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06/04/2014

Jack Phillips is happy with his wedding cake–less biz? Great. Fine. Whatever.

by Jeremy Hooper

While most of the business owners who the far-right holds up as supposed "victims" of same-sex marriage (or just LGBT equality, more accurately, since most of the situations arise in states without marriage equality) claim that their business has been all but ruined because of the damn gays and our belief that nondiscrimination ordinances actually apply to us as well (shocking, I know), I've noticed one curious difference when it comes to Colorado baker Jack Phillips, who the Colorado Human Rights Commission has determined was wrong for trying to turn away a gay couple. Phillips is running around telling anyone who will listen that he is doing just fine, thank you very much. Family Research Council sums it up this way:

Rather than participate in a ceremony that goes against the Bible's teachings, Jack is abandoning cake making altogether. "We would close down the bakery before we would compromise our beliefs." And while homosexual activists might cheer about taking a bite out of his business, the Phillipses say they've made more than enough money from supporters to compensate for the loss. The bakery, Jack says, has been so overwhelmed by likeminded people buying his other sweets that he doesn't need to make cakes. [FRC]

Which is fine. Good for him. If he has made the lifestyle choice to exalt his dislike for certain kinds of love above the passion and commerce I'd presume was attached to his wedding cake cushiness, then he has every right to do that. As lScreen Shot 2014-06-04 At 2.27.46 Pmong as he serves the public equally in his other areas of business, then Mr. Phillips can, in fact, stop making wedding cakes altogether so that he'll never have to make one for a—shudder—gay couple.

And while FRC and others seem to think this idea of continued business is some sort of gloat that sticks it to people like me, this is actually a point that I welcome. It fully repudiates the talking point you'll often hear on the other side where someone will wonder, disingenuously, whether this means an Orthodox Jewish deli will be forced to make pork sandwiches. The obvious answer is no because that deli WOULDN'T EVER OFFER THE SANDWICHES IN THE FIRST PLACE. If they did offer the sandwiches, for whatever reason, then they would have to offer them equally. And the same goes for wedding cakes: if Mr. Phillips is going to offer them, then he has to offer them equally—otherwise he has to stop selling them altogether.

If Mr. Phillips wants to place his bets on a continued uptick in business from those who desire both a birthday cake and a world that forcibly excludes and/or diminishes a population of people and our accommodations, then he's actually not going to get much complaint from me. I wouldn't buy a cake from him, and I would certain dissuade people who honor my family from doing so. But some might. Some will. But let's be clear: Those of us who pushed for fair business practice still win here. The principle is the same, regardless of how Mr. Phillips personally chooses to comply.

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