« Go back a post || Return to G-A-Y homepage || Haul tail to next post »


Stop. Lying. Tony. Perkins.

by Jeremy Hooper

When William Jack entered Azucar Bakery in March of 2014, he requested two Bible-shaped cakes with anti-gay messages—one involving a figure of two men with an "x" drawn over them, and another with condemnatory slogans like "god hates f*gs." Owner Marjorie Silva told Mr. Jack that she would gladly bake him blank Bible-shaped cakes, but she would not put the messages that he requested on said cakes.

Or as reliable bearer of false witness Tony Perkins puts it:

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 At 12.16.19 Pm-1
[FRC president]

And in his misrepresentation, Tony completely changes the circumstances. The reason Ms. Silva was allowed to decline the request is because no vendor has to print an ugly, defamatory, discriminatory, offensive message that goes above and beyond what they reasonably do for a business. You can't enter into a Starbucks and request that the barista write "F**K THE [insert minority group]!" with the caramel drizzle and then claim that you have a right for fulfillment because your requested message is driven by your religious faith. None of us has a right to demand a business create hostile items, items they do not sell, etc.

But none of the florist or photographer or bakery scenarios that the far-right so loves to tout fit within these parameters. In every situation, the gay couple at the heart of the story requested the very same product that the business purports to sell. The grooms requested the same flowers. The brides requested the same photography package. Several different couples have requested the same cake. Other couples still have requested the very same rooms and banquet halls that the proprietors made available to all interested wedding parties.

Had any of these couples made and above-and beyond request like the one Mr. Jack made, then that would actually be a more compelling story. For instance, I can see how a bakery might be free to deny a same-sex cake topper that they do not and don't care to sell. Or if a pair of honeymooners wanted innkeepers to rebrand the most luxurious suite as the "Sapphic Sex Suite," the innkeepers' denial would likely go forward without fault. But this is not what has happened in any of these cases. All of the cases that have made their way into the national news cycle have been situations where the gay couple makes the exact same request as any other straight couple. And because the request is the same yet the treatment is grossly different is precisely why the defendants have lost every time they've gone to court to fight for the license to discriminate to which they believe themselves entitled.

No, the Denver bakery *couldn't* have declined to make simple Bible cakes, at least if that request were pointedly because the bakery didn't believe in Christians (and not because they didn't have the pans or the skill set or something like that). And that protection for the Christian customer's faith is a good thing! Laws that support nondiscrimination in public accommodation are actually good for us all. Most of us had thought we'd reached consensus on that many years ago, only to have far-right operatives like Tony Perkins reopen this push for a free-for-all commercial playing field where just about any business can turn away just about any customer so long as the owner is feeling to prayerful at that hour.

space gay-comment gay-G-A-Y-post gay-email gay-writer-jeremy-hooper

Your thoughts

comments powered by Disqus

G-A-Y Comments Policy

Related Posts with Thumbnails