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Gay cake issue has line back to the Civil Rights movement

January 13, 2014 - Paul Giannamore
The row over the gay couple seeking, and receiving, a court order against a Colorado baker who refused to bake them a wedding cake strikes a couple chords.

One: The religious chord. If we are of the bent that finds homosexual relationships to be against religious beliefs, then we can make the argument that the government shouldn’t impinge upon those beliefs by ordering the baker to make the cake.

Two: If we are thinking about people as people, then it’s a case of a business discriminating as surely as if it was saying it wouldn’t bake a black couple or an Asian couple or a couple in wheelchairs a cake. And, by the way, the nation’s civil rights laws do include provisions to prevent discrimination against one because of their sexual orientation.

Had this been about a church hall refusing to rent to the gay couple for their reception, the religious persecution alarm would have gone off in my head very loudly. No court should tell the church who can use its hall. That’s not what this was.

It wasn’t all that long ago that right here in Steubenville there were pioneering people who had to take a stand and go sit at the lunch counter in downtown restaurants to establish the right that blacks and whites could dine together without harm befalling anyone.

It wasn’t all that long ago that people with physical handicaps were walled off in their houses and treated separately, and certainly not socially equally, from the rest of us.

When I was managing the gym the last year or so on my mental health break, for which you also cannot discriminate, from writing about what I think, I don’t remember ever being allowed to ask about sexual orientation of a customer, or remotely caring to ask. Come one, come all, it’s your club. You paid your dues. Use the equipment like anyone else.

Should the wedding photographer be allowed to turn down business because the groom or bride has a hideous permanent scar on their forehead?

Where does the line get drawn?

I am among those who find the constant in-your-face bickering over gay rights distasteful, and who is sick of every TV show needing at least one gay character to pass muster. But I don’t think a sense of justice is necessarily shaped by pop culture — I can turn off the TV or change the channel. I can’t stop thinking about where this case fits in the national scheme of things. I think people are much more than their skin color or sexual orientation, gender or handicap or national origin or religion, to paraphrase the protected classes under the non-discrimination statues of the land.

Did this need a court order? Probably not, because there are other bakers and the couple reportedly did find another place to get their cake. The baker who refused gets penalized by not making a buck. That is about the only problem I have with this tale, and it gets back to the in-your-face nature of the movement. Businesses certainly may pass on money in the pocket.

But saying that it’s because of who is doing the asking isn’t quite right.

To me, it keeps drawing me back to the lunch counters. To Rosa Parks just wanting to get off her tired feet on the bus. To the guy in the wheelchair who can drive his van to the store and go shopping, where had this been the 1960s, he might have been institutionalized in a world without ramps and accommodations.


Article Comments



Jan-22-14 6:22 AM

and BTW, here are a few Traditional christian values, courtesy of the bible:

"But if what he has said is true, and she is seen to be not a virgin, Then they are to make the girl come to the door of her father's house and she will be stoned to death by the men of the town, because she has done evil and put shame on Israel, by acting as a loose woman in her father's house: so you are to put away evil from among you." (Deuteronomy 22: 20-21)

“If a man sees a young virgin, who has not given her word to be married to anyone, and he takes her by force and has connection with her, and discovery is made of it; Then the man will have to give the virgin's father fifty shekels of silver and make her his wife, because he has put shame on her; he may never put her away all his life.” (Deuteronomy 22: 28-29).

"Now David's two wives had been taken captive, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite." 1 Samuel 30:5

I thought you said marriage is betw


Jan-22-14 6:03 AM

and based on your logic that two men can't conceive together, I guess a woman that can't conceive because of a genetic disorder chose that lifestyle too. Or a sterile man made a conscious choice to be sterile? And if we are going to quote the bible and use it to ostracize the "sinners", why do we stop with gays, how about we kill all the children that talk back to their parents, it says so in the bible, what about stoning adulterers to death in front a crowd, that's also in the bible. What about condemning those who wear a shirt made out of more than one type of fabric, also in the bible. It's a great book, keep reading it and using it to justify your bigoted and archaic way of thinking, I will keep coming back for the laughs.


Jan-22-14 5:55 AM

RPG0340. Let's clear one thing up real quick. I didn't basically call you a bigot. I flat out said it. Because you are. You are choosing to believe an ancient fairy tale called the bible, and use those beliefs to denigrate a class of people because some ignorant old person in the bible said so. The fact that you equate gun ownership with being homosexual is laughable and makes me wonder I even debate with people on this website. The truth of the matter is you can't have a rational debate with the irrational. Being gay is not a choice, scientists have spoken to that for many years. Eventually, they will prove it, but I'm sure you still won't believe it because it goes against the teachings of your precious book. You know what else the bible says is a sin, eating shellfish, should we close down all the red lobsters in the name of god? No of course not, that would be silly.


Jan-19-14 10:31 AM

Business owners have the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason they see fit. I am a christian but I wouldn't refuse service to gay people however I would make it a point to preach God's word. There is no point in mixing words, it is a sin to be gay. In order to be forgiven for one's sin you have to truly be sorry in your heart. If not you will not inherit the kingdom of God. That's just the way it is. I would never discriminate against anyone or mistreat anyone but as a practicing Christian I refuse to set my faith on the side for someone else. This is America we all have certain rights but I do not think the way some of the more vocal gays try to push their agenda. As with Phil from Duck Dynasty, he was simply repeating he beliefs and has the right to do so. The bible is very clear on homosexuality, there is no interpretation needed. We have freedom of religion so since when is quoting the bible hate speech?


Jan-18-14 10:08 PM

"Those people" was not intended to be derogatory, just a way to identify the group being discussed.


Jan-18-14 10:02 PM

So what are you supposed to do? Gays want to be different yet they want to be considered the same and at the same time say they are different but want to be just like everyone else. My point is that they are troublemakers they are satisfied only by arguments. You say that my argument does not hold water because a "no CCW" sign only discriminates against a behavior. To that I say what the heck do you think homosexual relations are? They are a behavior! If they wanted a wedding cake, find a partner of the opposite sex, plan a wedding, and get your cake just like everyone else! If anything, you just validated my argument.

Jan-18-14 5:28 PM

Whenever hear the term "these people" a red flag immediately goes up. Can you lump all redheads or all people from Alabama together? You CCW comment misses the mark all together. The law says a business can say you can't openly carry in the store, but it doesn't say that anyone with a permit is not allowed. Just like the law says if you can smoke in a business or not. It doesn't discriminate again people, only behavior. You seem to be an expert on how gays are and what they want and what they do. If you had the same expertise with legal matters, you'd realize your arguments don't hold water.


Jan-18-14 1:06 PM

Another way I know these people are troublemakers is by the way that they act. I go to the gym every day. There is a young gay man that works out there. I witnessed this man go into the women's restroom one day. Now, any man, regardless of sexual preference, should have better manners than to go into a women's restroom (unless in a dire emergency). I know for sure that had my wife been changing in that room, he'd have gotten yelled at and probably punched. So I ask you, why would a man enter the women's restroom unless they were looking to do something bad or looking for trouble?


Jan-18-14 12:58 PM

Such is the case with "gay marriage." If they'd just call such an arrangement "civil unions" and give them all the rights of a married couple, very few people would even raise an eyebrow. The problem is that those troublemakers will complain and whine until they are considered "married" just so they can take a shot at traditional values. Here is how I know. You don't see gays marching so that Mormons can marry multiple wives, or so that muslims can have multiple wives. Marriage is a union between one man and one woman, anything else is not a marriage. Call it something else and get on with your life.


Jan-18-14 12:53 PM

Actually, Mr.Rose a business CAN, I repeat, CAN!!! refuse to do business with a gun owner based upon their lifestyle choice. Ever see the "NO CCW" signs? This business did not discriminate against the couple. They simply refused to make a "same sex wedding" cake. If the couple had ordered a standard wedding cake, I'm certain that business would have made it. A church although not a business would not give or be required to give holy communion to a muslim. A country club does not have to accept anyone they do not want as a member. My point is that gays could care less about what is realistic, they want to cause trouble, until they are embedded in society deeper than an Alabama tick.

Jan-18-14 11:26 AM

Can a business refuse to do business with someone in a wheelchair because it's inconvenient? Can a business refuse to do business with a gun owner because they don't agree with that lifestyle choice? Maybe a business could refuse to provide a service to a Muslim? Or a Christian? Colorado and Ohio have anti-discrimination laws that include gays. Like it or not, its the law. If you choose to do business in within the boundaries of these states you have to abide by the law. Its simple.


Jan-18-14 9:44 AM

If anyone here is a bigot and unaccepting, it's you Arthurs17. How about respecting my right to disagree with that lifestyle? Did I say I hate gay people? No. Did you basically call me a bible thumping bigot? Yes.


Jan-18-14 9:41 AM

Also, gays are troublemakers. Why do they keep wanting a cake from a bakery that does not want to make it for them? Why not just go elsewhere? I'm certain someone else would make it. Nope, they'd just rather keep probing around to get attention and sympathy.


Jan-18-14 9:34 AM

Authors17, Can a man and a man produce an offspring? Nope! All people are born heterosexual, being gay is a choice. My problem with this issue is that the liberals are trying to mandate that I and others agree with it. Are you for gun control? Say for sake of argument you are. I own guns, how about respecting my rights to own one. I'm not saying I hate gays, I am saying that you cannot force me to like what they do. It is pretty simple. I'm also not a religious nut as you might claim. I'm just saying that you can believe what you want but do not expect people to fall in line behind you.


Jan-18-14 4:34 AM

First of all, being gay is not a choice. There are many studies that point to this. BTW, when did you choose to be heterosexual? You never did, you were born that way.

With that being said, how is the gay couple in this story stirring up trouble, as you so eloquently put it? By ordering a cake? Get real, once again you religious nuts prove how myopic and misguided you are. Your religion does not give you the right to discriminate. That's what this is, plain and simple, discrimination. You can try to justify it any way you want, but hating people based on who they are is bigotry. And you my friend are just another bigot hiding behind your bible.


Jan-17-14 3:29 PM

The law cannot make a Catholic doctor perform an abortion although abortion is legal.

The law cannot make a Catholic priest or the church marry a gay couple.

Likewise, although gay marriage may be considered legal under the law, I don't have to agree with it.

The problem is that gays want to make a ruckus, they want to stir up trouble.


Jan-17-14 3:25 PM

First and foremost, gays are not a race, they are people that have made a conscience lifestyle choice. It is the right of the business owner to bake a cake and decorate it or not. If the decoration is in conflict with the views of the baker, the baker is not bound by law to do anything.

Jan-17-14 9:55 AM

Thanks Mr. Giannamore. Well said.


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