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02/05/2013

'We do cakes for all occasions' (*unless you purchase while gay)

by Jeremy Hooper

This is how Portland, Oregon's Sweet Cakes by Melissa advertises its services:

201302050917
[http://sweetcakesweb.com]

It's the kind of language that completely belies faux martyrdom situations like the following, which involves the very same bakery that prides itself on "any occasion" cakes:



The fact is, this is not about marriage. It's certainly not about the First Amendment (huh?!). It is about a business that serves the public and nondiscrimination ordinances that prevent said business from wantonly discriminating, whatever the reason for discrimination may be. The wedding cake is just the product; the business choice is the problem.

When a customer comes in the door, it is not standard practice to get all of the details regarding the customer's plans for the pastry. A woman might be purchasing a cake for her Devil worshiping service. A member of a religiously-based polygamous sect might be buying six cakes, one for each wife. And so on and so forth. It is not the business owner's right or duty to learn why, exactly, the customer is requesting the cake. The relationship is a contract between customer and baker, and the baker cannot simply discriminate against a customer because of his personal faith resistance to certain kinds of sexual orientations (or views on divorce, interracial marriage, etc.). And let's get real here: that's what this is. The marriage is simply the vehicle by which the sexual orientations were revealed. The issue, for the baker, is the fact that the customers are gay. That is not an acceptable reason for a shop owner to refuse service!

What this business owner really means is that he will bake for ANY OCCASION, so long as the occasion is hetero enough for his liking. That's what he means; that's what he needs to put in the text that I cited above. Doing so would allow him to both exercise his speech and crystallize the clear-cut discrimination that's at the heart of this frosted fiasco.

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