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#CakeGate: can you refuse service on the basis of faith?

The cake that Colorado baker Jack Phillips refused to bake was the kindling that lit a nation-wide discussion in the USA. Can a business deny service to an individual on the basis of their sexual orientation? As the Supreme Court came to a verdict in favour of the baker, the narrowness of the ruling still left the question unanswered. The baker was quickly followed by others who stood up in solidarity of his beliefs such as the Richland florist and the Kentucky county clerk. The resultant discussion has pitted religious freedom against the civil liberties of same-sex couples and LGBT individuals.

Yes, service can be refused on grounds of religion in all cases

Forcing an individual to provide a service against their will and religious beliefs is wrong

Religious freedom is uniquely important

Why would we make somebody provide a service they deem immoral and wrong? Explore

Baking a cake is a form of protected creative expression

The US's first amendment protects individual free speech Explore

Service can be refused on religious grounds, but not in all cases

The interests of the different groups involved ought to balanced differently on a case by case basis

Service can be refused when there is an alternative

If an individual feels they cannot render a service, there must be an alternative Explore

Some services warrant religious refusal

Not all services are as impersonal and transactional as cashing a cheque or paying for groceries, and that's important Explore

No, service cannot be refused on religious grounds

There is no case in which discrimination based on sexuality is acceptable

Exercise of religious freedom must not hurt others

Respecting the rights of the religious is important, but only insofar as those rights don't involve 3rd party harm. Explore

Would you refuse service to a mixed-race couple?

Why is it that sometimes we are willing to tolerate discrimination but in others find it unpalatable Explore

The law is the highest authority

In a secular society with non-discrimination laws, all citizens must abide by those laws Explore

Some kinds of service can be refused on grounds of religion but not all

Certain acts violate one's freedom of conscience so one shouldn't be forced to perform them, however, one shouldn't be able to refuse service to someone on basis of their innate characteristics.

Refusing to do something because it goes against one's morals is not the same as denying service to someone because of who they are

A baker for whom contributing to a same-sex wedding goes against their conscience should be able to refuse to refuse a cake that is explicitly a wedding/wedding-themed cake, but should not be able to refuse service to a person on basis of their sexual orientation - the baker should be able to politely refuse to bake a wedding cake but they still should sell any other cakes on offer to them. Similiarly, a doctor should be able to refuse to perform euthanasia or an abortion, but not to deny the patient any other medical procedure. It's one thing to refuse to bake a specifically gay wedding cake - another to refuse to sell the gay couple any other cake. Explore
This page was last edited on Thursday, 14 May 2020 at 09:28 UTC