceptance in your area of residence.

    Being a member of the non-discriminated class isn’t “wrong.” And it feels good. But it can provide a certain level of insensitivity to those who are not so fortunate as yourself. This insensitivity and unthinking “otherization” of those who don’t fit your same mold, is called “privilege.” As I said, it isn’t wrong to experience privilege. But it IS wrong if, when your privilege is pointed out to you, you don’t stop and begin to consider what your life would be like had you not been born into a position of such privilege.

    Don’t be jealous of black people or gay people because a law provides that you may not refuse them service in your establishment. Just stop and recognize that the *same* law also dictates that *they* may not refuse *you* service in *their* establishments simply because you are white and straight. And that the only reason you never realized this is because probably never in your life have you been refused service because you were white and straight.

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  85. alice on January 18, 2014 at 11:08 AM

    #77

    The government IS NOT ABLE to give to anyone a right that doesn’t exist in law. The government CANNOT give to anyone else a right that you don’t also have — whether or not as a member of the majority you ever have to invoke it. The government NEEDS to protect the exercise of the rights of (legally speaking) disadvantaged groups. That’s upholding the Constitution of the United States.

    Have you stopped to think about the fact that in the past gay Americans could be arrested just for being gay? Gay Americans have been murdered for being gay. More than we know or would want to add up. Even today some gay Americans are assaulted, beaten, deprived of employment and are frequently humiliated for being who they are. In Mormon culture particularly, the burden has been so onerous that legions of young gay Mormons have committed suicide. If they have decided they’ve had enough and used laws to fight back (emphasis on the word “back”) that’s a pretty civilized approach.

    I think you are not looking at this from both sides. I think if you were the one denied services you’d have a different tune to sing. And if you think it’s a matter of a single incident that Mullins & Craig should have walked “decently” away from then I think you’re choosing to close your eyes to the constant discriminations gay Americans are subject to.

    I hope if you choose to think about walking a mile in someone else’s moccasins you’ll come to some more inclusive conclusions.

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  86. Serragon on January 18, 2014 at 4:17 PM

    #85 Alice

    The government doesn’t give rights at all. The government exists to protect the natural rights that existed prior to the institution of the government.

    What you are considering “rights” are Civil rights, which aren’t rights at all. They are simply laws and can be given or taken away at the whim of the state.

    This argument is going nowhere because there are two separate beliefs about the state.

    Some believe the state exists to make things better. They wish to mold the world into a better place using the force of the state. Civil rights trump natural rights.

    Others wish for the state to leave them alone and only be invoked when your life, liberty, or property have been violated. Natural rights trump civil rights.

    The beauty of natural rights is that they exist for all and the government simply exists to make you whole when another individual violates them.

    The problem with Civil rights is that they require an injustice to institute. You cannot pass a law without causing some injustice to some other group. You cannot force someone to sell to a homosexual couple without violating their right to associate. Civil rights or laws are by definition a limitation on the rights of some for the benefit of others.

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  87. babaroni on January 18, 2014 at 5:10 PM

    Serragon, Freedom of Association is, itself, a civil right. Claiming that your right to Freedom of Association trumps others’ rights to do business in a fair marketplace, free of bias and discrimination looks a lot like simple selfishness. It has already been well-established in legislation and case law that Freedom of Association does not apply to public accommodations, employment or housing. It applies to private clubs which are not primarily business-related and to religious organizations (within a given set of parameters). If you have a problem with that, then you have a problem with the laws of this country. That’s unfortunate for you, but it still doesn’t mean you get to practice discrimination (on the basis of race or other protected classification) with impunity.

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  88. Serragon on January 18, 2014 at 5:18 PM

    #84 Babaroni

    this is an excellent post to illustrate what I was saying about Civil Rights. Babaroni has a position on society and what is just. She supports the use of state force to institute her ideology and feels justified in doing so because it is right and good.

    She may be right.. It may be “good”. The problem is that once you agree that you can use the state to force others to accept a particular version of morality, then you have lost all freedom.

    Although Babaroni would disagree, what she is trying to do is no different than what Hitler or Mao did. They both used the power of the state to right wrongs and injustices as they perceived them. They may perceive what justice is differently, but the means is the same.

    The purpose of the state is not to right perceived injustices based on your own personal morality. It is to protect your natural rights. That is all.

    If the government derives its power from the consent of the governed, why does it have the right to force the baker to sell a cake if he does not consent? Do you have the right to go to the bakers store and force him to sell the cake? If not, then the government should not have this power either as it would be derived from nothing.

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  89. Serragon on January 18, 2014 at 5:25 PM

    Freedom of Association is NOT a civil right. You were born with the right to associate with others prior to the institution of the government. Are you seriously arguing that you can only associate with others because the government gives you permission?

    You also have a right to do business in a marketplace. This could also be done prior to the institution of government. The word “fair” has a different definition for all, so you can’t possibly have a right to it.

    You have never had the right to force someone to sell something to you. Ever. This is fundamentally different than “doing business”. You can try to sell or buy. This is your right. You cannot force someone to sell to you or buy from you.

    you keep repeating what courts have said about public institutions and such.. That is actually irrelevant to the fundamental point. You need to think deeper. You are having a hard time dis-associating government from rights. Rights DO NOT come from the government.

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  90. babaroni on January 18, 2014 at 6:16 PM

    Serragon, by your argument, the government should also not have the right to collect taxes from citizens. If the right of the government to take a particular action with regards to its citizens is dependent, as you claim, upon whether an individual citizen would be permitted that same action, then government could never actually take action in any position of power over a citizen. Government could never make and enforce any law. Government could never control trade.

    As for whether Freedom of Association (and the implied right to *not* associate), and whether this right is a civil right or a basic human right, I’d go so far as to say the question is arguable. That said, pretty much every government in history has, to one degree or another granted or denied the right to associate under particularly defined circumstances. Our government’s interpretation of this right is far more lenient than many (witness India’s caste system, or the intense social stratifications of feudal Europe).

    But again, Serragon, you are, as Paul would say, kicking against the goads, since your definitions on these matters stray far from our country’s legal traditions and judicial history. It’s okay for you to believe these things, but that doesn’t make them true.

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  91. Serragon on January 18, 2014 at 6:35 PM

    A government has no rights. it is not a person. Therefore it cannot have the right to tax. People may consent to be taxed, but without that consent it is in fact nothing but force with the threat of violence. The key to everything is consent of the governed. Where else does that state derive its power? If it is not given voluntarily, then it is in fact stolen. Are governments legitimate simply because they exist? People can and do exist without governments. Governments cannot exist without people.

    Freedom of Association as a natural right is not arguable. It existed prior to the government, therefore can’t be civil.

    I agree that all governments through history have denied basic natural rights. That is precisely why I don’t use the state to justify my position as you do. And I don’t use the state to try and enforce my morality on others.

    My ideas may stray far from MODERN legal findings. They are in fact very closely aligned to our country’s legal tradition and history. It is in fact your ideas that don’t jive with our country’s legal tradition and history. Your ideas are very much in line with the oppressive ideaology expressed and practiced by most of the world throughout history.. that the state should be used to force others to your personal view of morality.

    In this case, you advocate the state be used to force an individual to sell his labor/property to another individual against his will and consent because you believe it to be moral. That is the very definition of dominion and oppression even if you think the end result it “good”.

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  92. babaroni on January 18, 2014 at 6:39 PM

    Incidentally, many people commenting on this issue fail to make a distinction between personal property held for one’s own use, vs. goods and services *offered* for sale. It’s an important distinction. No one can force you to sell your personal property which you had no intent to sell (other than the government, if you fail to pay taxes or other obligations and someone gets a judgment against you, forcing you to sell your goods or property to pay the debt). But once you offer something for sale in the public marketplace, that is when the laws governing fair business practices take over. For instance, no one can force you to sell your home (unless you owe too many back taxes, have some other sort of judgment against you, or the state makes a legitimate claim of eminent domain). But once you *decide* to put your house up for sale on the open real estate market, you cannot refuse to sell it to someone of, say, another race or religion, because you with to preserve the racial or ethnic “purity” of your neighborhood, or because your other neighbors don’t want a black or Jewish or Muslim family moving in.

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  93. Serragon on January 18, 2014 at 7:22 PM

    Barboni — you are missing the point entirely. I am not arguing what the law currently says. I am trying to illustrate that the laws you keep referencing and using to support your moral claim are in fact oppressive and violate our natural rights.

    I realize that there the US government has stated that there is a difference. This is incorrect and violates the natural rights of the property owner. You had no obligation to sell your property to an individual prior to the formation of the government. You have no obligation now. The fact that the state says you do and will punish you if you don’t is evidence of the illigitmacy of the law, not proof that you are correct.

    You have no right to force someone to sell their labor/product to someone else. Therefore the government has no place from which to derive that power. If the government does this, they are engaging in a violation of your natural rights and are perpetrating an injustice on somebody.

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  94. babaroni on January 18, 2014 at 10:23 PM

    Serragon, I suppose you will need to found your own Libertarian/Anarchist state somewhere, then, where all the laws will be as you decide they ought to be, rather than the way that they are here. You may believe that “How Serragon Wants the World to Be” is how things ought to be, but it just doesn’t work that way. I’m glad you realize that your beliefs about “rights” and “morals” are contrary to the law of this land. I’m sad for the level of distress this clearly causes you.

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  95. Serragon on January 18, 2014 at 11:16 PM

    that you propose I need to form my own state to live in freedom and liberty illustrates my point nicely.

    It is not I that is trying to force others to live as I see fit. It is not I that proposes laws to force others to live in accordance with my own sense of justice.. That is what you desire, and it is repulsive to those of us who love freedom.

    Tyranny is never acceptable, even if you do it with a smile on your face.

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  96. babaroni on January 19, 2014 at 10:05 AM

    Serragon, in fact you *do* propose that others live in accordance with your own sense of justice. You propose a social order where the disfavored classes (like black people in the South prior to Civil Rights) remain oppressed by the majority and subject to the tyrannical whims of those who are advantaged in society by the color of their skin, or other characteristics. You believe that “justice” consists in preserving a status quo (which is no longer the status quo) which maintains your own privilege at the expense of justice for others.

    Again, I’m not suggesting you get out of the country; I’m just saying that your beliefs about “how things *should* be” is far distant from how our system of laws and government in this country actually work. If you want to live in a country where people practice the sort of “justice” which will increase your level of privilege over that of various discriminated minorities, such that you may feel free to mistreat and abuse them by refusing them the right to do business in the public marketplace on an equal footing with their more advantaged peers, you really only have two choices: 1. Try to get your fellow citizens to see things your way and change the laws accordingly, including amending the constitution to repeal provision such as Equal Protections, or 2. Try to find someplace where the laws are already substantially in accordance with your ideas about “justice.”

    What you fail to see, though, Serragon, is how deeply your own privilege clearly influences your views on “what is just.” You would really benefit from spending a bit of time trying to imagine how it would feel to be a member of a discriminated minority and be refused equal opportunity to access the basic needs of life, and to do business fairly in the public square.

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  97. Serragon on January 20, 2014 at 11:43 AM

    I dont’ think you really have any idea what I am talking about.

    Your post is a response to a strawman, not to me. I have advocated none of what you propose. It is almost as if you have a charicacture of my position informed by your own biases and prejudices instead of from my words. I would prefer it if you would debate my words and not your own biases.

    Let me make this simple for you.

    You do not have the right to someone elses labor.

    That is all i am proposing. Nothing more. No “system of oppression”. No “institution of privilege”

    I will ask again since you have yet to answer. Where do you derive the authority to force someone to labor for you?

    You philosophy about privilege is irrelevant. Everyone has a philosphy, and you are free to convince others through non-violent means to adopt/live your philosphy. But when you decide to use violence or the threat of violence to force others to adopt your philosophy, you are simply a tyrant.

    I advocate that you have no right to dominion over me. You argue that you have the right to dominion as long as you feel justfied in doing so.. You are quite simply a tyrant.

    And to suggest that the idea of natural rights is not compatible with our current set of laws is ludicrous. We were founded upon the ideas of natural rights. The fact that tyrants have instituted laws that violate these natural rights is not evidence that your position is correct, it is simply evidence of tyranny.

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  98. babaroni on January 20, 2014 at 12:32 PM

    You make a false analogy when you (essentially) compare the right to equal access to public accommodations with “forced labor.”

    Compelling someone to perform labor for you by threat of legal action would be wrong, I agree. But the difference, here, is that the baker is not being forced to perform labor he would otherwise not have performed. If I went to the baker and demanded that he come and clean my windows, or I would sue him in court for discriminating against me, a gay person, you’re right, this would be wrong (and I’d lose the suit, regardless).

    But the baker’s job is to *bake*. This is his chosen profession, his career. He has advertised in the public marketplace that he is willing to bake a given set of products for anyone willing to come into his store and pay him his asking price for those products. His refusal to serve *me*, a gay person, has nothing to do with his unwillingness or lack of any intention to perform the labor of baking and decorating cakes. He does this and would be doing it anyway, and has advertised to the public that it is a service he does perform and is willing to perform. He is only discriminating against me, a gay person, because I am gay and he doesn’t like that characteristic about me. If he didn’t like black people, and refused to bake a cake for a black person, he would be equally guilty of discrimination, and legal consequences for this behavior would not be equivalent to “forcing him to labor” or to slavery. He’s being asked to perform labor *he* has elected to perform, and for the remuneration *he* has set as a fair price for his services. He’s just not permitted to discriminate against hated minorities in the provision of that service.

    It’s really pretty simple, and very fair. You’re entitle to think it is unfair, Serragon, but, again, the law disagrees with you, and I think you’d feel quite differently if you were on the receiving end of discrimination.

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  99. Steve on January 20, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    Babaroni,

    If the baker discriminated against an Oriental would he be guilty of discrimination and face legal consequences? If the baker was black and discriminated against a white person, would he be guilty of discrimination and face legal consequences?

    You seek authority by referring back to the law. Is there anything higher or of more importance than the law?

    Steve

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  100. Serragon on January 20, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    It is not a false analogy. It isn’t even an analogy. You want to force the baker to sell his labor to another. Where do you derive the authority to force him to do this?

    The fact that he might have labored for another is irrelevant. He gets to choose
    where/when to labor. You do not get to choose for him.

    Once again, Where do you derive the authority to force him?

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  101. babaroni on January 20, 2014 at 2:19 PM

    Steve #99 — First, I think the word you’re looking for is “Asian,” not “Oriental.” Oriental is a type of rug. And yes, the baker would be guilty of discrimination if he refused service to anyone on the basis of their race, ethnicity, sex, religion or sexual orientation. That includes if the baker discriminated against a prospective customer because the customer was white, male, straight and Mormon. Non-discrimination laws protect everyone, not just minorities.

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  102. babaroni on January 20, 2014 at 2:27 PM

    Serragon, the point you are missing is that the baker, by taking out a state business license, *agreed* to serve the public on an equal basis, and to abide by state laws which regulate trade and public accommodations. Just like he agreed to pay his employees the minimum wage, file taxes in a timely manner, pay employment taxes on behalf of his employees, abide by fair and safe workplace laws, and not to discriminate against his employees on the basis of those same characteristics we’ve been discussing.

    The authority which compels him to abide by the agreements he made comes from the state. The state has the authority to provide his services on a non-discriminatory basis, in the interests of promoting a fair and just environment for business. You forget that if this baker is allowed to refuse to sell a cake to a gay man, all the businesses in town have the ability to band together to force a black or Mormon family out of town by refusing to sell to them, refusing to rent or sell them a home, and refusing them other needed services. Again, your refusal to understand this appears to be strongly symptomatic of your privilege as someone who has probably never faced discrimination as a member of a hated minority.

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  103. Steve on January 20, 2014 at 2:40 PM

    Babaroni,

    It appears that the govt has decided some categories over which they will exercise compulsion. If a business person decides to reject business due to the potential customer being too fat, short, bald or whatever, this too could be termed discrimination but will not elicit coercion because these characteristics are not in the group the government cares about.

    I believe that you are correct that the nexus of government control in this case is the business license. Of course a baker would likely be coerced to get government permission to sell his wares to individuals. Again, government coercion inserts itself into person to person transactions.

    Is there anything higher than the law?

    Steve

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  104. Serragon on January 20, 2014 at 3:02 PM

    I am not missing your point.

    Your entire point is that the state can do whatever it wants as long as it complies with your sense of morality. My point is that my sense of morality cannot be forced onto others. You advocate tyranny. I do not.

    Your ideology is disgusting and repugnant. What makes it worse is that you think you are actually doing GOOD by stomping on the natural rights of your neigbors.

    The person who wishes to sell their labor made no agreements as you describe. They were forced into these “agreements” at the point of a gun if they wished to exercise thier natural rights.

    A person has the right to labor and try and sell thier labor to whomever they please. This right existed prior to the existence of the government. Business licenses, minimum wage, etc. are all simply examples of some individuals forcing others to live by their morality at the point of a gun. They do not constitute “agreements’ anymore than the slave “agreed” to participate in his slavery because the governemnt said it was legal.

    You say:

    :The state has the authority to provide his services on a non-discriminatory basis, in the interests of promoting a fair and just environment for business. ”

    The state has no authority to provide his services on ANY basis. Where does this authority come from? Magic? Because you want it to? Because you like it? Because it meets your definition of fair?

    Once again.. What give you the right to force someone to give/sell their labor to someone else?

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  105. Serragon on January 20, 2014 at 3:57 PM

    To illustrate my point about your so called aggreements:

    Suppose I decide to dig a ditch. Now suppose I decide to sell my ditch digging ability to others. I find someone who wishes to trade for my labor, and we transact.

    Now suppose a group of people approach me and tell me I cannot sell my labor anymore unless I give them $50 annually. I refuse, as I realize i do not need their permission to sell my labor. They then put a gun to my head and tell me I can either stop selling my labor or give them the money. Since I still want to exercise my natural right, I give them the money. I have purchased a business license. Did I really agree to anything?

    Now suppose I have my license and I negotiate to dig a ditch for a neighbor. I negotiate a wage of $3/hour. Now suppose the same group appears and tells my neighbor that I am not allowed to dig that ditch unless he pays me $10/hour. He and I both protest. They then pull out a gun and put it at both of our heads and tell him to pay me the $10/hour or i cannot dig the ditch. He either pays me the money, or chooses not to employ me. As they leave they pat me on the shoulder and say “its for your own good”.

    I hope you can see the fallacy of your position. You have no foundation. Your argument is simply “You will conform to my morality or else”. The state has no authority without consent. Without consent, it is simply a mob.

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  106. Steve on January 20, 2014 at 5:05 PM

    The following video reminds me of this conversation:

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  107. babaroni on January 20, 2014 at 7:52 PM

    Serragon, I’m thinking you could benefit from a course in economics. The reason the state enforces a minimum wage, for instance, is because employers who undercut the market drive down wages for all and eventually we end up with a large underclass which cannot afford basic lodging, food and services (this is one of the big problems people complain about with regards to undocumented workers and their effect on the economy — I’d lean more towards granting them legitimate guest-worker status and requiring that they be paid a fair wage, where people on the conservative end just want them shipped home to starve, but that’s another discussion for another day). The state has a legitimate interest in assuring that all citizens are paid a fair living wage. They can enforce this, not because they are big bad meanies who just want to punish employers, but because we realize that it is beneficial to society when we can all afford a decent place to live, food to eat and means to purchase goods and services.

    When we, as a society, fail in this obligation, we end up with more and more people on rolls for welfare, unemployment, food assistance and public medical care, or, if we as a society refuse these lifelines, we end up the the shame and embarrassment of our citizens starving and dying in the street, observed by our peers around the globe.

    Non-discrimination laws serve a similar public interest, in that those who are denied equal access to jobs, housing and public accommodation are at risk of becoming a de facto underclass. We cannot afford as a society to have people who are unable to access basic goods and services. And if one hated group can be legally discriminated against, all others can be, as well.

    Have you ever seen pictures or film footage of the living conditions endured by many black people in the South under segregation? Third world levels of poverty. If someone cannot get a job because of his skin color, it doesn’t much matter whether Woolworth’s will let him sit at the lunch counter. It all goes hand-in-hand. And the sad fact is that there are places where it still isn’t much better today. Generational poverty and oppression is incredibly difficult to break out of. To suggest that we return to a system wherein it was *legal* to refuse service to people because of the color of their skin is a travesty of justice so deep that I cannot express how appalled your words make me feel. I’m, frankly, shocked and horrified at the ideas you are publicly espousing here.

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  108. babaroni on January 20, 2014 at 7:53 PM

    Steve, you are making no sense.

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  109. Steve on January 20, 2014 at 9:34 PM

    Barbaroni,

    I’m sorry that you did not understand. And I’m sorry that you favor force. It appears that a war from another sphere has continued here. It seems so hard for people to continue loving liberty more than slavery.

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  110. babaroni on January 20, 2014 at 9:38 PM

    Steve, you don’t get to invoke “slavery” when you continue to advocate for legal segregation and race discrimination.

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  111. Steve on January 20, 2014 at 10:35 PM

    Barbaroni,

    I advocate freedom of association. I have counted African Americans as some of my best friends. Why? Because I wanted to, not because I was forced to.

    As a people Americans increasingly choose slavery to a strong government, the same thing our forefathers fought against. I am sorry for that.

    Goodbye.

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  112. babaroni on January 21, 2014 at 9:34 AM

    Steve, do you not understand that, “I’m not racist! Some of my best friends are black!” is typically the first thing a racist person says in his own defense? It has become an archetypal cliche which nearly guarantees that the speaker *does* espouse racist ideas.

    If, truly, “some of [your] best friends are black,” then, before you continue any further down this road, sit down with them and very honestly ask them how they feel about white people who advocate that there shouldn’t be non-discrimination ordinances based upon race because these ordinances somehow violate your rights as a white person. Invite their honesty. You might be very surprised by what you hear if you actually take the time to listen.

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  113. Steve on January 21, 2014 at 10:37 AM

    Barbaroni,

    I was replying to your insinuations. Apparently that was also a mistake.

    It is odd that you did not reply to my question about the law, in spite of my asking it a number of times.

    Steve

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  114. babaroni on January 21, 2014 at 12:41 PM

    Steve, I don’t see any question about “the law” that I haven’t addressed several times over.

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  115. Steve on January 21, 2014 at 12:55 PM

    Is there anything higher or of more importance than the law?

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  116. Steve on January 21, 2014 at 1:04 PM

    It seems there are 2 mindsets making comments. I read a section from Atlas Shrugged that describes one: The only justification of private property is public service.

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  117. babaroni on January 21, 2014 at 2:19 PM

    Steve, yes, I believe we need to follow our own moral compass, whether it is found in our religious beliefs/God or in some other source. But that is an *individual* thing, not something we can or should impose upon *others* by way of the government. That’s what the whole “freedom of religion” thing is about. We don’t base our laws upon any particular persons religious beliefs. We base them upon a moral standard of not doing harm to others. Our laws are designed to protect, as fully as possible, our individual rights and freedoms, up to the point where our exercise of those rights and freedoms infringes upon the rights and freedoms of others.

    Our laws are not subject to the dictates of your religion or my religion, of God as you understand God, or God as I understand God, but rather to moral codes based upon protecting rights and freedoms of *all* (not just the majority).

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  118. Serragon on January 21, 2014 at 2:50 PM

    Babaroni —

    #117 has to be THE most hypocritical post I have read in a long time… did you type this with a straight face? Your entire argument involves using force of government to impose your beliefs on others.

    I honestly think you are the most blind person I have ever met, and I have friends that actually can’t see.

    I see no purpose in debating further with you as you don’t appear to be intellectually honest. I have had ample opportunity to state my position, which I am grateful for.

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  119. babaroni on January 21, 2014 at 3:13 PM

    Serragon, you seem to have missed the point that it is government’s *responsibility* to ensure that the minority’s rights are not trampled by the majority. Your rights as an individual are protected *up to the point* where they infringe upon someone else’s rights. The minority person has a right to participate in the public marketplace on a fair footing with his/her majority fellow-citizens. If your discrimination against the minority person (based upon your interpretation of your “freedom of association” rights) significantly interferes with the minority citizen’s right to do business on an equal footing with his/her majority peers, then that is the point where the government *stops* enforcing your right to freedom of association, and begins enforcing the minority person’s right to equal access.

    You see this as “intellectually dishonest” on my part because I refuse to co-sign your sense of entitlement to infringe upon the rights of others where they interfere with your perceived “right” to discriminate against the minority. Call it what you like. You are the one who is advocating the position which tramples upon rights, freedoms and liberty.

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  120. Serragon on January 21, 2014 at 4:39 PM

    I called you intellectually dishonest because of your hypocritical comments in #117, not because we disagree.

    You have done nothing but write justifications for the use of goverment force throughout this thread, then in #117 claim using government force to impose your beliefs is wrong.

    Not only are you a tyrant, you are a hypocrite, so I will not continue to debate you.

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  121. babaroni on January 21, 2014 at 4:50 PM

    Serragon, it is your insistence that this is merely about my *beliefs* which is wrong. It is about our nation’s values for balancing personal liberties with equality and justice. You (a libertarian, I presume) believe that “personal liberties” should trump all other considerations, including the rights of others, while failing to realize that protecting *your* personal liberties to trample upon the rights of others is an infringement upon *their* personal liberties. Therefore, you want *your* rights enforced by the government at the expense of everyone else’s. THAT, Serragon, is “intellectually dishonest.” Trying to turn it around and make it all about *me* is your problem.

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  122. Steve on January 21, 2014 at 5:02 PM

    The higher value I referred to over law was the Constitution. It trumps all laws and if a law is not in accord with it, it is no law at all. And the Constitution which says that there is a right to property which can only be crossed under very strict conditions, and discrimination is not one of the conditions.

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  123. babaroni on January 21, 2014 at 6:31 PM

    Absolutely true, Steve, insofar as it goes. But you are forgetting that the Constitution contains a process for adding amendments, including the 14th Amendment, containing Equal Protection and Due Process, the constitutional provision upon which non-discrimination law is based. Even the 5th Amendment’s Property Rights are not absolute. The citizen is to be protected from seizure of his/her property without due process of law, and without compensation (when property is seized for public use, i.e., “eminent domain”).

    There is nothing about non-discrimination in public accommodations which violates the constitution. When you asked about “something higher than the law,” I assumed you were *including* the constitution under the designation of “the law,” since the constitution is law (and is the very law from which Equal Protection proceeds).

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  124. Douglas on January 22, 2014 at 2:50 AM

    Babaroni – Suppose you’re the proprietor of a “gay” bar. One evening, a gaggle of self-proclaimed neo-Nazis (and I’m assuming they haven’t read the “Pink Swastika” or knew anything about Ernst Rhom, so they’re definite not friendly to gays) “storms” (troopin’) in and demands service. Naturally, you and your clientele are utterly horrified at this spectacle, so you refuse them and ask them to leave. After a tense stand-off, they depart. Imagine your surprise when a few days later you’re served with a lawsuit (undoubtedly filed by an ACLU lawyer) demanding damages for having violated their “civil rights” to be served without “prejudice”.
    Of course, my example seems extreme and preposterous. All we likely agree on is that it probably won’t happen, due to the fortunate paucity of Nazis. Still, and I’m not so old (a few months shy of 55 and official “old fogeydom”) to not have remembered a funny cartoon drawn by one of MAD magazines all-time greats, Sergio Aragones. I’ve been searching for a reprint w/o success. It shows a swishy, ostensibly gay man carrying out a wedding cake with two grooms atop. The baker appears to be utterly creeped out. Of course, spoilsports like yourself will pillory the uber-talented Senor Aragones as being “bigoted” or “backward”. However, in 1973 (about when I believe it was first published), it was hilarious since the prospect of it actually happening seemed completely ridiculous. Now, it’s serious debate fodder.
    All that’s “changed” is that this country has collectively boarded what the fictional Cpl. Hicks described the dropship in “Aliens”..”The Express Elevator to Hell”. Just remember, it’s not the long drop, it’s the sudden stop…

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  125. Douglas on January 22, 2014 at 3:24 AM

    #107 (Babaroni) – to get into a lengthy debate regarding your utterly flawed ideas about economics, the Government’s role, and actual effect would amount to a thread-jack. You falsely liken the debate about ability of the baker to refuse gay clientele over the notion that the Government exists to “protect the disadvantaged”. Funny how when the ones that are perceived to be not “gay-friendly” or not meeting your standards of liberal orthodoxy, you don’t seem to advocate the Government upholding THEIR rights.
    Mandating a minimum wage to promote a minimal standard of living is and has always proven to be a fool’s errand. Like it or not, all business, whether in the private or the public sector, is subject to market forces to varying degrees (e.g., whether they truly depend on the free marketplace or can use Government force to gain business). This most certainly includes labor. So if a minimum wage law raises the unit cost of labor, then business finds ways to make do with less labor man-hours, or resorts to automation or other technological answers which might not otherwise be economically viable. The net result is LESS employment, and therefore a lower living standard, on the part of the “downtrodden” which you profess to care about.
    A similar analogy exists for guaranteeing “free access”. Interesting that you believe that the private business has no right to decide whom he shall do business with, whether it be on accepted business principles or less rational ideas, racism included. So in your mind, the customer, or at least those from what you perceive to be the ‘disadvantaged’, is “more equal” than the businessman. What it boils down to is that this Christian baker’s inherent right, one he never should have to supplicate the Government that is supposedly his servant as well, to avoid the company and to not take the money of those whose actions offend him, ought to always prevail over the gay couple’s inconvenience over being refused business. And how inconvenient was it, truly, to have been turned away? Was this baker drumming up a “hate campaign” against the gay couple to ostracize them? Hardly. He was busy baking. Was there truly no one along the entire Front Range that could not provide baked goods to their tastes? It’s preposterous to even assert that these gay men had some Constitutional rights to baked goods, especially from the provider of their choice. In a situation of normalcy, they’d have shopped around until they found a willing provider, and any cries of ‘foul’ would be ridiculed. In today’s kooky world, they were able to mis-use “non-discrimination” as a cudgel against someone who hurt their feelings or refused to convenience them. Thanks to liberal cowardice, what started out as “tolerance” for gay “rights” has become Government-sponsored imposition of gay values. Hence why I say my then-bishop, who convinced me to get on the bandwagon in 2008 regarding CA’s Prop 8, was spot-on.

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  126. babaroni on January 22, 2014 at 12:39 PM

    So, what you’re saying, Douglas, is that businesses should have the right to refuse services to people because they are Mormon or Jewish or Muslim. And that businesses should have the right to refuse to hire black people and disabled people. These aren’t exactly new and cutting edge ideas, Douglas. Thank goodness you’re a little behind the times, legally speaking, because in reality, businesses do *not* have the right to refuse service or employment to people because they are black or Mormon or Jewish. This isn’t just “something in my mind,” as you suggest in #125, or something I “believe” should be the case (again, your words), but is actual reality under our laws and our constitution. You might want to brush up on your business and employment law.

    As to your “Nazis in a gay bar” scenario, I don’t really have occasion to go to bars — gay or otherwise, so the idea that I would own a gay bar is pretty far off my radar. Let’s say, instead, that a Nazi comes to my place of business, which is an accounting software consulting agency and wants me to design a custom program for him which will take the downloaded names and addresses of all the Jews, black people, and legally married same-sex couples in our area, organize them according to age, income, employment, number of offspring, and similar demographics, and create custom reports to help the group target their homes or places of business for harassment or attack.

    Will I refuse his business? You bet your Aunt Fanny I will. Will he come back with the ACLU and file suit against me for discrimination? He might. Will he win? Nope. You know why? Because there is no constitutionally-protected right to engage in hate crimes or to compel others to assist you in committing such crimes. There is no constitutionally-protected “suspect class” (like race, ethnicity, religion, etc.) for “white supremacists.” Is he protected from discrimination based on his race, which I presume is “white”? Absolutely. But I didn’t discriminate against him for being white. Is he protected from discrimination based on his religion (which likely is some form of evangelical protestant)? You betcha. But I didn’t discriminate against him for being an evangelical protestant. Is he protected from discrimination based on his sex, which is apparently male in this example? Uh-huh. But I didn’t refuse him services for being a boy. Is he protected (in my state, anyway) from discrimination based upon his being a heterosexual? Yessirree Bob. But I didn’t refuse him service for being a heterosexual. I do business with white, male, evangelical protestant, heterosexuals All. The. Time.

    No, I refused him service for being not just a member of a hate group, but because he wanted to use my place of business as a platform for launching and perpetrating his hateful activities (the same reason, incidentally, that the owner of a gay bar would be entitled to refuse services to your Nazi and his buddies).

    Again, you seem to not be terribly familiar with what the law does and does not say about discrimination and equal protection. You might want to brush up on this stuff before you argue over it. I don’t mind providing you with the info, but you could save yourself some extraneous posting time, you know?

    As for your discussion of an anti-gay comic you saw 40 years ago, I’m betting it’s not the only one out there. If you enjoy that sort of thing, you can probably find plenty more like it. I’m not sure what your point was in bringing it up, other than to just emphasize to me how much you hate gay people? Okay, fair enough. Point taken. You hate gay people. You’re entitled. You’re not entitled to discriminate against them in the provision of public accommodations, however, at least not in Colorado.

    I’m betting if you look hard enough, you can find plenty of comics, too, about interracial marriage and racial segregation that might tickle your funnybone like the anti-gay comics. If you’re into that sort of thing.

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  127. Douglas on January 22, 2014 at 3:05 PM

    #126 – quoth James Tiberius Kirk as he taunted Khan Noonien Sighn in ST-II(1982): “Like…a…poor…marks(wo)man, you…keep…MISSING…the target!” My analogy about Nazis being understandably unwelcome in a gay bar (they’d likely be even more unwelcome in a neighborhood bar in Skokie, IL, or Brighton Beach, Queens, NY), if I add that they profess that all they’re on the premises for is to have a good drink, will that help? I credit you with having enough intelligence to implicitly understand that and my reasoning; else ethnics compels me to refuse to engage in a battle of wits with an obviously unarmed opponent. Despite ostensible lawful and peaceful behavior (the bar is open to the public, they simply walked in and asked to be served, what’s the problem…?), should the sensitivities of a gay (or Jewish) establishment be overriden on the doctrine of “public- access” forcing a private business or club to take all comers? The issue with your analogy is that you describe refusal to be coerced into an unlawful and likely terroristic activity (with the usual slander that such is the exclusive property of white heterosexual males). I as a longtime “Federale”, working within the DoD, would be very interested if someone approached me with a like proposal, and likely talking to the DIS, as domestic terrorism, WHEN true, is not a trifling matter. How does it feels when the jackboot is on the other foot? I wouldn’t necessarily agree in lockstep with this Christian’s reasoning (perhaps he interprets the Apostle Paul’s admonition in I Cor 5:9 as impelling him not to do business with known homosexuals to not “company with fornicators”) or application, but I fully understand his desire to pick and choose his clientele. You may as well abolish the concept of private property altogether, which seems to fit nicely with your politics. I prefer to cite movie, TV, and similar cultural references when pertinent as they constitute a concise frame of reference (as a long time F.O.O.M., or Friend of Old Marvel, “Nuff Said”). For this case, remember “Dr Zhivago” (the 1965 British version w/Omar Sharif, not the 2006 Russian TV version)…at first the Doctor and his family, in the wake of the Bolshevik takeover of Moscow, find all but the master suite in their once-palatial Moscow home taken over by Party-sanctioned squatters. Shortly, the Zhivagos are evicted, with the Madam Commissar self-righteously exclaimed as the unwashed horde occupying their former home taunt them, “There was 20 (square) meters of living space in that room!”.
    I’m well aware of what the law reads and what it’s been interpreted at varied judicial levels and/or twisted to apply to. Precedence is not always justification for bad law or maladministration. Do you not recall that in 1896 the Supreme Court ruled in Plessy vs. Ferguson that “separate but equal” public facilities according to the races (or whatever distinction was made) was constitutional, but famously reversed itself in 1954, noting that de facto “Separate”, regardles of intent, was inherently unequal? Likewise hopefully this case will serve as a rallying cry for Libertarian-minded folk that private property rights are threatened for the sake of a special-interest group that openly considers itself “more equal” than others in this once-great land.

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  128. babaroni on January 24, 2014 at 12:43 PM

    Douglas — First, your posts would be considerably easier to follow if you would leave spaces between your paragraphs. Just a thought…

    As to “missing the mark,” no, I haven’t. The reply is really quite similar even if you add *new* specifications that the Nazis make it clear they are there only to drink, not to cause trouble or commit acts of terrorism. The fact remains that business owners *are* allowed to refuse service to pretty much anyone and everyone, *so long as* their denial of service is not based upon the customer’s race, religion, ethnicity, disability, sex, sexual orientation (depending on the state) or other characteristic defined as protected from discrimination by law. As long as the owner is throwing them out because of the swastikas on their uniforms, an not because they are white, the owner is allowed to do so.

    Nazism is not a religion. It is not an ethnicity. It is not a sex or a sexual orientation. It is not a disability. On what basis would you suppose they are to be protected from discrimination? There is no “free speech” protection which prohibits a business owner from refusing service to those who engage in offensive speech. You just can’t be prosecuted or sent to jail for offensive speech.

    The fact is that, were I the owner of a bar and a Nazi walked in, sat down and ordered a drink, didn’t say anything untoward to anyone, didn’t make any threatening gestures, wasn’t brandishing a weapon, I’d serve him his drink. If he wasn’t wearing any identifying Nazi paraphernalia, all the better. But even if he was wearing a swastika, I’d still serve him, up until the point where he began behaving rudely or threateningly, or otherwise displaying hostile intent. There’s an argument to be made that, just by wearing the insignia of a hate group, he’d be displaying hostile intent — I’d support a business owner who refused him service on that basis, but I’d probably give him the benefit of the doubt. That’s just me.

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  129. Douglas on January 24, 2014 at 10:59 PM

    Paragraphs…I’ll do that, AND…shorten sentences and leave out ellipses. It’d probably be easier to submit two or three SHORTER posts (violating my implicit promise as a F.O.O.M. about “Nuff Said”). It wouldn’t be so tiring to follow, I should guess.

    Agreed about Nazism…you can’t be one and be either a member of the Church (nor a Commie, but like the Nazis, practically defunct), nor can you work for the US Government. You’d serve the Nazi bums? I’d throw them out on their ears, gagged with their swastika armbands. I give you more credit for tolerance than I have.

    But again, to…not…tire…out…William…Shatner…from…32..years…ago…you…keep…missing…the target! Just as a horde of Nazis marching into an establishment would raise our hackles, so likewise does being FORCED to interact with homosexuals offend some. It’s not a matter of how you or I feel about gays. It’s not that I seek out their company, but rarely when I’ve encountered an obviously gay man has there been cause why his presence should make me feel uneasy or offended. But for some, especially if something which is not only a source of income but is also their passion (like this baker and cake decorator), which has their personal stamp, being compelled under the law to have to associate with someone whose lifestyle causes them that degree of offense…this is why “equal access” as pertains to the private sector is tyrannical. Unfair? Just ask one of Liberaldom’s fave ex-Presidents, one James Earl Carter (1977-1981)

    “Well, as you know, there are many things in life that are not fair, that wealthy people can afford and poor people cant. But I dont believe that the Federal Government should take action to try to make these opportunities exactly equal, particularly when there is a moral factor involved.”

    For myself and most libertarians, I should think, the “moral factor” is obvious.

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  130. babaroni on January 26, 2014 at 6:52 PM

    Douglas, I completely get that you don’t *think* you should have to do business with members of discriminated minorities if you don’t feel inclined to do so, but the fact is that you *do* have to do so, as defined by federal and state non-discrimination legislation. I don’t think there is much more to be said than that. You can say it’s unfair and you don’t like it, but I disagree.

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