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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-25-14 11:34 AM

Arthurs17, when will you understand that enforcing your views upon me and people like me is the problem. Gays can marry just like everyone else, they can find a partner of the opposite sex and marry. My problem is that of the one stated in the article. I will not be forced to accept a lie. Two men nor two women do not make a marriage. Call it something else and I could care less. As for the animals, YOU claimed that some animals could be gay. I simply stated that such behavior would violate the laws of nature, and it does. Do gay animals also engage in reproduction? Probably so, otherwise the "gay genes" would not be passed on, they'd die out. This destroys your whole argument that being gay is not a choice.


Jan-25-14 1:06 AM

This is last thing I'm going to say because we are just spinning our wheels here. I'm not asking you to believe what I believe. This is not a christian nation, we have people of all faiths and creeds in this great country. Would you want your life dictated by someone of another faith? I would guess not. What about someone of another creed? Probably not. Leave the gay people alone. They are not hurting you or anyone else. They don't want to married in your church, or your house. They just want to be married in the eyes of the law. Gay marriage is legal in many states now. Has this affected you in any significant, measurable way. It has not destroyed the sanctity of marriage as so many pundits have said it would. The sanctity of marriage is between the 2 people involved in that respective marriage. If 2 people that love each other and are married, but happen to be homosexual are causing havoc in your marriage, that's a you problem. Fix your marriage.


Jan-25-14 12:55 AM

again with the animals...I never once said that 2 animals of the same gender can procreate. Not once. Are you not understanding the english language now? I said gay activity by wild animals and domesticated animals alike has been observed and documented. Sometimes mating is for pleasure. Sometimes species have sexual relations because they just feel like it, not because they are trying to bear children. Of course 2 dudes can't have a biological child together, no one is trying to convey that idea. But if something is happening in nature without the persuasion or manipulation of humans, then it stands to reason that this particular activity does not go against the laws of nature. Because wild animals are nature.


Jan-25-14 12:44 AM

why do you care what they call it? how does it affect you? You are just trying to project your views onto other people. I don't give a flying **** what you believe about gay marriage, but I do care when you advocate that gay people shouldn't be allowed to have the same rights as their heterosexual counterparts. When did christians take ownership of the term or idea of marriage in this country? Some of the founders of this country may have been christian, but they were surely against the idea of a religious state. They would definitely have been against christianity dictating public policy.

And again, it is my opinion that your beliefs are idiotic and bigoted, I am entitled to that. If you are taking it personally, that's a problem you need to work out for yourself. I don't take anything you say personally, I don't know you, you don't know me. This is a forum for spirited debate, that's all it is.

Jan-24-14 10:15 PM

Speaking of dogs. I could take that guy in Colorado a little more seriously if he hadn't already made a cake for two dogs who were getting "married". Alas, he still has to follow the law.


Jan-24-14 12:05 PM

Arthurs17, one question for you. If a dog breeder acquires two male dogs, will they produce offspring?


Jan-24-14 12:01 PM

What part do you not understand that I don't care how many rights gays are granted, how they are legally united, as long as that title does not include being called "married." Why can the gays not be satisfied with being granted all the rights and perks of being legally united. Why do they keep nagging to be called married? They are troublemakers, nothing more. They are whiners that want the title of marriage just so they can take a shot at Christians, nothing more.


Jan-24-14 11:58 AM

Arhurs17, you are wrong again. I was questioning why my views (according to you) are "bigoted" and "hateful" meanwhile it was alright for you to negatively comment on and criticize my beliefs. That was the point of my understanding English comment. As for calling me an idiot, yes you did or were implying so along with calling me a bigot, and slamming me for what you think you know about what I believe.


Jan-24-14 9:52 AM

As I said, I'm not interested in arguing. I'm not talking about gay rights; I am talking about a private business exercising freedom of religion, and I was responding too the blog post only. You don't agree with me and that is your right. I don't particularly care one way or the other. Have a good day.


Jan-24-14 2:35 AM

and wanting to be treated with the same dignity and respect is causing controversy? I guess all those civil rights activists were all trouble makers. Rosa Parks must be such an instigator to you. The only controversy here is that religious people are using their faith to discriminate, and then trying to use that same faith to justify that discrimination. 21 states have anti-discrimination laws that include gay people, so this is in fact a civil rights issue. In california for example, a restaurant cannot refuse service to a person specifically because they are gay. In fact, colorado has this same law, so the bakery in question is legally prohibited from discriminating against gay people. So disobeying the law is ok, but asking for the law to be enforced is controversial?


Jan-24-14 2:17 AM

OK Irish...How can you possibly compare me asking for liquor in a halal restaurant to be this situation? Asking for alcohol is a choice, being gay is not. Again it's not about the cake, it's the principle involved. So if a white non-muslim went into a persian restaurant and he was told he would not be served because he is an infidel, you would be okay with that? That is this muslim's right to practice his religion, right? It's the same concept. Of course if I was not welcome at a persian restaurant, I would not want to go there, but I am a white male, not much discrimination against me, so no big deal. But still, is this ok? According to you, it sure is. Same situation with the bakery. And it is a civil rights issue. Would it be ok for a christian dr to not perform a necessary emergency surgery on an individual because he or she is gay? I know comparing a cake with medicine is a little far fetched, but I am exaggerating to drive home a point. it's a slippery slope.


Jan-24-14 1:48 AM

members are homosexual,i.e. human beings. Human beings have gays members and we continue to increase our population on this earth.

And why do gay people have to be married like christians? Why can't just have the right to be married? I'm a heterosexual married man and I wasn't married in a religious ceremony. I'm not saying churches need to marry gays, I'm saying they should have the right be considered married by the state and country they live in. My wife was raised catholic and since we didn't get married in a catholic church, we are technically not married in the eyes of the church. I'm ok with that, that's their prerogative, but I am married in the eyes of the law. Gays just want to same basic right to be legally married, not have any religion agree with it.

And don't begin to pretend to know what I don't have the balls to do.


Jan-24-14 1:34 AM

Tough guy now huh? So you think it is ok to say I can't read, but I can't call you an idiot? The fact is I never called you an idiot, I said your views on this particular subject are idiotic. And I believe they are. Shouldn't you respect my belief that I think your views are idiotic? No of course not. I don't expect you to respect them. We differ in opinion, it's really just that simple. I believe I am right, you believe you are right.

Your lesson on how there can't be gay animals is pedestrian at best. First of all, I'm not obsessed with "gay" animals. I'm using them as an example that there are wild creatures on this earth that have been observed in homosexual activity, hence debunking your idea that all animals are born straight. Are you saying that the video evidence that displays gay activity between animals is somehow doctored? Also, I never said all animals were born gay, I'm saying some are. A particular species can continue to flourish even if some of


Jan-23-14 12:24 PM

I'm not even a little bit interested in entering into the fray below; I wanted to comment on the blog post itself. It is patently absurd to equate a private Christian bakery's refusal to accommodate a homosexual union with the Civil Rights movement or the rights of the disabled. Would you go into a Halal restaurant and demand a Scotch and water, or a Kosher deli and demand a ham? I think not. But shouldn't you be able to insist? Are they not discriminating against you if they refuse to provide you what you asked for? That bakery is privately-owned and the owners are exercising their freedom of religion, period. If that couple truly just wanted a cake and not controversy, they would have gone elsewhere.


Jan-23-14 9:33 AM

Also, in response to your "gay animal" obsession, if there is a say a type of animal, for sake of argument let's name it a "bushytailcatdog." Say there are 4 remaining bushytailcatdogs known to exist. Say that 2 are male, 2 are female. If the 2 males are gay (like you claim can happen) the species will disappear. The main goal of any animal, or species of animal at it's most basic level is to ensure the survival of the species, it is instinctual to survive and reproduce. To go against this would be an example of mental illness, or disability. Therefore, the thought that animals are born gay violates the laws of nature.


Jan-23-14 9:26 AM

Oh my, someone does not understand the English language very well. Arthurs17, where did I promote discrimination against gays? Where did I "hide" behind my religion? I'm also not an idiot. I'm certain that you wouldn't have the balls to call me an idiot in person, so don't do it here. I'm respectful of you, be respectful of me. I do not expect anyone to accept my beliefs. However, I do expect people to be tolerant of my beliefs. So, don't call me a bigot, and in turn I won't call you a f*a*g*g*o*t. My point is quite simple really. Gay's don't want anything to do with Christians, they call us bigots, racists, etc. That being said, why do they want to be considered "married" just like us? What they want is to "rub our noses in it," nothing more.


Jan-23-14 12:45 AM

And the last thing I'm going to say is that I am not intolerant of any religious people. I just happen to not agree with theists or deists. I become intolerant when religious people hide behind religion when they are discriminating, beheading, raping, killing, beating, ostricizing, picketing at american soldiers' funerals, the name of some god and/or faith. Religion should be a personal set of beliefs. Keep them to yourself and/or your place of worship. Even if the bible said that marriage is between one and one woman, why should gays have to follow that? What if they don't believe in jesus or god? They should have to go by your archaic beliefs? Come on get real.


Jan-23-14 12:35 AM

i meant born straight


Jan-23-14 12:35 AM




Here is evidence that disproves your laws of nature argument. If there are gay animals occurring naturally, then the laws of nature you speak must be incorrect. Since your god didn't give animals free will, they must have been born gay because they couldn't have chosen it. So in a nutshell, if all animals are born gay, then how is it possible that these wild animals are gay?


Jan-23-14 12:23 AM

I don't have to be tolerant of idiocy. and your beliefs are idiotic. I am not being hateful, I am just pointing out that your faith and religion are based on a flawed and contradictory book. believe what you want, it doesn't really matter to me, but when your beliefs start to impact others negatively, that's where I have a problem. People tried to use religion to justify jim crow laws, were you ok with that? People also tried to use christianity to justify slavery, were you ok with that? Based on your posts, you probably were.

And about the law of nature thing. If all animals were put on this earth to procreate, then why are some humans born unable to bear children? Why is there significant evidence of gay animals in the wild? If there really is this infallible inerrant creator in the sky, he or she sure seems to not know what the*****they're doing.


Jan-22-14 4:11 PM

People don't just wake up one day and decide they are going to be gay. Be logical, why on earth would anyone chose to be ridiculed, shuned, shamed and treated like dirt. There are millons of gays that have fought and died for this country. But they have to hide their sexuality or be treated like dirt.


Jan-22-14 10:01 AM

Also Arthur, where is your proof that gays are born gay? Last I checked, according to nature two men cannot produce an offspring, neither can two women. Animals, including humans are supposed to reproduce. The thought that people are born pre-determined to be gay violates the laws of nature.


Jan-22-14 9:55 AM

How about you be tolerant and accepting of my beliefs? Why do you hold such a bigoted view of Christians? If anything, you just like your other pro-homo buddy here prove my point. People like me are not intolerant, you are intolerant of others? I don't hate gays, just don't think they should be considered "married." Do you think Mormons and muslims should be allowed to have multiple wives? Why should I be subjected to criticism for refusing to accept that which I do not believe? Why is being called "civilly united" bad? Why do gays want to nitpick until they are lumped in with the Christians that they hate so much? Why not accept that you are different, like you say you are?


Jan-22-14 9:46 AM


Your arguments are laughable. You are preaching this love, peace, tolerance out of the fake side of your mouth and outright hatred out of the other, more truthful side. How about YOU be tolerant and understanding of my beliefs? I believe marriage is between one man and one woman as my faith does. Saying that my faith is a lie, wrong, or whatever, is intolerance on my part. Did I say to kill gays? Nope! Did I say I hate them? Nope! Do I disagree with their lifestyle choice? Yes! I did say or convey that I do not care if they unite as long as that union is not called a marriage.


Jan-22-14 6:27 AM

and one woman. Not according to the bible.

People have the right to believe whatever they want as long as those beliefs don't negatively impact other people. You don't have the right to be ignorant towards other people and then hide behind religious freedom, especially when your religion is based on a book that espouses so much evil and contradiction. And also, gay people don't want to be like everyone else, they just want the same rights as everyone else. And slowly but surely, our great state will get with the program and god forbid, you may have to live in the same state where de jure bigotry against gays ceases to exist.


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