• Linda C. McClain

    Linda C. McClain is the Robert Kent Professor of Law at the Boston University School of Law; she can be reached at lmcclain@bu.edu. Profile

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There are 13 comments on POV: SCOTUS Should Not Permit “Boycott of Same-Sex Marriage”

  1. If the court rules that this Christian baker must make a wedding cake for a gay wedding, it follows naturally that any religious reason is not acceptable as an excuse not to serve a customer. If that is the case, then I would be fully within my rights to demand a Muslim baker make me a cake with a picture of Mohammad on it, and could bring them to court if they refuse.

    People seem to be too willing to ignore the religious beliefs of the individual when those religious beliefs are on conflict with their personal beliefs. I.e. you believe in gay marriage, so it is wrong for the baker not to. It is all too easy to forget that the same principle also applies in cases where you do not disagree with the individual.

    Personally, I think the court should just let the free market handle it. There are literally dozens of other bakers this gay couple had to drive past to get to the one that refused, so why not just ask any of them for a cake? If this individual refuses too many people, he’ll go out of business anyway.

    1. Here is the difference in the example you supply and the reality of the situation:

      This baker -already bakes wedding cakes-. This is a refusal to provide a service to a particular group of people while providing that exact same service to another group.

      So, if you can find a Muslim who regularly makes “Mohammed cakes” and then he refuses to make one for you -specifically because you’re Christian-, your argument has legs. Until then, you’re comparing apples and oranges.

      You also mention something that ignores a reality of region. You state that this couple “had to drive past . . . literally dozens of other bakers”. And in this instance, that’s probably true.

      What about rural areas? They make up a huge portion of the nation’s population. I personally grew up in a town of less than 1000 people. We had one grocery store, two gas stations, a handful of restaurants, a dentist—in other words, a highly limited availability of services. The next nearest grocery store was a 20 minute drive away. We had a volunteer fire department because it cost too much to pay for a permanent service.

      What if the owner of that one grocery store claimed that his religious beliefs barred him from selling to Catholics, or to Hispanics? There’s a long history of such prejudice, so it isn’t really that hard to believe. Now the Catholic couple makes a 40-minute round trip to get groceries, rather than a 5-minute errand. What if their car breaks down?

      Or what if the volunteer fire department, or the private ambulance service that served the area, decided their morals wouldn’t allow them to put out a blaze at an atheist’s house, or that they couldn’t transport a Jewish boy suffering from appendicitis to the hospital?

      This isn’t about cake, and it isn’t just about urban areas where there are numerous alternatives. Even Kennedy recognized that fact, although I would argue that allowing an exemption on that basis is dangerous and clumsy, since it requires every scenario to be reviewed in detail, a drawing-out that in many cases is just as hurtful as the initial injurious act itself.

  2. The baker bakes wedding cakes. He should sell to any customer that wants one and not discriminate. The Muslim baker does not bake Mohammad cakes. Nobody should be forcing a merchant to offer a product that they do not typically sell.

    1. Where your analogy breaks down is that your hypothetical Muslim baker wouldn’t be baking a Mohammed cake for anyone, whereas this Colorado baker is deciding who to sell cakes to based on sexual orientation. A business owner who has a permit to serve the public has to follow certain standards- defined by society, and society’s laws and judges- that a religious institution does not. In other words: Want to discriminate? Go start a church, not a bakery!

  3. So for Professor McClain, it’s not enough to silence any questioning of the gay lifestyle or gay marriage. No, it’s important to force the dissenters to their knees, with tens of thousands of dollars in fines, to force them to profess their allegiance and endorsement. And so far, tailors and architects and makeup artists and hair stylists are free from this Orwellian dictatorship. Carve “exemptions”? Exemptions from the right to remain silent? Even accused criminals have that. This is “compelled expression,” and it is the opposite of liberty.

    McClain advocates totalitarian thought control, pure and simple.

    1. It would be helpful to know more about the circumstances: Did the gay couple seek out Philips’ bakery because there were many other bakeries willing to create the cake they wanted, and they wanted to find someone who declined, specifically for the purpose of initiating action against Baker? Was there a design or inscription that “celebrated gay marriage” rather than simply marriage?

      What was the priority for the initial complainants: Having a cake for their wedding, or making a political example of this baker?

  4. the gay couple saught out this Christian baker specifically… they knew he was a Christian and purposefully tried to “trip-him-up”…glad to see the courts got it right for once! And if I went into say a Mulim owened resturant and demanded they make me a BLT or any other “pork” product …well,there ‘ya have it!

  5. The baker arguing that making a cake for a same-sex marriage is a violation of his religious beliefs because it would force him to participate in and condone something against his religion is ridiculous. When he writes “Happy Birthday, Ashley” on a birthday cake, he is not participating in the birthday party, nor are the happy birthday wishes he inscribed on the cake his birthday wishes. They are the sentiments of whoever ordered and paid for the birthday cake. This is such hogwash, something cooked up by the Religious Right to legalize their continued discrimination against a class it disapproves of.

      1. so, would the baker bake a cake for the couple’s children’s birthday party? or would baking that cake be refused too? if so: how far does this refusal extend? are any children this couple raises refused a cake? & any of their children’s children?

        the baker is asked to bake a cake – the baker can read his bible any way he needs, think whatever he wants, & keep those thoughts to himself or express them privately.

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