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Tags gay rights issues , religious rights issues , supreme court cases

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Old 26th June 2017, 07:43 PM   #1
Meadmaker
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Cakes are going to the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court announced today that they will take up the case of a Colorado baker next term. The baker, who makes custom cakes for weddings, refused to make a cake for a same sex marriage. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission determined that the baker was in violation of the Colorado civil rights laws, which bar discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The baker's case is that the cake is an artwork, and therefore an act of expression. You cannot be compelled against your will to participate in an expressive act that violates your religious beliefs. In similar cases it has also been argued that creating something for use in a ceremony is equivalent to participating in the ceremony, so compelling someone to do something for the ceremony would be to compel someone to participate in a ceremony that violates their religious beliefs. I don't know if the baker's lawyer's used that line of reasoning, or whether they stuck with the freedom of expression angle. (I haven't read the appeal's court briefs or opinions.)

The question before the court will be at what point commercial activity becomes protected speech. The baker has to convince the court that his interest to avoid being compelled to participate in expression that is against his will is not overridden by state law which is written to protect people from discrimination.

I don't know where the court will stand on this issue. There are a lot of factors at work here. The specific case at work here is less significant than a general principle. If they rule in favor of the baker, people might claim that cooking a meal or even setting a table setting is an act of expression, and they can't be compelled to take part. This would effectively eliminate the protections that the civil rights laws are meant to protect. On the other hand, if they rule against the baker, the great fear among the religious right is that preachers or clergy might be compelled to participate in same sex marriages, the theory being that since they accept a fee for their services, they are effectively a business, and cannot turn away people because of their sexual orientation. Similar cases have actually already occurred in some cases, so the fear is not groundless.

Regardless of which way the court rules, the implications will be far greater than just this baker.

For those on the left side of this case, there was a great sigh of relief when, after announcing that they would take this case, Justice Kennedy did not announce his resignation. Kennedy could once again provide the swing vote, but a Trump appointed replacement could be assumed to vote in favor of the baker.
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Old 27th June 2017, 03:02 AM   #2
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Humble pie is coming
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Old 27th June 2017, 03:13 AM   #3
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obviously a solicitation to be bribed in the form of pastry, cookies, biscuits and cakes...
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Old 27th June 2017, 03:42 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by applecorped View Post
Humble pie is coming
Meaning, sigh, exactly what? Will you be celebrating the fact that I, as, say, a Roman Catholic. can now refuse you any service for being a Protestant heretic, clueless about how we put your bible together for you, and how we are the only ones representing authentic apostolic succession, you being self-confessed, lying and unholy losers?

Shall we now be so clueless, so lacking in context and history, that we must relive the wars and rewrite the Treaty of Westphalia? Is it really asking too much that GOPers read, I dunno, something with bearing on an issue once in a blue moon?
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Old 27th June 2017, 03:52 AM   #5
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I find it astonishing how politicised your supreme court is, it almost appears at times that it is about finding any legal argument to support a political agenda rather than an attempt at an objective legal decision.
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Old 27th June 2017, 04:22 AM   #6
The Great Zaganza
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
I find it astonishing how politicised your supreme court is, it almost appears at times that it is about finding any legal argument to support a political agenda rather than an attempt at an objective legal decision.
At least they look for a legal loophole to support their point of view - better than most citizens of Trumpistan who believe that something must automatically be right if their Dear Leader says so.
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Old 27th June 2017, 04:41 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
The Supreme Court announced today that they will take up the case of a Colorado baker next term. The baker, who makes custom cakes for weddings, refused to make a cake for a same sex marriage. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission determined that the baker was in violation of the Colorado civil rights laws, which bar discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The baker's case is that the cake is an artwork, and therefore an act of expression. You cannot be compelled against your will to participate in an expressive act that violates your religious beliefs. In similar cases it has also been argued that creating something for use in a ceremony is equivalent to participating in the ceremony, so compelling someone to do something for the ceremony would be to compel someone to participate in a ceremony that violates their religious beliefs. I don't know if the baker's lawyer's used that line of reasoning, or whether they stuck with the freedom of expression angle. (I haven't read the appeal's court briefs or opinions.)

The question before the court will be at what point commercial activity becomes protected speech. The baker has to convince the court that his interest to avoid being compelled to participate in expression that is against his will is not overridden by state law which is written to protect people from discrimination.

I don't know where the court will stand on this issue. There are a lot of factors at work here. The specific case at work here is less significant than a general principle. If they rule in favor of the baker, people might claim that cooking a meal or even setting a table setting is an act of expression, and they can't be compelled to take part. This would effectively eliminate the protections that the civil rights laws are meant to protect. On the other hand, if they rule against the baker, the great fear among the religious right is that preachers or clergy might be compelled to participate in same sex marriages, the theory being that since they accept a fee for their services, they are effectively a business, and cannot turn away people because of their sexual orientation. Similar cases have actually already occurred in some cases, so the fear is not groundless.

Regardless of which way the court rules, the implications will be far greater than just this baker.
Do you have cites for cases where churches have been compelled to perform gay marriages or some such?

I don't understand how asking a fee would be the overriding factor in determining whether we're talking about freedom of religion. After all, for the church ceremony, the church costs money, the pastor gets a wage, etc., etc., so it's only logical they ask a fee.

Wouldn't it be a much more logical criterion to simply ask whether the business is religious in nature? So, a church may indeed discriminate, but a supermarket not, nor a hobby supply shop (I think the idea that HobbyLobby may discriminate with their health plan because the owner is a religious bigot is outrageous).

(and personally, I would legislate that religious institutions must carry a disclaimer on all their correspondence that they discriminate, e.g.:
The Roman Catholic Church - discriminates against women and LGBT since 35AD
The Southern Baptist Convention - discriminates against women, LGBT and blacks since 1845)

And as to the angle of "expression", I note that the bakery in question, Masterpiece Cakeshop, simply has 33 ready designs on their website to choose from. The "art" part already happened; adding the two names on it is purely mechanical and involves no "expression".
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Old 27th June 2017, 05:57 AM   #8
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Hmm I wonder if this creative effort will rewrite the Newman vs Piggie Park that found that religious beliefs were not enough to exclude blacks from your restaurant. Barbecue is a creative endeavor after all so it really should count too.
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Old 27th June 2017, 06:12 AM   #9
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The baker from Colorado offered to sell the couple a pre-made cake from his collection, not just make one specifically for them.

I wonder, who made the pre-made cake from his cooler/collection. If he made it, isn't that slightly hypocritical?
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Old 27th June 2017, 06:18 AM   #10
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I predict that the SCOTUS will split 5-4 and the baker will win

I anticipate an 8-year process of rolling back civil rights legislation whilst President Trump is in office.
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Old 27th June 2017, 06:33 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by C_Felix View Post
The baker from Colorado offered to sell the couple a pre-made cake from his collection, not just make one specifically for them.

I wonder, who made the pre-made cake from his cooler/collection. If he made it, isn't that slightly hypocritical?
Not if their problem is with the "expression" element. Presumably the pre-made cakes have expressions they find acceptable. The custom-made one, not so much.
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Old 27th June 2017, 07:03 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by The Don View Post
I predict that the SCOTUS will split 5-4 and the baker will win

I anticipate an 8-year process of rolling back civil rights legislation whilst President Trump is in office.
Oh more than 8 years, given what he will do to the court.
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Old 27th June 2017, 08:16 AM   #13
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Oh, and the same baker undermined his "sanctity of marriage" argument when he made cake for two dogs. From the ACLU:
Quote:
Phillips admitted he had turned away other same-sex couples as a matter of policy. The CCRD’s decision noted evidence in the record that Phillips had expressed willingness to take a cake order for the “marriage” of two dogs, but not for the commitment ceremony of two women, and that he would not make a cake for a same-sex couple’s wedding celebration “just as he would not be willing to make a pedophile cake.”
Hypocrite.
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Old 27th June 2017, 01:20 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by ddt View Post
Oh, and the same baker undermined his "sanctity of marriage" argument when he made cake for two dogs. From the ACLU:


Hypocrite.
How is that hypocrisy?
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Old 27th June 2017, 01:22 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
I find it astonishing how politicised your supreme court is, it almost appears at times that it is about finding any legal argument to support a political agenda rather than an attempt at an objective legal decision.
That is the natural outcome of not having parliamentary sovereignty. Since some of the powers of a parliament are taken up by the US supreme Court, that politicizes it.
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Old 27th June 2017, 03:43 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by ddt View Post
Do you have cites for cases where churches have been compelled to perform gay marriages or some such?

I don't understand how asking a fee would be the overriding factor in determining whether we're talking about freedom of religion. After all, for the church ceremony, the church costs money, the pastor gets a wage, etc., etc., so it's only logical they ask a fee.

Wouldn't it be a much more logical criterion to simply ask whether the business is religious in nature? So, a church may indeed discriminate, but a supermarket not, nor a hobby supply shop (I think the idea that HobbyLobby may discriminate with their health plan because the owner is a religious bigot is outrageous).

(and personally, I would legislate that religious institutions must carry a disclaimer on all their correspondence that they discriminate, e.g.:
The Roman Catholic Church - discriminates against women and LGBT since 35AD
The Southern Baptist Convention - discriminates against women, LGBT and blacks since 1845)

And as to the angle of "expression", I note that the bakery in question, Masterpiece Cakeshop, simply has 33 ready designs on their website to choose from. The "art" part already happened; adding the two names on it is purely mechanical and involves no "expression".
An ordained minister in Couer d'Allene Idaho who ran a "wedding chapel" was informed he was in violation of antidiscrimination laws when he refused to perform a same sex marriage. (He was willing to let them use the facility, just not perform the service himself.)

A church in Grove City, New Jersey lost a tax credit when they refused to rent a building for a same sex commitment ceremony.

A church in Massachusetts was informed that because they ran occasional spaghetti dinners that were open to non-parishoners and a fee was charged, they were therefore a provider of "public accommodation" and subject to all anti-discrimination laws. (Don't know all the details, but somehow transgender bathrooms came into the picture.)

In all of those cases, some sort of legal machinations were made, and the final resolution wasn't all that bad, but any of those legal actions would have been unthinkable 20 years ago. What is going on in America now is that there are a group of activists trying to push the envelope as far as they can, and a group of conservatives trying to hold the line or push it back to where they think it ought to be. Everyone knows that each new exchange in the legal battles is an opportunity to move an agenda forward, or backward, depending on your perspective.
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Old 27th June 2017, 03:59 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Hlafordlaes View Post
Meaning, sigh, exactly what? Will you be celebrating the fact that I, as, say, a Roman Catholic. can now refuse you any service for being a Protestant heretic, clueless about how we put your bible together for you, and how we are the only ones representing authentic apostolic succession, you being self-confessed, lying and unholy losers?

Shall we now be so clueless, so lacking in context and history, that we must relive the wars and rewrite the Treaty of Westphalia? Is it really asking too much that GOPers read, I dunno, something with bearing on an issue once in a blue moon?
I am 100% confident that that will not be the nature of the ruling.

The ruling will be based on the nature of the products produced, the services provided, or, in the case of renting a facility, the nature of the event for which the service is rented.

The identity, including religion, sexual orientation, or other protected class, of the customer will not be part of the ruling, except possibly to affirm that states may indeed pass laws protecting those classes.

In the case of Mr. cake baker, what that means is that they will decide whether he can be compelled to produce a particular sort of cake. Having produced that cake, he will be obliged to sell it to whoever wishes to purchase it.

The right wing will try to get them to go a little bit further, probably saying that producing a product for a given event constitutes an interference with religious freedom, even if the product is a standard, "off the shelf" item. I doubt they will win that, though. The difficulty for the court will be trying to thread a needle that protects freedom of expression, but doesn't allow discrimination in cases where there is no real expression, or no meaningful participation in a religious activity.
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Old 27th June 2017, 04:16 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by ddt View Post
Oh, and the same baker undermined his "sanctity of marriage" argument when he made cake for two dogs. From the ACLU:


Hypocrite.
Were the dogs the same sex?
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Old 27th June 2017, 06:41 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
I am 100% confident that that will not be the nature of the ruling.

The ruling will be based on the nature of the products produced, the services provided, or, in the case of renting a facility, the nature of the event for which the service is rented.

The identity, including religion, sexual orientation, or other protected class, of the customer will not be part of the ruling, except possibly to affirm that states may indeed pass laws protecting those classes.

In the case of Mr. cake baker, what that means is that they will decide whether he can be compelled to produce a particular sort of cake. Having produced that cake, he will be obliged to sell it to whoever wishes to purchase it.

The right wing will try to get them to go a little bit further, probably saying that producing a product for a given event constitutes an interference with religious freedom, even if the product is a standard, "off the shelf" item. I doubt they will win that, though. The difficulty for the court will be trying to thread a needle that protects freedom of expression, but doesn't allow discrimination in cases where there is no real expression, or no meaningful participation in a religious activity.
What sort of cake are we talking about? Is Mr. Baker being asked to make a gay cake?

"They" wanted a wedding cake with their names on it.

The cake is just an object.

I had another thread of logic, which I forgot.

Something along the lines of, "He's being asked to produce a cake from his pre-determined selection, and write two names on it. How does who is going to consume it have anything to do with his religion?"

There was more to it than that....Damned America's Got Talent distracted me.
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Old 27th June 2017, 06:52 PM   #20
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Here's my whole issue with this.

In most cases (insert unnecessary acknowledging of the multitude of nested legal exceptions to prevent pedantics and nitpicking here) most businesses in the States retain the right to refuse service for any reason, as in it is perfectly legal in most scenarios for Ted to walk into Bob's Cake and Tackle Shop for a nice slice of pineapple upside down cake and a box of George Anderson's Clear Butt Trout Leaders, as we are all want to do from time to time, and Bob is legally speaking 100% in his right to refuse Ted service without giving a reason.

So given that what would happen, legally speaking, if our homophobic bakers just denied the service but never brought up sexuality or religion or anything else so the Protected Class concept couldn't be invoked? Even if we knew what they were doing if they didn't come out and implicitly say so how on a purely legal level are we going to do anything about it?

I'm... iffy on how exactly we as a society are supposed to walk a legal line where it is okay to refuse service for no reason but not okay to refuse service for a bad reason? It is sort weird that it seems a lot of people think it would be perfectly okay if Bill was forced to bake a cake for Ted because he was gay (in the business sense of he couldn't deny the product/service to Ted based on that) but Bill could refuse to bake a cake for me because he doesn't like my haircut or the brand of car I drive or just because he didn't want to for literally no reason.

I mean functionally this isn't an issue because oddly bigots and homophobes tend to be either too stupid to try and at least be subtle about what they are doing (which let's be honest here would honestly make this whole thing a metric butt ton harder to pin down if they ever actually figure that fact out) or oddly and loudly proud of their own hatred so this doesn't come up as much as I would think it would.
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Old 27th June 2017, 07:06 PM   #21
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If the Supremes enshrine a religious exemption, I can't wait for the first Muslim baker to refuse to make a cake with a cross on it. Or better yet, a picture of Jesus.
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Old 27th June 2017, 07:08 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by C_Felix View Post
What sort of cake are we talking about? Is Mr. Baker being asked to make a gay cake?

"They" wanted a wedding cake with their names on it.

The cake is just an object.

I had another thread of logic, which I forgot.

Something along the lines of, "He's being asked to produce a cake from his pre-determined selection, and write two names on it. How does who is going to consume it have anything to do with his religion?"

There was more to it than that....Damned America's Got Talent distracted me.
That is part of what the court may decide. Is the act of personalizing a cake in a pre-determined manner actually an act of expression? The impression I got from earlier reading is that this particular baker did truly custom, unique, cakes, that required him to sit down with the client, discuss what they wanted, come up with a design, get it approved, and produce it. That, surely, is an artistic creation, which is expression. If, however, all that the "artist" did was fill in a blank with "Adam and Steve", and fill in frosting in a predefined manner, they might decide that there was no expression involved.

I also say "may decide", because they might express a general opinion that expression is protected, and may not be restricted by civil rights laws, and speak in some very general terms about what is and is not expression, and then send the case back to the lower court to decide whether this specific case meets the definition.

I'm pretty confident that they will not declare that the mere act of selling constitutes protected expression. I'm pretty confident that they will not declare that the mere act of being present at a celebration is either an expression or participation in a ritual. (i.e a venue that feeds people couldn't refuse a gay wedding reception, but they might be able to refuse to design custom table settings that are special for the wedded couple.) On the other hand, I think they will rule that a custom piece of work, whether a cake, a musical performance, a flower arrangement, or a staged photograph are all forms of expression, and they cannot be compelled as part of a condition for being in business. We shall see, but that's what I expect.

The other aspect related to this case that the right wing is very uptight about is that whole aspect of treating churches and clergy as businesses for purposes of anti-discrimination laws. However, that isn't at issue in this case, so the court will not rule on that. Their ruling in this case may have some implication for the other sort of case, but they won't rule directly.
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Old 27th June 2017, 07:14 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
If the Supremes enshrine a religious exemption, I can't wait for the first Muslim baker to refuse to make a cake with a cross on it. Or better yet, a picture of Jesus.
I don't have any problem with this at all.
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Old 27th June 2017, 07:17 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I don't have any problem with this at all.
To be honest, I can't imagine anyone who would.

On the other hand, if the baker loses the case, I can just imagine militant Christians seeking out Muslim cake bakers and demanding that they produce a cake with a picture of Mohammed on it.
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Old 27th June 2017, 08:04 PM   #25
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Interesting case. I’m a bit surprised that the Alliance Defending Freedom chose this case to take to the Supreme Court because it has a fairly large weak spot.

What would make a challenging case would be a baker refusing to make a cake with a specific theme celebrating gay marriage or homosexuality. That’s kind of what happened here, but not quite. The baker regularly refuses to make cakes with themes of Halloween, racism, pornography, atheism, or anti-Americanism. The Colorado court has ruled that secular bakeries could refuse to make cakes with an anti-gay-marriage theme. Of course none of those themes are associated with a class protected from discrimination (well, maybe atheism).

The First Amendment protects people from being compelled to express a message for another party. On the flip side, the law (in this case the Colorado constitution, and presumably the U.S. constitution) requires that businesses provide equal accommodation without discrimination based on a protected status such as race, religion, or sexual orientation. A case where someone refuses to create something with a gay theme would challenge the court to weigh whether or not accommodation outweighs protection of speech.

The weak spot in this case is that the baker refused to make the cake when he was told it was for a gay wedding, which was before there was any discussion about what sort of cake they wanted. For all he knew it might have been a basic white cake with over-sized blue roses, or a mermaid theme, or anything else that was not specifically related to homosexuality or gay marriage.

It is going to be very difficult to make a compelling argument that the refusal was due to a First Amendment protection of expression when the baker had no idea what message the cake might be expressing. The arguments presented in the Colorado appeal that wedding cakes are inherently expressive of approval of same-sex marriage were rather weak (including an argument that same-sex marriage is not necessarily homosexual or bisexual based on two men who got married due to a radio show contest).

If the court finds in favor of the baker it would likely extend protection from speech to protection from the possibility of speech. This would raise the specter of people refusing to provide customized services to protected classes based solely on the possibility that they might ask for some expression that the person does not wish to express. I hope the court does not tread down that path.
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Old 27th June 2017, 08:25 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by C_Felix View Post
The baker from Colorado offered to sell the couple a pre-made cake from his collection, not just make one specifically for them.

I wonder, who made the pre-made cake from his cooler/collection. If he made it, isn't that slightly hypocritical?
No
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Old 27th June 2017, 08:55 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by C_Felix View Post
The baker from Colorado offered to sell the couple a pre-made cake from his collection, not just make one specifically for them.

I wonder, who made the pre-made cake from his cooler/collection. If he made it, isn't that slightly hypocritical?
I have only read the Colorado Appeals Court ruling and the petition for a writ of certiorari, but I did not find anything in there about offering a pre-made wedding cake. It said he would sell them a birthday cake or any other baked goods or type of cake, but not a wedding cake. It appears the wedding cakes he makes are only custom wedding cakes.

That is the really big problem with this case. If someone had asked for a custom cake, perhaps shaped like a church, and never mentioned that it was for a same-sex marriage, the baker surely would have agreed to make the cake. If the baker was then told that it was for a same-sex marriage and he refused to make the cake, is his refusal then based on his freedom of expression or based on discrimination of homosexuals?

Because the baker refused to sell them any wedding cake, without even knowing what type of cake they wanted, he and his lawyers were reduced to arguing that any cake for a same-sex marriage would be expressive of something against his beliefs. The Supreme Court has previously ruled on cases of protection of freedom of speech that although any conduct could be described as having some personal expression, protection only applies if there is sufficient expression involved in the conduct. Because the baker refused to sell any wedding cake (without knowing what the cake would be) the Colorado court found that simply making a wedding cake is not in and of itself sufficiency expressive to warrant first amendment protection, and certainly not when it involves refusal of accommodations to a protected class.
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Old 28th June 2017, 03:12 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
An ordained minister in Couer d'Allene Idaho who ran a "wedding chapel" was informed he was in violation of antidiscrimination laws when he refused to perform a same sex marriage. (He was willing to let them use the facility, just not perform the service himself.)

A church in Grove City, New Jersey lost a tax credit when they refused to rent a building for a same sex commitment ceremony.
That wasn't a building it was open property, and they just changed the form of tax exempt status they had on it.

Quote:
In all of those cases, some sort of legal machinations were made, and the final resolution wasn't all that bad, but any of those legal actions would have been unthinkable 20 years ago. What is going on in America now is that there are a group of activists trying to push the envelope as far as they can, and a group of conservatives trying to hold the line or push it back to where they think it ought to be. Everyone knows that each new exchange in the legal battles is an opportunity to move an agenda forward, or backward, depending on your perspective.
It is as bad as having interracial couples there. Everyone needs to be free to take a stand against that miscegenation.
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Old 28th June 2017, 03:15 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
To be honest, I can't imagine anyone who would.

On the other hand, if the baker loses the case, I can just imagine militant Christians seeking out Muslim cake bakers and demanding that they produce a cake with a picture of Mohammed on it.
Or a cake for a second marriage. That is right out.

And everyone knows it is great to dox fags. That is something that all christians can get behind.
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Old 28th June 2017, 04:25 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by DevilsAdvocate View Post
I have only read the Colorado Appeals Court ruling and the petition for a writ of certiorari, but I did not find anything in there about offering a pre-made wedding cake. It said he would sell them a birthday cake or any other baked goods or type of cake, but not a wedding cake. It appears the wedding cakes he makes are only custom wedding cakes.

That is the really big problem with this case. If someone had asked for a custom cake, perhaps shaped like a church, and never mentioned that it was for a same-sex marriage, the baker surely would have agreed to make the cake. If the baker was then told that it was for a same-sex marriage and he refused to make the cake, is his refusal then based on his freedom of expression or based on discrimination of homosexuals?

Because the baker refused to sell them any wedding cake, without even knowing what type of cake they wanted, he and his lawyers were reduced to arguing that any cake for a same-sex marriage would be expressive of something against his beliefs. The Supreme Court has previously ruled on cases of protection of freedom of speech that although any conduct could be described as having some personal expression, protection only applies if there is sufficient expression involved in the conduct. Because the baker refused to sell any wedding cake (without knowing what the cake would be) the Colorado court found that simply making a wedding cake is not in and of itself sufficiency expressive to warrant first amendment protection, and certainly not when it involves refusal of accommodations to a protected class.
Isn't the design process itself an act of speech? He knows they want a wedding cake, and it's for a same sex wedding. Is he compelled to sit with them and discuss details to determine whether or not there is something inherently supportive of same sex wedding in the particular cake that they come up with? If the cake itself looks like a wedding cake, but would be completely suitable for an opposite sex wedding, would it be said that the expression inherent in the cake is obviously acceptable to the baker? Is the context of the expression actually part of the expression itself?

For something slightly analogous, a band is asked to play a song. They refuse, citing freedom of speech. Their music is an act of expression and they do not wish to express support for an activity by playing that song. Someone counters and says they are willing to play the song in a different context, so clearly the song itself has no expressive content to which they object. In the context of this case, this might apply to a band being asked to play "The Wedding Song" for a same sex wedding, but when I started writing the paragraph, the song I had in mind was actually "Hail to the Chief". They might be perfectly willing to play the song for one occasion, but not for another.

One of the difficulties of this case will be trying to come up with a ruling that is comprehensible. If there's too much legal hair splitting, it ends up being a bad ruling. Will they address, in this ruling, the weighty issue of whether a cake can be considered a wedding cake if there is no overt symbol of weddings, or verbal reference to marriage spelled out in frosting?
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Old 28th June 2017, 04:44 AM   #31
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If someone can pony up an actual definition of art, then that would help.

I get the feeling that any definition that encompasses baking would be wide enough to encompass any job.
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Old 28th June 2017, 06:36 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
If the Supremes enshrine a religious exemption, I can't wait for the first Muslim baker to refuse to make a cake with a cross on it. Or better yet, a picture of Jesus.
This is why I wish I had Bill Gates's money.

When Indiana passed their "Protecting Religious Beliefs" law or whatever, if I had the money to burn, I'd set up a shop in Indiana and then refuse service based on my religious beliefs. (All of a sudden, I'd be a strict Old Testament kinda guy.)

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Old 28th June 2017, 08:05 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
An ordained minister in Couer d'Allene Idaho who ran a "wedding chapel" was informed he was in violation of antidiscrimination laws when he refused to perform a same sex marriage. (He was willing to let them use the facility, just not perform the service himself.)
According to Snopes, the Knapps' chapel was registered both as a religious institution and a for-profit. When the law was passed, they immediately hired the liars of the ADF who made a lot of noise that they were threatened to go to jail - according to a city spokesman, at most a misdemeanor charge. The end result was that the law was changed and allowed religious for-profits also to discriminate.

Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
A church in Grove City, New Jersey lost a tax credit when they refused to rent a building for a same sex commitment ceremony.
Ocean Grove, not Grove City. According to ThinkProgress:
Quote:
The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association is a religious organization, and it does own the pavilion in question. But at the core of Judge Solomon Metzer’s decision is the fact that the pavilion’s tax-exempt status was not protected under a religious provision. In 1989, Ocean Grove applied for a Green Acres real-estate tax exemption, a New Jersey property subsidy for conservation or recreational purposes. One of the requirements to qualify for the exemption is that the property be “open for public use on an equal basis.” Thus, when Ocean Grove refused to allow a same-sex couple to utilize its pavilion, it was violating its agreement with the state of New Jersey:
So they rightly lost their tax-exempt status because they violated the provisions.

Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
A church in Massachusetts was informed that because they ran occasional spaghetti dinners that were open to non-parishoners and a fee was charged, they were therefore a provider of "public accommodation" and subject to all anti-discrimination laws. (Don't know all the details, but somehow transgender bathrooms came into the picture.)
According to the Boston Globe, they also hired the ADF, and the stance of the government was:
Quote:
The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination recently issued guidance on how to comply with the law and found that “even a church could be seen as a place of public accommodation if it holds a secular event, such as a spaghetti supper, that is open to the general public.”
Frankly, I think you're scratching the bottom of the barrel if you cite religious beliefs for not letting someone pee where they feel comfortable.

(and what is this with spaghetti dinners/suppers?)

Originally Posted by Meadmaker View Post
In all of those cases, some sort of legal machinations were made, and the final resolution wasn't all that bad, but any of those legal actions would have been unthinkable 20 years ago. What is going on in America now is that there are a group of activists trying to push the envelope as far as they can, and a group of conservatives trying to hold the line or push it back to where they think it ought to be. Everyone knows that each new exchange in the legal battles is an opportunity to move an agenda forward, or backward, depending on your perspective.
I see primarily a whole load of Christian martyr complex. I'm confident the first case could have been resolved with a lot less brouhaha and with hiring reasonable lawyers instead of the ADF.

All of this overlooks that the US states still eagerly aids and abets discrimination when it comes to marriages. Each time an officiant signs a marriage certificate, they're an agent of the state. When that officiant is a pastor who refuses to do same-sex marriages, the state discriminates. All those officiants should be stripped of their licence. That should be the end game of gay marriage being legal.
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Old 28th June 2017, 10:38 AM   #34
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The problem I have is that all these "religious freedom" cases are basically about ONE religious belief set - a belief that marriage should be between one man and one woman, or that sex is reserved for married people (as recognized by God). What about the person who sincerely believes that races should not intermarry? That was also defended with the bible. Or other beliefs that would lead to discrimination of one sort or another? Why is your "religious" belief set more worthy than my atheist belief set? I don't see how it can be constitutional to hold up such a narrow belief set as exempt from the rules that apply to everything else.

I'm sure Gorsuch, et al, will provide a feeble answer. Hang in there Justice Kennedy!
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Old 28th June 2017, 11:22 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by sylvan8798 View Post
The problem I have is that all these "religious freedom" cases are basically about ONE religious belief set - a belief that marriage should be between one man and one woman, or that sex is reserved for married people (as recognized by God). What about the person who sincerely believes that races should not intermarry? That was also defended with the bible. Or other beliefs that would lead to discrimination of one sort or another? Why is your "religious" belief set more worthy than my atheist belief set? I don't see how it can be constitutional to hold up such a narrow belief set as exempt from the rules that apply to everything else.

I'm sure Gorsuch, et al, will provide a feeble answer. Hang in there Justice Kennedy!
A problem solved by recognizing all exchange is voluntary and to not compel any party to engage with another.
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Old 28th June 2017, 11:28 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by BobTheCoward View Post
A problem solved by recognizing all exchange is voluntary and to not compel any party to engage with another.
Creating the problem of access to water and all its variations.
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Old 28th June 2017, 11:32 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by Hlafordlaes View Post
Creating the problem of access to water and all its variations.
Not a problem a government should be concerned with.
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Old 28th June 2017, 11:37 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by BobTheCoward View Post
A problem solved by recognizing all exchange is voluntary and to not compel any party to engage with another.
That was tried, people didn't like what the outcomes were so changed it.
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Old 28th June 2017, 11:42 AM   #39
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If someone goes into business as a portrait painter, can they refuse to paint black people? I'm thinking non-discrimination trumps artistic license, else a Subway employee can claim they're a "sandwich artist".
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Old 28th June 2017, 11:42 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by BobTheCoward View Post
Not a problem a government should be concerned with.
Your opinion, and not one that is shared by a lot of other people. Governments arose as an effective solution to some of the many problems people experienced living as social species. There is no indication that human behavioural traits have changed significantly in the last 10 thousand years or so, therefore the same problems would arise again if we lost our current systems of governance.

You propose a solution that has repeatedly failed through all recorded history, empirical evidence is against your wants.
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