So this week the Supreme Court sort of ruled in favor of the Colorado baker who didn’t want to make a cake for a same-sex wedding case. The case has to be heard again, and was a narrow ruling despite the 7-2 vote, or if you prefer in meme form:
WHEN I SAID IT WAS A NARROW RULING I MEANT IT WAS SPECIFIC TO THIS CASE AND DOESN’T SET A SWEEPING PRECEDENT, WHICH HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE FACT IT WAS 7-2. THEY ARE TWO TOTALLY DIFFERENT CONCEPTS.
— Josh Greenman (@joshgreenman) June 4, 2018
— Supreme Court Places (@SCOTUSPlaces) June 4, 2018
But I wanted to talk about the case in general. I can understand feeling put-upon having to do creative work for something you don’t support. I think I’m kind of OK in this specific case with letting the guy not bake the cake, especially since in this day and age the number of people that would refuse to do so would be hopefully few, even in more conservative areas. (I think?)
The problem is that this is a pretty slippery slope. I’m not a huge fan in general of slippery-slope arguments, but what about:
- A wedding photographer who doesn’t want to take pictures at a same-sex wedding
- A cake baker who doesn’t approve of interracial couples and doesn’t want to bake a cake for them
- A wedding DJ who doesn’t want to play music for an African-American couple
- A pediatrician who doesn’t believe same-sex couples should have children and doesn’t want to treat them
- A hotel clerk who doesn’t approve of same-sex couples sharing a room
- A grocery checkout clerk who believes condoms are immoral and doesn’t want to ring them up
That hotel clerk one is not really a hypothetical – African-Americans had to deal with this sort of thing up until the 1960s, when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbade that kind of racial discrimination.
For me personally, I generally feel like people should do their jobs, and providing a service to someone isn’t an endorsement of their life. If we have some sort of exemption for people producing a creative work for an actual wedding ceremony, I would probably be OK with that as long as it was extremely narrowly tailored.