SHOULD SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS BE FORCED TO DO BUSINESS WITH PEOPLE WHO THEY DON'T WANT TO DO BUSINESS? A judge has ruled in favor of a bakery owner who refused to make wedding cakes for a same-sex couple because it "violated her Christian beliefs." Should we do something about this?
From the New York Post: Judge sides with California baker over same-sex wedding cake
I've always viewed these types of cases in terms of compulsion. To what extent can the government compel someone to perform labor or provide a service?
The wedding cake is the perfect example due to (as Tom stated) the availability of alternative options for the consumer.
This is not, for example, PPE during a pandemic, where the government could reasonably evoke the "Defense Production Act" to ensure an adequate supply of masks or gloves.
While the government may establish workplace safety (e.g., OSHA) regulations, it is likely a step too far to force someone to perform a task. No matter how trivial the labor.
Should the government then be able to dictate the cost of the labor to produce said cake, or is that a matter better left to the market?
Is the Buyer then compelled to purchase the cake? What if the cake was topped with mud and sticks instead of icing?
If the government could force a bakery to make a cake for a gay couple, should they also be able to force Chick-Fila to stay open on Sundays?
If Chick-Fila wants to close on Sundays because the owner is a Christian whack-a-doo, fine. I'm sure I can procure a mediocre chicken sandwich, two rusty pickles, and some crinkle fires elsewhere.
This is discrimination
There is a huge difference between the example you provided and the wedding cake issue. You were turned away because of what you wanted done, it had nothing to do with who you are. Anyone who walked into that bakery would be told "we are not going to ice vulgarities on your birthday cake."
In the case of the wedding cake, they were turned away not because they wanted a wedding cake, but because they are gay. That I think is an important distinction that makes this an actual civil rights violation, and not just a particular business's policies.
I guessed right!
Long Time Listener I am, I knew you'd say this, and I basically agree (a. it's stupid to get married) and (b. why go to all of this trouble to prove a point against some a-hole baker). But, I do wonder where the line is to be drawn. If we were talking about some big multi-national corporation that was refusing services to gay people, would that be a hands-off situation too? I don't know, I guess context would determine. I also wonder if, for eg, the couple in question was a black or maybe black and white, and the baker refused to bake a cake for them - would that be different and why? could a baker say it's against their 'religion' to marry a person of another race? Probably not as likely as refusing services to gay couples, but, both same-sex and interracial marriages have been decided in Supreme Court cases, so I don't know if it would be different or not.