With gay marriage comes the need for gay-themed cakes. Simple, right? Sadly, no. First there were stories of bakers denying cakes on religious grounds in Denver, and now we have a similar story in Oregon. The bakers who are refusing to bake cakes for gay couples seem to be fighting an uphill battle, but should the government be in the business of telling companies who they must cater to?
ORTLAND, Ore. (CBS Seattle/AP) — An Oregon bakery stands by its decision to deny a cake for a same-sex wedding.
The owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa tell KATU-TV that their religious beliefs have not changed after Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries determined the Portland-area bakery violated the civil rights of a same-sex couple. Owner Aaron Klein says it almost seems as if the state is hostile toward Christian businesses.
“We still stand by what we believe from the beginning,” Klein told KATU-TV. …
Lewis & Clark law professor Jim Oleske says Oregon is one of 21 states that protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation.
“Based on cases in every other state that has confronted this so far, this business is likely to lose on its claim that it can be exempt from an anti-discrimination law,” Oleske told KATU.
If I owned a bakery and I had a competitor who didn’t like gay people, minorities, Muslims, Asians, white people — any group that has a population of cake eaters among its ranks — I would make a lot of cash. I would serve all of those groups tasty cakes like they’ve never tasted before and they would return to ‘Dough Ernst’s’ for all their confectionery needs. And then I would say: “God bless the free market!”
If my wife and I walked into a bakery and the owner said, “Sorry, we don’t serve interracial couples,” I’d say, “Awesome. Thanks, jerk.” I’d walk out the door, find another bakery, and then I’d spread the word that ‘Bakery X’ doesn’t take kindly to our willingness to “dilute” our races (or whatever it is that a bigot baker would say).
The free market punishes racism and bigotry, and if the cost of upsetting large swathes of the community is worth it for a company, in most instances they should be able to do that.
Exhibit A, the Bank of Italy:
In the early 1900s, Italian immigrants were denied loans because … they were Italian. A guy named Amadeo Giannini started the Bank of Italy in San Francisco. Without getting into the history of Bank of Italy, let’s just say that in 1930 the bank was renamed Bank of America. The point is, the Bank of Italy — and all the success that followed for Mr. Giannini — would not have unfolded the way it did if other bankers simply loaned money to Italian immigrants. Given a chance to work, the free market will punish bigotry.
Once the government gets its hands in an industry, however, it’s generally a recipe for disaster. Expect all sorts of strange and bizarre lawsuits in the years ahead as a result of the gay wedding cake conflicts. The end result will be a myriad of rules and regulations heaped upon an existing mountain of them.