A court in Colorado has confirmed a ruling that a bakery cannot refuse service to a same-sex couple wanting to buy a wedding cake. In other words, the owner of the shop is not really the owner of the shop. He is forced to submit to others, regardless of his reasons.
It is sad that the ACLU was part of the lawsuit against the dessert shop. The ACLU has taken many principled stands in favor of civil liberties. Unfortunately, the organization does not generally take a stand for property rights. In this case, it took a stand against property rights.
The owner, Jack Phillips, is defending his decision on religious beliefs. But for me, this is not primarily a case of a violation of religious freedom. That may be his reason for not wanting to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple, but that is not the reason he should be able to make this decision. It should be based on the fact that he is supposed to be the owner.
Phillips has said that he would rather go to jail than sell a wedding cake to a gay couple. I’m not sure if this is a principled stand or if he is just a fool. Still, even if he is just a fool, it should be his right to be a fool. A lot of people do stupid things with their own property. But as long as they are not using force or threatening force on others, then it should be anyone’s right to be a fool with his own property.
Not only is defending property rights the only pro liberty position here, it is the only consistent position.
What if there is an owner of a bakery who happens to be black? One day, in walks a member of the KKK. He asks for a cake. Does the owner have the right to refuse to sell a cake to the Klan member? For all of the people who think a baker should be forced to sell a cake to a gay couple, they should also require a black baker to sell a cake to a KKK member, if they are to be consistent.
Of course, most people will be hypocritical and say that that situation is different. But it isn’t different in principle. It is just different because the bad guy in this case is the customer. In the world of political correctness, in the Colorado case, the baker is the villain.
So how is this “law” going to be applied then? Should we set up a panel to determine which customers are “good” and which customers are “bad”. Then the government panel can make a determination on whether the owner has to sell to that person.
Who should we put on this committee of determining character? What politicians would they recommend in determining good character? And what happens if they end up with a panel that makes the “wrong” decision?
If I were a bakery owner, I would likely bake a cake for a gay couple’s wedding if asked, even if there were no threats of fine and imprisonment. But that would be my decision, both personally and as a businessman.
You aren’t going to change people by threatening people with guns. And let’s face it, that’s exactly what this is. This baker is threatened with major fines and imprisonment. If he continues his business and refuses the court order, he will go to jail. If he refuses to go to jail, he will be shot.
So for all of the gay advocates out there, are you willing to pull the trigger? Are you willing to kill this guy if he continues his business and refuses to bake cakes for gay couples?
By the way, I don’t think most conservatives are on the right side here either. They may be on this particular case, but for the wrong reasons. This should be applied across the board, even if someone wants to refuse business for other horrible reasons. Nobody should be threatened to do business with anyone else, regardless of the reasons.
Ironically, using the force of government ends up just dividing people that much more. I think a lot more people who are seemingly intolerant of gay people would be far more tolerant if it weren’t for cases like this.
This case was not a case about religion. It was a case of political correctness vs. property rights. More directly, it was a case of voluntarism vs. violence. Unfortunately, violence won.