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The Great Cake Debate: A Gay Marriage Update

May 18th, 2015

Much has happened since two small Colorado bakeries declined requests to make cakes and ended up facing an investigation by the State.  Both owners made the same decision for the same reason as they denied patrons a cake based on their personal beliefs.  What many people may not realize is that the very big difference between one cake baker and the other is which Constitutional right applies to each situation.  Also interesting is the impact that these and similar cases across the country have had since their humble beginnings. 

Case Update

As a brief reminder of the cases at issue, the first Colorado case that was brought to the state’s anti-discrimination agency involved a cake shop owner who declined a request by a gay couple to make their wedding celebration cake.  The owner cited to his religious beliefs in the denial by stating that because he is a practicing Christian, his faith disallowed him from participating in or condoning gay marriage.  The second case involved a different set of facts, namely a cake shop owner denying a request to bake a cake with anti-gay messages and bible references written on it.  This second baker did not cite to any religious belief, but stated that the messages requested were offensive and she denied all requests containing offensive material.

The Colorado Civil Rights Division found in favor of the patron in the first case, but found in favor of the bakery in the second.  Many people were initially angered by this supposed hypocrisy, but when the cases are analyzed more closely the discriminatory difference is glaring.  In the first, despite the loud protestation of the cake baker that he had the religious right under the Constitution to deny gay patrons a cake, that right does not allow a business person to treat someone differently based on his or her protected class — i.e. race, sex, disability, sexual orientation.  In the second case, the Civil Rights Division found that the cake shop owner did not violate anti-discrimination laws as the reason behind her denial was the nature of the message that was being requested.  Anti-discrimination laws do not prohibit businesses from refusing to serve someone based on offensive or derogatory statements or messages.

The Aftermath

While these two small bakeries in Colorado may not be the only reason that some legislators recently drafted and passed new laws purporting to protect the religious freedom of business owners, but the coincidence is difficult to ignore.  The most recent state to join 19 others in enacting a law purporting to protect its citizens’ religious freedom is Indiana.  There are few people who have not heard the resounding backlash to this law, and the outrage can arguably be linked to the cases mentioned above which are still fresh in the public’s mind.  These cases highlight how religious freedom laws can be used by businesses and that is very concerning to many Americans.  By using our country’s long-standing history of protecting a citizen’s right to hold certain religious beliefs as a weapon to deny services to one class of individuals, business owners are walking a dangerous line.  It is a precedent that the opponents of  these laws is determined to prevent and the Universal Life Church will continue to monitor for legislative developments so that all freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution are protected.


  1. Joe says:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal”. (men/women-our spirits are interchangeable. It is only the body that makes you either a man or woman. mankind). “That all men are created equal”. This statement from “The Declaration of Independence”-that all are equal and no one has any more rights than the other. Shoving your will done the thought of another is an unequal act. That act is from someone who thinks they have more rights than the other. This is why america is being destroyed by the IMF, etc.. “Divide and concur”! The business owner has the right to deny serves, period. The customer has the right to deny patronage, period. If one business owner or customer does not like what they see or hear, they can easily move on to the next one. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal”. As a multi-religion church, no other religion or preference should out trump another. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal”.

  2. Haruhito says:

    That cake is wonderful, Sam! I thhogut it was a bookstand at first, and how wonderful a Pern novel was one of the books on the cake! Oh, fabulous. And in a bookstore, where they first met…that’s kind of magical. Thanks for posting this so we could share it 🙂

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