Indiana governor signs bill allowing businesses to reject gay customers

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Re: Indiana governor signs bill allowing businesses to reject gay customers

Postby Sstavix » Thu Apr 02, 2015 5:43 pm

Let me go ahead and pause you for a moment, because I think you've hit on one of the key portions of the argument....
If it is the former, then I would say they do not have a right to refuse service cause again, all they are doing is making food. ... They have no right to refuse service in the case of the former.
So what would be the consequences of a business or an organization that does decide to refuse service to whoever, for whatever reason? Who is the one responsible for determining what is allowed to be refused, and what isn't? And who would enforce these rules?

The only answer I can think of would be "the government." Basically, the state would be the ones to come in and force businesses to "play nice" with the community, regardless of the wishes of the business owners.

And that's where I draw the line. The government should NOT have the ability or "right" to force people to associate with people - customers, organizations, faiths, whatever - that they don't want to. Government using force to make everyone behave the way the government wants them to is the path to tyranny. In my opinion, that is something that anyone who values freedom needs to oppose. Yes, it means defending the rights of people we may disagree vehemently with. But if we start restricting the rights of select groups of people, where will it end?

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Re: Indiana governor signs bill allowing businesses to reject gay customers

Postby RoosterOnAStick » Thu Apr 02, 2015 8:27 pm

Well my answer is kind of complex so let me take this one piece at a time...

So what would be the consequences of a business or an organization that does decide to refuse service to whoever, for whatever reason? Who is the one responsible for determining what is allowed to be refused, and what isn't? And who would enforce these rules?

The only answer I can think of would be "the government." Basically, the state would be the ones to come in and force businesses to "play nice" with the community, regardless of the wishes of the business owners.
Well, there are other types of consequences, such as socio-economic ones, not just the government. Economically, who knows since people can boycott them and just not shop there for cakes, which is well within the peoples' right to do. It may be that the people will try to request them or pressure them (assuming non-violent protest here of course) to reconsider, which again, peaceful protest is within their right to do. If the business does not they could just wind up losing their business by going under. The law won't be the only repercussion and in the absence of a law one way or another these factors would still be present.

As far as government and the law goes, if the laws say something can't be done and it is done anyway, well, whatever is spelled out in said law is what the consequences are. Even if the law is wrong this is still the case. Those who acted in civil disobedience out of protest knew full well they were going to suffer the consequences of breaking said law despite the fact that the law being broken was inherently wrong, but thankfully that did not deter them.

And that's where I draw the line. The government should NOT have the ability or "right" to force people to associate with people - customers, organizations, faiths, whatever - that they don't want to.
When you say that, what exactly do you mean? What constitutes association in this context? In the case of gay marriage, are we talking about things like having clergy perform gay marriage ceremonies, making people go to gay weddings against their will or conscience, having people join or profess a belief that homosexual activity is ok from a Biblical standpoint, or just having any sort of relation or interaction of any kind such as a service provider/consumer relation? All these different types of associations imply very different types of interactions and thus affect how I would respond to this.

Government using force to make everyone behave the way the government wants them to is the path to tyranny. In my opinion, that is something that anyone who values freedom needs to oppose. Yes, it means defending the rights of people we may disagree vehemently with. But if we start restricting the rights of select groups of people, where will it end?
Well, I guess it comes down ultimately to my original quote of whether someone has a right to refuse a product that has no explicit message or requirement for direct participation in whatever the product may be used for? Is it a right in all cases? Is it never a right? Is it a right in some cases but not others? That is the question to ask ourselves.

My answer is still that, regarding wedding cakes specifically, people do not have the right to refuse to make a plain old wedding cake to anyone regardless of who they are. Only if there is an objectionable message requested or if the company is asked to participate directly in whatever wedding the cake will be used at would there be a right to refuse service. So from my perspective, we shouldn't be fighting so hard to defend this because it was never a right at all. You can't take away a right that was never there to begin with.
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Re: Indiana governor signs bill allowing businesses to reject gay customers

Postby LegoFan560 » Thu Apr 02, 2015 9:50 pm

Well, I guess it comes down ultimately to my original quote of whether someone has a right to refuse a product that has no explicit message or requirement for direct participation in whatever the product may be used for? Is it a right in all cases? Is it never a right? Is it a right in some cases but not others? That is the question to ask ourselves.

My answer is still that, regarding wedding cakes specifically, people do not have the right to refuse to make a plain old wedding cake to anyone regardless of who they are. Only if there is an objectionable message requested or if the company is asked to participate directly in whatever wedding the cake will be used at would there be a right to refuse service. So from my perspective, we shouldn't be fighting so hard to defend this because it was never a right at all. You can't take away a right that was never there to begin with.
I think they do have a right to refuse service to anyone they want to. If they think wearing glasses is wrong, they are welcome to refuse people who wear glasses. If they have something against Toyota, they can refuse service to anyone who owns a Toyota. If gay marriage is against their beliefs, they can refuse service to gays. The government should not be able to force anyone to do anything, and if that "anything" includes selling cakes to certain types of people, so be it. They can buy the cake somewhere else, and the original bakery loses a customer (possibly more, if other people get upset). This is a consequence that the bakery has to accept, but the government forcing them to make the cake is not acceptable in any circumstance.
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Re: Indiana governor signs bill allowing businesses to reject gay customers

Postby RoosterOnAStick » Thu Apr 02, 2015 10:15 pm

I think they do have a right to refuse service to anyone they want to. If they think wearing glasses is wrong, they are welcome to refuse people who wear glasses. If they have something against Toyota, they can refuse service to anyone who owns a Toyota. If gay marriage is against their beliefs, they can refuse service to gays.
Well, the thing is, what happens when the issue isn't with glasses, Toyota drivers, or gays but with Christians? If someone objects to someone who is wearing a cross or other Christian paraphernalia on the grounds of their religious beliefs do they have a right to deny service because of that?

As I said before, would this be fair if we were the minority group? What if this type of denial of service was to become widespread across the nation? To deny someone a wedding cake, any food service in general, or many other services (sales, buying a house, maintaining said house, educational services, etc.) would be wrong in these cases. Then we would definitely say, and rightly so, that we are being persecuted as Christians and what is being done to us is unjust.

So why would it be ok regarding people wearing glasses, driving a Toyota, or being gay?
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Re: Indiana governor signs bill allowing businesses to reject gay customers

Postby ArcticFox » Thu Apr 02, 2015 11:22 pm

Quick reminder: The issue here is not the right to refuse to serve gay customers. It's about not participating in events that violate the business owners' beliefs.

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Re: Indiana governor signs bill allowing businesses to reject gay customers

Postby Lazarus » Thu Apr 02, 2015 11:32 pm

Quick reminder: The issue here is not the right to refuse to serve gay customers. It's about not participating in events that violate the business owners' beliefs.
The Federal Civil Rights Act guarantees all people the right to "full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin."

So if it violates your beliefs to participate in an event involving people of a different color, religion, or race, that's already too bad.

Why are gay people so darn special that that violation of your beliefs is a much greater issue than the fact that you have to serve black customers, muslim customers, and atheist customers?

Or did I miss the Bible verse that says "thou shalt participate in the heathens and pagans wedding rituals, but flee from the gay wedding, for those who bake cakes for gays shall surely burn in hell."?

I almost hate to ask because I'm sure the answer will literally blow my mind at how obvious it was.

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Re: Indiana governor signs bill allowing businesses to reject gay customers

Postby Sstavix » Fri Apr 03, 2015 3:59 am

Well, there are other types of consequences, such as socio-economic ones, not just the government. Economically, who knows since people can boycott them and just not shop there for cakes, which is well within the peoples' right to do. It may be that the people will try to request them or pressure them (assuming non-violent protest here of course) to reconsider, which again, peaceful protest is within their right to do. If the business does not they could just wind up losing their business by going under.
I quite agree with this. Because, at this point, it is still confined to the position of the individual. People can go ahead and protest the decisions of others however they want, as long as it isn't violent or destructive. (I'd be willing to include harassment in this as well - for example it makes no sense to me why union thugs would protest in front of Scott Walker's parents house. They're old and had nothing to do with their son's decisions as governor - leave them alone, you morons!)

But I want to focus more on the government's role in decisions like this. In my opinion, the government needs to be "color-blind," for lack of a better term. People are allowed to discriminate. The government is not.

And that's where I draw the line. The government should NOT have the ability or "right" to force people to associate with people - customers, organizations, faiths, whatever - that they don't want to.
When you say that, what exactly do you mean? What constitutes association in this context? In the case of gay marriage, are we talking about things like having clergy perform gay marriage ceremonies, making people go to gay weddings against their will or conscience, having people join or profess a belief that homosexual activity is ok from a Biblical standpoint, or just having any sort of relation or interaction of any kind such as a service provider/consumer relation? All these different types of associations imply very different types of interactions and thus affect how I would respond to this.
Free association means that you can associate with whoever you want, or not associate with whoever you want. So all of the above. :)
Well, I guess it comes down ultimately to my original quote of whether someone has a right to refuse a product that has no explicit message or requirement for direct participation in whatever the product may be used for? Is it a right in all cases? Is it never a right? Is it a right in some cases but not others? That is the question to ask ourselves.
I would argue that it is a right in all cases. People have a fundamental, unalienable right to be a jerk to whoever they want, for whatever reason they want. However, they will have to deal with the repercussions of their stances as well. I'm of the mindset that the government should not interfere with this right. Yes, that does mean that some people and businesses can - and will - discriminate against Christians. But that is their choice.
My answer is still that, regarding wedding cakes specifically, people do not have the right to refuse to make a plain old wedding cake to anyone regardless of who they are.
So do you believe the government should have the power to shut down and/or imprison people who refuse to provide service based on their beliefs?
The Federal Civil Rights Act guarantees all people the right to "full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin."
And I would argue that this would only apply to public services and facilities. The government is not allowed to discriminate. Public schools, for example, must accept all students regardless of their gender, race, ethnicity or religion.

Private facilities, property and privately-owned businesses are another factor entirely. They are not public entities or utilities, and they are not arms of the government. Some lawyers may disagree with me, but I believe that this is Constutionally protected under the First Amendment. And if it isn't, then it should be.
Or did I miss the Bible verse that says "thou shalt participate in the heathens and pagans wedding rituals, but flee from the gay wedding, for those who bake cakes for gays shall surely burn in hell."?

I almost hate to ask because I'm sure the answer will literally blow my mind at how obvious it was.
I'm only focused on the legal implications of the matters at hand. Any spiritual ramifications or justifications for discrimination I will leave to the individual and their god(s).

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Re: Indiana governor signs bill allowing businesses to reject gay customers

Postby RoosterOnAStick » Fri Apr 03, 2015 4:12 am

Actually, the issue is whether or not a for profit business has the right to not serve customers of any particular demographic. Considering that all of these controversies arose from whether or not a wedding cake should be made for gay couples by Christian owned bakeries, it is all boils down to this. It is about whether said business owners have a right to do that.

In general, the answer is no. Now, the next question is do religious beliefs provide a valid exemption from this. Well, as I keep saying, it depends on what I have said before. In some cases yes they could, in other cases no they do not. As for what those cases are I have already spelled them out.

A mention about the nature of this RFRA as opposed to others, as I said before the nature of this particular one is substantially different than the others, which is part of the controversy as well. If it wasn't that different, this wouldn't be nearly as big of an issue.
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Re: Indiana governor signs bill allowing businesses to reject gay customers

Postby ArcticFox » Fri Apr 03, 2015 4:05 pm

To remind everyone, AGAIN, businesses aren't looking to refuse to serve gay customers. They're refusing to be participants in an event they find morally objectionable.

The argument that people are looking to refuse to serve gay customers is a dishonest one. Nobody's saying "you can't buy products at my store because you're gay." Nobody. They're saying "I don't want to actively participate in a gay wedding ceremony."

To equate those two things is intellectually dishonest and the type of spin people are using to vilify people who simply want to be left alone.
A mention about the nature of this RFRA as opposed to others, as I said before the nature of this particular one is substantially different than the others, which is part of the controversy as well. If it wasn't that different, this wouldn't be nearly as big of an issue.
It really isn't any different. It's only getting the attention it is because of the timing. In fact, it's a bit looser than some other examples.
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Re: Indiana governor signs bill allowing businesses to reject gay customers

Postby Sstavix » Fri Apr 03, 2015 4:13 pm

You seem to keep avoiding my question....
Actually, the issue is whether or not a for profit business has the right to not serve customers of any particular demographic. ... It is about whether said business owners have a right to do that.

In general, the answer is no.
So do you believe the government should have the power to shut down and/or imprison people who refuse to provide service based on their beliefs?

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Re: Indiana governor signs bill allowing businesses to reject gay customers

Postby RoosterOnAStick » Fri Apr 03, 2015 4:38 pm


The argument that people are looking to refuse to serve gay customers is a dishonest one. Nobody's saying "you can't buy products at my store because you're gay." Nobody. They're saying "I don't want to actively participate in a gay wedding ceremony."
Except that baking a plain old cake is not actively participating in the wedding ceremony. That's the point I've been making the entire time. If being asked to put a pro-gay message or to serve the cake at the ceremony reception, that would be active participation.

So the refusal to bake a generic cake that could be used by either a gay or straight couple is implicitly saying that "you cannot buy products at my store because you are gay" whether that is the intended message or not. If the couple was asking for either a pro-gay message or to actively participate in the ceremony, then the denial of service would be based on an objectionable message or being asked to actively participate in the ceremony which would be a violation of the owners' beliefs.

These two situations are not equivalent and thus cannot be compared to one another. Baking a plain old wedding cake is not a form of speech or expression and does not contain any inherent message in it. Attempts to connect these otherwise unrelated situations I find flimsy at best. The connection just is not there.

As for the differences between the Indiana on, there is plenty of information on the substantial differences and why they matter. Here are two sources to start off. I chose these because they try to present more than one angle to this and give some historical background (the USA Today one in particular did a good job of laying out both the opponents and supporters sides):

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nati ... /70740366/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts ... -arkansas/

One of the things to keep in mind also is that unlike many other states, Indiana does not have any non-discrimination laws defined concerning LGBT and similar issues. Preventing discrimination does constitute an overriding interest, and lack of definition of what does and does not constitute as such leaves the door wide open.
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Re: Indiana governor signs bill allowing businesses to reject gay customers

Postby RoosterOnAStick » Fri Apr 03, 2015 4:51 pm

You seem to keep avoiding my question....
Actually, the issue is whether or not a for profit business has the right to not serve customers of any particular demographic. ... It is about whether said business owners have a right to do that.

In general, the answer is no.
So do you believe the government should have the power to shut down and/or imprison people who refuse to provide service based on their beliefs?
I thought I addressed it, my mistake. Let me address it now then...

Do I believe the government should imprison people? No, that is ridiculous. I don't recall business owners being forced to do time when refusing customers on the basis of race once segregation had ended. That to me would be cruel and unusual given the nature of the violation.

Do I believe that they should be allowed to shut down a business? That I am not sure yet though I am currently leaning towards no. I haven't made up my mind on that one I admit. I guess it boils down to whether or not they are allowed to compel businesses to provide the service and what the government should do if they still refuse.

That said, do I believe that they can compel businesses to comply with the customer's request? As I continue to maintain, it depends on the nature of the request. So let's say the business refuses to make a generic wedding cake. Do I believe the government can tell a business to comply with the request? Yes, I do, because again, the issue is that a plain cake with no message or request to directly participate in the ceremony constitutes refusal of service on the grounds of the identity of the customer. Thus it constitutes a form of unlawful and immoral discrimination, in this case based solely on the sexual orientation of the couple. As a form of discrimination (regardless of whether it is intended or not) the government can and should override this. This kind of overriding is the right thing to do and is done with all other forms of discrimination as well.

As I have also maintained before, it would be wrong for the government to compel a business to comply with a request if and only if a pro-LGBT message is requested or a request is made for the business to directly participate in the wedding ceremony itself. That would be forcing these people to violate their conscience due to their religious beliefs. This would constitute a violation of freedom of religion and thus a 1st amendment violation.
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Re: Indiana governor signs bill allowing businesses to reject gay customers

Postby ArcticFox » Fri Apr 03, 2015 5:00 pm

Except that baking a plain old cake is not actively participating in the wedding ceremony. That's the point I've been making the entire time. If being asked to put a pro-gay message or to serve the cake at the ceremony reception, that would be active participation.
Well good then we're in agreement. Nobody has refused to sell a generic cake to anyone.

...Although this might be irrelevant, since I always thought a wedding cake was, by definition, a custom request. I dunno.
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Re: Indiana governor signs bill allowing businesses to reject gay customers

Postby RoosterOnAStick » Fri Apr 03, 2015 5:11 pm


...Although this might be irrelevant, since I always thought a wedding cake was, by definition, a custom request. I dunno.
Well it is kind of relevant because it gets into the all important question of what constitutes a plain old cake as opposed to one with a pro-gay message?

To me, the question is does it contain an explicitly pro-gay or anti-Christian message? Examples would be messages that actually do say something to the effect of saying gay pride, anti-Christian messages, or protests against traditional marriages. This would include symbols that are used with the express intent of sending those kinds of explicit messages.

That's the line I draw and to me is the most clear cut one. I'm sure some kind of defining line will be drawn eventually, it will need to be. If I had my way, this would be the one I'd put in place. It is clear, explicitly defined, and easy to measure.
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Re: Indiana governor signs bill allowing businesses to reject gay customers

Postby Deepfreeze32 » Fri Apr 03, 2015 5:19 pm

So as an unmarried person, my opinion doesn't carry that much weight, but I've seen two kinds of wedding cake:

Generic.

This is the prototypical wedding cake, three or four tiered layers, white frosting. No writing, no art, just cake.


Themed.

One of my friends had a cake with a chocolate laptop on top, complete with a hand-drawn Neverwinter Nights menu screen. I'll try and dredge some pictures up.



In regards to a same-sex wedding, I see three scenarios.
  1. A generic cake
  2. A themed cake with a message unrelated to the wedding (see Neverwinter Nights cake)
  3. A cake with a message related to the wedding
While I wouldn't really care in any of these, I can understand why people would feel uncomfortable with option 3. Not so much with 1 or 2 (excepting what I say below).

I don't think you should be allowed to refuse to provide a generic cake, or a themed cake that doesn't offend your sensibilities (though how you would legislate that is beyond me). I remain somewhat undecided on whether or not you should be allowed to refuse a themed cake if you dislike the theme, but I lean towards yes. Not because of same-sex marriage, but because suppose someone wants you to make an incredibly profane or gory cake and you don't feel comfortable doing that?


Actually, RoosterOnAStick beat me to it, lol.


Side note, if you don't want to provide a cake to a same-sex couple, why not just say that you're booked up, or won't be able to complete it in time (or other skirt-around-the-truth methods)? No one gets offended, and you don't have to do something you don't want to. And you avoid nasty publicity. I have no problem if you don't want to do it, but you don't have to be rude about it.


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