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Married gay couple challenges UT's surrogacy law/Colorado Baker Heads to SCOTUS

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5 minutes ago, Amulek said:

And if the cakes aren't identical and are - instead - custom, made-to-order pieces of art, then that discrimination is perfectly lawful. 

From what I understand, the law does NOT regard "custom made" to be the same as "inherently expressive."

You're mistakenly elevating "custom" to some sort of legally-protected classification of "free speech."  But LOTS of things are "custom" made.  A barber cutting hair could claim that every haircut is a "custom creation"... same for estheticians doing nails... beauticians doing beauty make up... tailors sewing/altering tuxes or dresses... ANY chef preparing ANY type of food from scratch, either by following a recipe or making it up as they go along... etc.  Heck, even a teacher or a trainer could say their ability to share, impart knowledge, express themselves, motivate, install knowledge, etc. are all "divine gifts from their Creator" and should be protected by refusing service to anyone based on any religious objection.

But the LAW doesn't suggest "custom-made" be elevated to some sort of First-Amendment-Protected "free speech."

As suggested previously, the creation being made must be "inherently expressive," for which there are very specific legal criteria.  "Custom-made" isn't one of them.

D

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4 minutes ago, ALarson said:

From what I've read regarding this specific case, the cake would have been identical to any other wedding cake the baker had made and sold to others.  So that argument or defense is not going to be applicable (at least in this case).  

Yes, yes.... a thousand-times yes!

This "custom-made pieces of art" line of reasoning that Amulek is making here has been rejected by virtually every court thus far...

I'm not surprised Amulek (and Masterpiece's lawyers) are trying to make this into "free speech" debate--------that's really their ONLY option of even trying to win---------but it contradicts all the legal precedent thus far.

Otherwise ANY business owner/worker in the private square could claim that ANY task that requires their skills/talent to perform is a "God-given talent that they use to glorify God," and could therefore refuse service to anyone "in the name of not angering/violating their commitment to honoring God."

It hasn't held up so far.  And for the sake of equally applying the law for all--and including in the name of protecting religion itself--I hope the court rejects this argument.  Otherwise, anyone will be able to discriminate against anyone in the name of religion, thereby destroying the legal protections we currently afford protecting religion FROM discrimination.

D

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1 hour ago, Amulek said:

I think what the petitioners plan on arguing before the Supreme Court is that creating a custom wedding cake is like creating a custom piece of art, and the outcome of the case is largely going to be decided on how the Court answers that question. 

Like I said earlier, the fact that the Court took this case instead of the photography case (which, in my view, had the stronger 1st Amendment argument) makes me think that they are going to rule against the baker, but I guess we'll have to wait and see. 

Let's hope that is how the ruling goes.  I can't imagine the pushback the church would get if "We don't serve gays" signs start popping up across the country.   Especially since the church has been so vocal about their stand on the right to refuse service to gay couples.

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There's been a lot of opinion thrown around this thread... Much of it seems unaware of what the law actually has said (for example, the same tired alternative examples of creating cakes with objectionable words/symbols or Jews providing non-kosher items continue to be posed as if they are similarly situated, despite the fact that there are clear and easily understandable differences when dispassionately discussing the facts of the cases).

It may be worthwhile taking a moment to remind ourselves what the law has held, thus far, based on the lower and appellate courts' nearly universally-unanimous cases so far.

This article from SLATE does a good job summarizing the appellate court's rulings thus far refuting some of the common mistakes/misconceptions that have often been made in this thread, with hyperlinks throughout to the rulings (including the precedent from the Supreme Court of the United States used in formulating their rulings). 

EDITED TO ADD: I have NO idea why the latter portion of the article is showing as "strike through."  It's not marked as much in the editor, and I have tried cutting and pasting, reformatting, etc... but when I remove all the formatting, it removes the links to the legal docs, which I think are valuable.  If a MODERATOR is reading this and can figure out how to remove that strike-through, I would really appreciate it!Thanks.

Quote

On Thursday, the Colorado Court of Appeals issued a landmark decision holding that a bakery violated state nondiscrimination law by refusing to serve a gay couple. That ruling is no surprise: Courts and commissions in New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, and New York have found that sexual orientation nondiscrimination laws prevent businesses from turning away same-sex couples. Still, the Colorado ruling is notable for the lucidity and vehemence with which it rejects the feeble claims that bakers and florists often make to justify their discrimination. Here are the court’s three strongest and smartest conclusions.

1. Yes, discriminating against a same-sex couple qualifies as sexual orientation discrimination.

You’d think it would be obvious that when a storeowner refuses to serve a same-sex couple, he’s discriminating on the basis of their sexual orientation. After all, courts universally agree that discrimination against interracial couples is discrimination on the basis of race. But Masterpiece Cakeshop disagreed, insisting that it turned away a gay couple because it disapproved of their impending same-sex union, not their orientation. (At the time of the incident, same-sex marriage was illegal in Colorado.)

The court of appeals rightly laughed off this dubious logic. Under Colorado law, the court held, refusing to serve gay customers who plan to celebrate their union qualifies as discrimination “because of” sexual orientation. Engaging in a same-sex commitment ceremony may technically be “conduct,” not “status,” but the Supreme Court has stated that it “decline to distinguish between status and conduct” in the case of homosexuality. Committing to a same-sex partner, like engaging in same-sex intimacy, is fundamentally intertwined with the gay or bisexual identity. Thus, the Colorado court explained, the  “conduct” of solemnizing a same-sex union “is so closely correlated with the status” of sexual orientation that to discriminate against one is to discriminate against the other.

2. Baking a cake is not “inherently expressive.”

Certain aspects of cake-making are undoubtedly expressive—like, for instance, writing a message in frosting atop a cake. However, the physical act of baking (and selling) a cake is not in itself expressive conduct. Other courts have gotten lost in the weeds trying to state this commonsense point as a legal conclusion.

Not the Colorado Court of Appeals. Baking and selling cakes isn’t expressive, the court wrote, because it doesn’t “convey a message.” Unlike flag-burning (which conveys an anti-American message) or cross-burning (which conveys a racist message), baking a cake expresses … nothing. Simply making a cake to sell to a gay couple, the court held, does not constitute a “particularized message celebrating same-sex marriage.” When bakers bake a cake, in other words, they’re filling an order, not declaring their support of the cake’s recipient. The sale of a wedding cake to a gay couple doesn’t convey “a celebratory message about same-sex marriage” any more than the sale of a cake to a bar mitzvah party conveys a celebratory message about Judaism.

3. Nondiscrimination laws don’t violate your free exercise of religion, no matter how much you despise same-sex marriage.

Masterpiece’s weakest claim is also the one that gets the most play among the religious right: It argues that serving gay couples would violate its free exercise of religion, which is protected by the First Amendment. Unfortunately for Masterpiece, the Supreme Court has held that a law that prohibits certain conduct comports with the Free Exercise Clause so long as it is neutral (not directed at a certain religion) and generally applicable (applies to all religions evenly). Put simply, a law not motivated by animus toward a particular religion or its practices will probably pass Free Exercise muster.

As much as anti-gay conservatives enjoy citing nondiscrimination laws as proof of Christian persecution, no intelligent observer could possibly conclude that Colorado’s law is motivated by anti-Christian animus. As the Colorado court notes, the law in question is a classic nondiscrimination measure, designed to prevent places of public accommodation from denying service based on customers’ identity. It does not single out Christian bakeries for disfavored treatment; Christian bakers need only comply with the rules that all other bakers follow. If they dislike these rules, then perhaps they should not run a business that purports to be open to the public.

The Colorado Court of Appeals’ ruling, of course, will only fan the flames of the Christian persecution complex on the far right. But for the more tolerant chunk of American society, the decision is a heartening affirmation of the basic principle animating nondiscrimination laws: In a country that values liberty, no person should fear he’ll be turned away from a place of business because of who he is. 

 

 

Edited by Daniel2

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19 minutes ago, Daniel2 said:

Yes, yes.... a thousand-times yes!

This "custom-made pieces of art" line of reasoning that Amulek is making here has been rejected by virtually every court thus far...

I'm not surprised Amulek (and Masterpiece's lawyers) are trying to make this into "free speech" debate--------that's really their ONLY option of even trying to win---------but it contradicts all the legal precedent thus far.

Otherwise ANY business owner/worker in the private square could claim that ANY task that requires their skills/talent to perform is a "God-given talent that they use to glorify God," and could therefore refuse service to anyone "in the name of not angering/violating their commitment to honoring God."

It hasn't held up so far.  And for the sake of equally applying the law for all--and including in the name of protecting religion itself--I hope the court rejects this argument.  Otherwise, anyone will be able to discriminate against anyone in the name of religion, thereby destroying the legal protections we currently afford protecting religion FROM discrimination.

D

Just like the Prop 8 campaign, I sometimes wonder if the church has any idea the can of worms they are opening up by supporting these kinds of causes.  To say that it hasn't affected many members attitude towards the church as well as those that are not members would be difficult to assert.  This is especially sad since either issue does not actually affect the teachings of the church nor the qualifications to be a member of the church.

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12 minutes ago, Daniel2 said:

There's been a lot of opinion thrown around this thread... Much of it seems unaware of what the law actually has said (for example, the same tired alternative examples of creating cakes with objectionable words/symbols or Jews providing non-kosher items continue to be posed as if they are similarly situated, despite the fact that there are clear and easily understandable differences when dispassionately discussing the facts of the cases).

It may be worthwhile taking a moment to remind ourselves what the law has held, thus far, based on the lower and appellate courts' nearly universally-unanimous cases so far.

This article from SLATE does a good job summarizing the appellate court's rulings thus far refuting some of the common mistakes/misconceptions that have often been made in this thread, with hyperlinks throughout to the rulings (including the precedent from the Supreme Court of the United States used in formulating their rulings):

 

Nice to know exactly what will be argued before the Supreme Court rather than much of the speculation that seems to commonly be introduced on this subject.  I think the courts are going to be very reluctant to reintroduce legal discrimination into the American culture.  There has to be pretty strong reasons to allow something like that to take place.  From my point of view, I see no such strong reasons presented from the baker.

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10 minutes ago, Daniel2 said:

This "custom-made pieces of art" line of reasoning that Amulek is making here has been rejected by virtually every court thus far...

The places where we have seen these kinds of cases come up so far have largely been in politically liberal states. I'm not terribly surprised to see similar rulings coming out of Oregon, Washington (state), and others with respect to these kinds of cases. 

 

22 minutes ago, Daniel2 said:

I'm not surprised Amulek (and Masterpiece's lawyers) are trying to make this into "free speech" debate--------that's really their ONLY option of even trying to win---------but it contradicts all the legal precedent thus far.

I'm not trying to make it into a free speech debate; it is a free speech debate. If the guy had been selling fidget spinners instead of something that could be plausibly argued as being art nobody would have ever heard of him. 

 

31 minutes ago, Daniel2 said:

Otherwise ANY business owner/worker in the private square could claim that ANY task that requires their skills/talent to perform is a "God-given talent that they use to glorify God," and could therefore refuse service to anyone "in the name of not angering/violating their commitment to honoring God."

Nonsense. Caterers, limousine drivers, and countless other industries would still have to make their goods and services available without discrimination. Only those businesses and individuals whose work truly involves artistic expression would be exempt. And just because you think you are an artist doesn't mean that you actually are one. For example, I was at Subway the other day and noticed a sign which referred to their employees as 'sandwich artists.' Nobody in their right mind thinks those clowns are really artists. 

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21 minutes ago, Amulek said:

The places where we have seen these kinds of cases come up so far have largely been in politically liberal states. I'm not terribly surprised to see similar rulings coming out of Oregon, Washington (state), and others with respect to these kinds of cases. 

 

I'm not trying to make it into a free speech debate; it is a free speech debate. If the guy had been selling fidget spinners instead of something that could be plausibly argued as being art nobody would have ever heard of him. 

 

Nonsense. Caterers, limousine drivers, and countless other industries would still have to make their goods and services available without discrimination. Only those businesses and individuals whose work truly involves artistic expression would be exempt. And just because you think you are an artist doesn't mean that you actually are one. For example, I was at Subway the other day and noticed a sign which referred to their employees as 'sandwich artists.' Nobody in their right mind thinks those clowns are really artists. 

If a baker is making basically the same cake with the same frosting flowers and swirl over and over again for straight couples, at what point does the baker change from being an "artist" to just a production artist, similar to your Subway reference.  The second one?  The tenth one?  The hundredth one?

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20 minutes ago, Amulek said:

The places where we have seen these kinds of cases come up so far have largely been in politically liberal states. I'm not terribly surprised to see similar rulings coming out of Oregon, Washington (state), and others with respect to these kinds of cases. 

 

I'm not trying to make it into a free speech debate; it is a free speech debate. If the guy had been selling fidget spinners instead of something that could be plausibly argued as being art nobody would have ever heard of him. 

 

Nonsense. Caterers, limousine drivers, and countless other industries would still have to make their goods and services available without discrimination. Only those businesses and individuals whose work truly involves artistic expression would be exempt. And just because you think you are an artist doesn't mean that you actually are one. For example, I was at Subway the other day and noticed a sign which referred to their employees as 'sandwich artists.' Nobody in their right mind thinks those clowns are really artists. 

As per my previous post, your speculative opinion notwithstanding, appellate courts thus far have almost universally found that creating a customized wedding cake is not "inherently expressive" act of First-Amendment-Protected Freedom of Speech.  Even "art" itself isn't always "inherently expressive."  For example, from what I understand, even photographers or portrait painters documenting a wedding or painting the likeness of a person aren't necessarily legally held to be "inherently expressive."

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1 hour ago, Daniel2 said:

Much of it seems unaware of what the law actually has said (for example, the same tired alternative examples of creating cakes with objectionable words/symbols or Jews providing non-kosher items continue to be posed as if they are similarly situated, despite the fact that there are clear and easily understandable differences when dispassionately discussing the facts of the cases

And yet you haven't really addressed the other issues bring brought up. I do believe my examples were substantially different than non-kosher items or offensive speech.  But these were never answered.  

I wish we could all just be honest about the fact that this court case is simply about which liberty is more valuable: the right to follow one's religious conscience or the right to never be discriminated against. I believe there is a reasonable disagreement to have about which right is more fundamental. I think there is a fruitful debate to be had about how far each of those liberties extend.

But, if you can't see that there need to be limitations to non-discrimination laws that work to preserve Religious Liberty, don't be surprised that people see all the bluster about how this has nothing to do with religious liberty, as a smokescreen. 

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13 minutes ago, Daniel2 said:

As per my previous post, your speculative opinion notwithstanding, appellate courts thus far have almost universally found that creating a customized wedding cake is not "inherently expressive" act of First-Amendment-Protected Freedom of Speech.  Even "art" itself isn't always "inherently expressive."  For example, from what I understand, even photographers or portrait painters documenting a wedding or painting the likeness of a person aren't necessarily legally held to be "inherently expressive."

Then a Baker shouldn't be allowed to refuse to bake a Donald Trump cake, right? http://blog.adflegal.org/detailspages/blog-details/allianceedge/2017/08/03/no-cake-for-pickle-but-jack-should-be-forced-to-design-a-cake-against-his-beliefs

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Just now, kllindley said:

This very example has already been discussed in this thread.  Why do people like you keep bringing up the same exact examples, over and over and over, when answers continue to be given, then ignored???

The answer is if a custom product is "inherently expressive," meaning, it contains letters or symbols which fall within the bounds of "inherently expressive" (words or symbols falling within the legal definition), a business owner does not have to provide that product (whether it's a cake baker, a printer, or a T-shirt manufacturer).

Additionally, businesses can decline to provide services for a variety of reasons, but not if it violates the protections of what the government deems "protected classes" (religion, race, age, gender, national origin, veteran status, etc.).  Political affiliation is not a protected class.

Thus, in response to your question:  a baker SHOULD be allowed to refuse to bake any cake advocating for ANY politician or political platform.  Period.

That case is clear, easy, and should be simple to understand.  But dishonest companies advocating for unjust practices try to confuse the issue and cloud it with emotional buzz words or inflammatory and seemingly similar (but entirely unrelated, from a legal perspective) scenarios.

The fact that "The Alliance Defending Freedom" is using that example on their website to try to gain support, but at the same time is clearly confusing the facts (they claim their lawsuit on behalf of Masterpiece is "a lawsuit that is reminiscent of [refusing to back a cake for a Donald Trump birthday party]") tells me all I need to know about both their honesty and their true motives.

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On ‎9‎/‎15‎/‎2017 at 12:18 PM, kllindley said:

So, am I understanding California Boy, Marginal Gains, and Daniel2 that you would agree that certain forms of expression are protected and therefore exempt from anti-discrimination law? The T-shirt, printed material, writing, any others?  

What about a history book that includes a painting of Mohammad? Should a Muslim be free to decline to print an image that while in no way offensive, still violates his religious conscience?  

What are your thoughts on the Baker who refused to bake a birthday cake in the shape of a red MAGA hat for the little boy. Would that be discrimination? 

I think there is a big difference between "refusing service to someone who is LGBT" and "declining to act contrary to religious beliefs."

Scott's hypothetical of the Church renting is not really applicable, but what about a private owner of a retail building. Should he be required to lease it to a liquor store? Or an adult business? 

Would a liberal atheist be breaking the law to choose not to rent out his building to a Catholic prolife political action group?

California Boy already addressed these points here, so I assumed the issue was already settled.  But since--and ONLY because--you've asked, I'll take yet another few whacks at the long-since-deceased equine:

In each of your examples above, based on my understanding of the laws and rulings I have read:

  • Printing Companies: cannot be forced to print material(s) which is "inherently expressive" to which they personally object.  If the messages (through words, symbols, or pictures) violate their religious Faith, they cannot (and should not, IMO) be compelled to print it.  This is the clearest example of "First Amendment Freedom of Speech" protections, IMO.
  • Already addressed the MAGA hat in a previous post.  While bakeries refusing to bake such cakes are discriminating, it's legally acceptable discrimination because a) the message is "inherently expressive" and thus protected by Freedom of Speech, and b) bakers are not withholding goods based on a protected class (of which "political affiliation" is not), so they're not subject to public accommodations law.
  • Landlords: yes, landlords can choose not to rent to liquor stores or adult businesses, because neither liquor nor 'adult businesses' are members of protected classes, and are therefore not subject to public accommodations law (and, in fact, are subject to zoning laws and regulations, which may even prohibit such establishments in some neighborhoods and/or cities or states).
  • Liberal Atheist Landlords: As mentioned above, public zoning laws and public accommodation laws must be followed, but even so, "political action groups" are not members of protected classes, so I don't believe a liberal atheist can choose not to rent out to them. 

Now... instead of focusing on all these hypothetical "what ifs," how about we focus on the REAL issues that are happening, instead of trying to complicate/confuse/inflame the issue with hypotheticals that are not legally similarly situated...?

D

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4 minutes ago, Daniel2 said:

This very example has already been discussed in this thread.  Why do people like you keep bringing up the same exact examples, over and over and over, when answers continue to be given, then ignored???

The only response was CaliforniaBoy's statement that the business owner can discriminate against a product (a cake in the shape of a hat, which is exactly the sort of thing cake bakers specialize in) but not the person.  Bringing it up the second time really isn't "over and over and over." 

I really don't see how one could state that there is nothing inherently expressive about making a wedding cake, but that there is in baking a birthday cake.  Did any of the bakeries offer to make the cake and let them write the four letters themselves?  

12 minutes ago, Daniel2 said:

Additionally, businesses can decline to provide services for a variety of reasons, but not if it violates the protections of what the government deems "protected classes" (religion, race, age, gender, national origin, veteran status, etc.).  Political affiliation is not a protected class.

Thus, in response to your question:  a baker SHOULD be allowed to refuse to bake any cake advocating for ANY politician or political platform.  Period.

Actually, if you want to talk about facts, political affiliation and political belief are protected classes in several jurisdictions.  While it is not protected on the Federal Level, neither is sexual orientation.  Many states do not recognize Sexual Orientation as a protected class.  So it seems that political affiliation/belief is a very good analogy to sexual orientation.  

Also, I find it a little ironic that the ADF agrees that the bakeries should be free to refuse to bake that cake.  

21 minutes ago, Daniel2 said:

That case is clear, easy, and should be simple to understand.  But dishonest companies advocating for unjust practices try to confuse the issue and cloud it with emotional buzz words or inflammatory and seemingly similar (but entirely unrelated, from a legal perspective) scenarios.

The fact that "The Alliance Defending Freedom" is using that example on their website to try to gain support, but at the same time is clearly confusing the facts (they claim their lawsuit on behalf of Masterpiece is "a lawsuit that is reminiscent of [refusing to back a cake for a Donald Trump birthday party]") tells me all I need to know about both their honesty and their true motives.

In light of the protected class status I highlight above, it seems that you are the one guilty of using inflammatory and emotion to shut out reasonable disagreement.  Should I assume that tells me all I need to know about your honesty and true motives?  

Or would I be better off believing that people can have valid and reasonable opinions which I disagree with, without jumping to accusations and rudeness?  I had thought that we had a better rapport than this. :( 

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People have been SO focused on defending "religious liberty" that they don't realize that the law has to weigh one person's liberty against another ALL THE TIME, and sometimes, even pitting one person's seeming "religious liberty" against another's.  Even in such cases, though, what people are CALLING "religious liberty" really isn't what is meant by the constitutional protections afforded to religion in the Constitution.

For example, let's say a Mom and Pop bakery has enough money to hire an extra cake decorator. 

They interview several, and one candidate is clearly far more qualified than her competition, so the Mom and Pop hire her on the spot.

The next day, she reports for duty, and is trained for a week on how to cover the shop, work the till, take care of the ordering process, and decorate the cakes.

Mom and Pop leave for a much-needed extended vacation over the weekend, where their candidate covers the shop on Friday and Saturday.

When Mom and Pop return, they're astonished because for the first time ever, they have a bunch of complaints from several of their customers who they'd been serving for years.

Turns out that their extremely talented cake decorator is a member of the Jehovah's Witness Faith, and all day Friday and Saturday, she declined multiple customer requests to write "Happy Birthday" on the cake...

What happens next?  Are Mom and Pop able to fire their newly-hired cake decorator?  Is that a violation of the cake decorator's "religious freedom"?  Or is she protected from being fired because that would be a violation of her "religious freedom"?

But what about Mom and Pop's freedoms?  They aren't Jehovah's Witnesses, and they've provided "Happy Birthday" cakes to their clientele for decades.  Should they be forced to keep paying a woman who refuses to do the job for which she's hired, forcing them to pay for a back-up person to cover the store who is willing to write "Happy Birthday" for those customers who so desire?

Most people I know would side with Mom and Pop here.  They say that if their cake decorator is unwilling to do the job she's hired for, it's unjust and unfair to force Mom and Pop to keep her on the payroll if she refuses to do the job.  But wait... isn't that a violation of the cake decorator's religious liberty?  No... because she's free to go elsewhere and get a job at a bakery that doesn't sell birthday cakes, or switch careers.

Now, why do I bring this up?  Clearly, the circumstances are different to what we're discussing.  So to make sure there isn't any confusing as to why I'm posting it, here's my take-away point:  sometimes, courts have to weigh and balance conflicting alleged claims to "liberty" against another competing claim.  And sometimes, both sides offer compelling-sounding arguments.

From what I understand in cases like these, the Supreme Court has said that laws providing boundaries and attempting to balance seemingly-conflicting claims to liberty against a certain ideal, and the ideal is this: when it comes to religious liberty and placing boundaries thereon, does the law appear to be designed to "single out" a specific religion to either punish or promote it in a way that's above (or beneath) any/all other ideologies, OR is the law applicable, across the board, to all religious ideologies, equally? 

In this case, public accommodations law is NOT "singling out" the beliefs of Masterpiece Bakery (or even "Christianity," in general).  It's saying that if a business provides a specific good or service to some customers (in this case, wedding cakes---whether they ARE 'custom' or NOT is entirely relevant, as related to the religious liberty argument), said businesses cannot refuse to provide wedding cakes (again, whether custom or not) to members of legally protected classes.

So far as "religious liberty" is concerned, there's a preponderance of case law that already addresses this issue.

Obviously, as I and others (on both sides of this argument) have said, it seems like the crux of THIS particular Masterpiece Bakery case will be decided on whether or not it's a violation of the baker's freedoms of speech.  But let's stop calling it a matter of "religious liberty."  That ship has said... that case has been closed... The law doesn't single out any religion or even any protected class to penalize NOR reward them-----it requires business to serve ALL, without discriminating NOR elevating any other protected class over the other.  Whites/blacks/Hispanics/Asians have to serve members of other races or mixed races, despite their differences (even religious objections).... Atheists/Christians/Jews/Muslims/Mormons have to serve everyone not of their own non-religious/religious persuasion, despite their differences (even religious ones)...etc (you may continue to fill in the 'protected class' and it's analogous difference, even religious ones). 

That's why Masterpiece is focusing entirely on claims to the "artistic expression" of these cakes.  As mentioned previously, that's likely to be the only possible grounds they may win on, despite the odds against them.

D

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51 minutes ago, california boy said:

If a baker is making basically the same cake with the same frosting flowers and swirl over and over again for straight couples, at what point does the baker change from being an "artist" to just a production artist, similar to your Subway reference.  The second one?  The tenth one?  The hundredth one?

I think that's a fair question. And to be honest it's not one that I have a good answer for. That's why I said at the beginning that I think the cake baker case is a gray area for me.

I guess my tentative thought would be that it depends on the extent to which the artist is actively engaged in the creative process. For example, when I look at a painter like Thomas Kinkade, I think that he basically made the same kinds of paintings (of light!) over and over again. I mean, it's basically all just pastel highlighted cabins, streams, and gardens, over and over again right? But I still can't help but think of him as an artist. 

 

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Edited by Daniel2

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1 hour ago, kllindley said:

I wish we could all just be honest about the fact that this court case is simply about which liberty is more valuable: the right to follow one's religious conscience or the right to never be discriminated against. I believe there is a reasonable disagreement to have about which right is more fundamental. I think there is a fruitful debate to be had about how far each of those liberties extend.

But, if you can't see that there need to be limitations to non-discrimination laws that work to preserve Religious Liberty, don't be surprised that people see all the bluster about how this has nothing to do with religious liberty, as a smokescreen. 

For the life of me, I truly, genuinely, cannot understand how those defending the baker cannot see that granting businesses the ABILITY to discriminate on the basis of the "deeply-held religious beliefs" of business owners/clerks (even in the name of "creative freedom of speech") UNDERMINES protection AGAINST discrimination because OF religion.  By allowing people to discriminate on the basis of their religious views, you are destroying the very protections safeguarding against discrimination based ON religion.  No longer is religion protected in any realm where services can be linked to any sort of religious objection, because now anyone should be able to refuse services because they disapprove of someone else.  How is this not obvious?  And please, don't misunderstand me... I'm not name-calling, nor trying to insult others... I am genuinely flabbergasted here.  It seems SO shortsighted for religious folks to claim an ability to refuse service to others today, only to fail to realize that the protections safeguarding their religious freedoms have been obliterated when they become the target of religious disapproval from the majority...

Edited by Daniel2

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39 minutes ago, kllindley said:

In light of the protected class status I highlight above, it seems that you are the one guilty of using inflammatory and emotion to shut out reasonable disagreement.  Should I assume that tells me all I need to know about your honesty and true motives?  

Or would I be better off believing that people can have valid and reasonable opinions which I disagree with, without jumping to accusations and rudeness?  I had thought that we had a better rapport than this. :( 

Kllindley,

This is not the first time you've accused me of "rudeness" and being "guilty of using inflammatory and emotion to shut out reasonable disagreement." (please note: my words in the post you were referring to were not directed at you, but were in regard to "The Alliance Defending Freedom," designated as a Hate Group by the Southern Poverty Law Center).

I've gone to great lengths to strive to be patient, respectful, rational, and reasonable in answering many of these same claims repeatedly spanning many years.  As I look back over my posts, despite being heartfelt (as in, "deeply and strongly felt") in my views, I don't believe I was being ill-mannered or inappropriate.

If you feel I'm being rude, as you've accused me of doing on multiple occasions, I'm happy to extend a friendly handshake, wish you well, and disengage from conversing further with you on these matters.

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4 hours ago, Daniel2 said:

Now... instead of focusing on all these hypothetical "what ifs," how about we focus on the REAL issues that are happening, instead of trying to complicate/confuse/inflame the issue with hypotheticals that are not legally similarly situated...?

 

4 hours ago, Daniel2 said:

For example, let's say a Mom and Pop bakery has enough money to hire an extra cake decorator. 

Now I'm quick to appreciate that you explained why you used this example. :)  Still, it sure sounded like you were castigating everyone for using hypotheticals, but it seems like even you recognize that it's hard to have this discussion without some hypothetical examples.

It seems to me that you are assuming I support Masterpiece Cakes's decision here.  Maybe you don't remember our conversation earlier this year, where I pretty clearly agreed that what they and other bakers, florists, and photographers, have done is against the law.  I just am not convinced that sexual orientation should be a protected class, and I do believe that our current social and political climate is strongly weighted against religious liberty.  Do I really think this case is a good "poster child" for that threat?  Nope.  

I mean, you seem to be upset that I didn't respond and acknowledge the answers I received, but that sure isn't one sided:

Quote

 

Thanks for the responses.  I very much appreciate the references, as well.

My schedule has been and will continue to be somewhat erratic over the next few days/weeks, which is why there is sometimes a delay in my responses, but I will spend some time reviewing your links and digesting your posts before I respond--but I will respond. ;)

Regards,

D

 

Quote

I haven't posted much in the last several weeks due to priorities in events offsite, and have just started getting around to studying your references, Kllindley.  I will continue to review and respond to those that you've listed, as well as my thoughts on your argument that protected classes and suspect classes serve different purposes and are distinctly different.

I really understand getting busy and not getting back to conversations here.  But this discussion about protected classes seems to be one of the REAL issues that is happening.  

Have there been major developments that render that conversation irrelevant, or is it just inconvenient?  

(The site wouldn't let me link to the earlier thread on "Emerging Skirmishes." )

Edited by kllindley

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1 hour ago, Daniel2 said:

Additionally, businesses can decline to provide services for a variety of reasons, but not if it violates the protections of what the government deems "protected classes" (religion, race, age, gender, national origin, veteran status, etc.).  Political affiliation is not a protected class.

Thus, in response to your question:  a baker SHOULD be allowed to refuse to bake any cake advocating for ANY politician or political platform.  Period.

I "liked" the post as a whole, because I largely agree with it. However, I happen to know that there is at least one jurisdiction where political affiliation is a protected class: Washington DC. There is, of course, no federal recognition of political affiliation being a protected class. 

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5 minutes ago, Daniel2 said:

Kllindley,

This is not the first time you've accused me of "rudeness" and being "guilty of using inflammatory and emotion to shut out reasonable disagreement." (please note: my words in the post you were referring to were not directed at you, but were in regard to "The Alliance Defending Freedom," designated as a Hate Group by the Southern Poverty Law Center).

I've gone to great lengths to strive to be patient, respectful, rational, and reasonable in answering many of these same claims repeatedly spanning many years.  As I look back over my posts, despite being heartfelt (as in, "deeply and strongly felt") in my views, I don't believe I was being ill-mannered or inappropriate.

If you feel I'm being rude, as you've accused me of doing on multiple occasions, I'm happy to extend a friendly handshake, wish you well, and disengage from conversing further with you on these matters.

I'm just saying that it was clear that you really don't like the ADF.  I feel the same way about the SPLC.  Here and Here   As far as the ADF, while I might disagree with them in this case, I do think that they genuinely see an equivalence in the situations.  

I didn't mean to suggest that you were being ill-mannered or inappropriate.  I was trying to point out that you were using emotionally charged words (like Hate Group) in an effort to deny any similarities between the cases and to question the honesty and intent of the ADF.  

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23 minutes ago, Daniel2 said:

For the life of me, I truly, genuinely, cannot understand how those defending the baker cannot see that granting businesses the ABILITY to discriminate on the basis of the "deeply-held religious beliefs" of business owners/clerks (even in the name of "creative freedom of speech") UNDERMINES protection AGAINST discrimination because OF religion.  By allowing people to discriminate on the basis of their religious views, you are destroying the very protections safeguarding against discrimination based ON religion.  No longer is religion protected in any realm where services can be linked to any sort of religious objection, because now anyone should be able to refuse services because they disapprove of someone else.  How is this not obvious?  And please, don't misunderstand me... I'm not name-calling, nor trying to insult others... I am genuinely flabbergasted here.  It seems SO shortsighted for religious folks to claim an ability to refuse service to others today, only to fail to realize that the protections safeguarding their religious freedoms have been obliterated when they become the target of religious disapproval from the majority...

Can you accept that I agree with you here?  Really, truly, deeply. I actually think it is naive or irrational to assume that a win for the baker is a loss for protection against discrimination on religious grounds. 

Edited by kllindley

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58 minutes ago, Daniel2 said:

For the life of me, I truly, genuinely, cannot understand how those defending the baker cannot see that granting businesses the ABILITY to discriminate on the basis of the "deeply-held religious beliefs" of business owners/clerks (even in the name of "creative freedom of speech") UNDERMINES protection AGAINST discrimination because OF religion.  By allowing people to discriminate on the basis of their religious views, you are destroying the very protections safeguarding against discrimination based ON religion.  No longer is religion protected in any realm where services can be linked to any sort of religious objection, because now anyone should be able to refuse services because they disapprove of someone else.  How is this not obvious?  And please, don't misunderstand me... I'm not name-calling, nor trying to insult others... I am genuinely flabbergasted here.  It seems SO shortsighted for religious folks to claim an ability to refuse service to others today, only to fail to realize that the protections safeguarding their religious freedoms have been obliterated when they become the target of religious disapproval from the majority...

Just as real as the possibility of "no gays served here" signs appearing is the possibility of "No Jews served here".  or "No Mormons served here".  And then where will religious liberty be?

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If religious liberty requires that the baker be allowed to deny baking a cake for a gay/Jewish/muslim/black wedding, then...

Our religious conviction should demand that we DO bake the cake out of our belief in extending charity to all.

It's sad to me that the Church's name will appear at the bottom of yet another amicus brief for the side of the argument that will be deemed unconstitutional.

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