Have you heard about the gay cake? Basically, as I understand it, a gay couple wanted a bakery to make them a wedding cake, and there was to be something pertaining to the nature of the marriage to be written on the cake, and the bakery declined on the grounds of religious reasons. The case went to court and the bakery was found to be in the wrong.
I feel pretty troubled by this.
I do think anyone should be able to request a cake, or anything is made for them, but that the baker or whoever has the right to choose if they want to take the order or not.
We should all have a conscience, and that can have a religious, a moral, a legal, or whatever underpinning. There have been times when people have asked things of me and I have been uncomfortable about their request; sometimes things have been bordering on illegal, like helping people copy DVDs or installing dodgy versions of Windows, or make out a fault is more severe to an insurance company so that they can get a new laptop. These are more easy to decline, but other times I have just been put in a predicament, like been asked to not disclose the real reason for expensive computer repair to someone’s partner, other times it has been not been so easy to put my finger on the reason to decline, but I have just felt something bad regarding the person.
When a service is requested it is both parties that have the right to choose to proceed, just because I advertise myself as a baker, or computer fixer, or a window cleaner, the customer has the right to choose who does the work for them, and whoever they approach has the right to agree or to decline. The only loophole may be if I advertise to bake anyone a cake of their choosing or fix anyone and everyone’s computer (which might include past clients who weren’t the easiest to deal with), but perhaps my underlying right to choose overrides this, I don’t know.
If only more people had a moral conscience at work then perhaps the world might be a better place, but it’s not always a moral predicament.
Now if I was strongly opposed to gay couples getting married, or even gay couples in general, and such a couple requested my services, if I didn’t feel comfortable working with them, then surely I have the right to decline, even if “shame on me for being this way inclined”; I can’t be forced to do something I don’t want. But what the court seems to be saying is that I can’t decline ‘on those grounds’, in other words I would either have to not say why, or lie, which may well leave me in a predicament if I’m a deeply honest and/or religious person; I might even be trying to be nice about it. To be told I have to bake someone a cake when I really don’t want to seems preposterous, I’m not a child, and if I felt I had to when I really didn’t want to, then surely the end result wouldn’t be my best work.
Should bakers (or any other business) just shut up shop if there are particular groups/types of customers that may approach them that they really don’t want to provide their services to, when “legally” they can’t decline?
Here’s a further article on the subject: www.theguardian.com/…/gay-cake-row…bakery-freedom-of-conscience-religion