Should businesses be able to refuse service on religious grounds? | The Tylt
The Supreme Court is taking up a case where a Colorado baker refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, simply because he feels his religious beliefs prevented him from doing so. The baker, Jack Phillips, says making a wedding cake for a gay couple would promote gay marriage and therefore contradict his religious beliefs. David Mullins and Charlie Craig, the couple refused service, says Phillips is violating their civil rights. Everyone must be treated equally. What do you think? 🎂
Should businesses be able to refuse service on religious grounds?
Conservatives say people should not be compelled to act against their beliefs. As the baker saw it, creating a wedding cake for the gay couple means tacitly approving of gay marriage—his talents, which he sees as God-given, are being used to create a special celebratory cake originally meant to celebrate the union of husband and wife. It comes down to the First Amendment; the baker sees his cakes as a form of self-expression and he's entitled to practice his religion without government interference.
A private business should be able to run their business in accordance with their faith. This was upheld by the Supreme Court in "Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.," where the court found in favor of Hobby Lobby, saying the company has the right to exempt itself from providing birth control to its employees because of the company owner's religious beliefs. The court found the government cannot compel Hobby Lobby to provide birth control to its employees because it would violate the employer's religious beliefs.
In a similar vein, business owners should not be forced to participate in something that violates their religious beliefs. This isn't discrimination—it's religious freedom.
Others say this is obviously discrimination. You're free to believe whatever you want. You're not free to refuse service to someone because of who they are. In this case, the baker is refusing service to the gay couple because of who they are. They are engaging in a gay marriage ceremony because they are gay men who want to get married. It's fundamentally about who they are as people. This is discrimination, plain and simple.
In response, the couple’s lawyer wrote that “it is no answer to say that Mullins and Craig could shop somewhere else for their wedding cake, just as it was no answer in 1966 to say that African-American customers could eat at another restaurant.”
Here's what ACLU lawyer James Esseks thinks about it:
“If businesses get to say, ‘We’re not going to serve you or you or you, because my religion tells me I shouldn’t,’ that undermines every non-discrimination law we have in the country. It’s not limited to gays or weddings or bakeries or florists. It allows any business to turn people away based on the business owner’s religious beliefs. This is not a small accommodation for religion. This is a serious body blow for civil rights across the country.”
Here's what a national survey from Rasmussen Reports found:
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 57% of Likely U.S. Voters believe it should be legal for a baker to refuse for religious reasons to make a wedding cake for a gay couple. Only 29% think the baker should be prosecuted for discrimination instead. Fourteen percent (14%) are undecided.