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viewpoint

You can’t make me sell a cake

| Wednesday, February 19, 2014

As a Viewpoint columnist, I feel compelled to bring to our readers’ attention political events that have serious implications, ones that threaten our freedom and ones that are just plain ridiculous. Today’s topic falls under all three categories.

With the recent legalization of gay marriage and civil unions in many states, we’ve seen quite a few cases where a gay couple files a lawsuit against a bakery for refusing to sell them a wedding cake. In these cases, the business owners refused mostly due to religious objections. Many ended up with severe fines and some were forced to shut down their bakeries. Laws have been passed in some states to bolster these lawsuits.

Throughout the rest of the article, I will explain why these recent events are unfair and why it should be perfectly acceptable to refuse to sell a gay couple a wedding cake.

First off, I want to emphasize that the main reason the bakery owners refused service was their religious objections to gay marriage. They are morally against it, but I want to point out these business owners aren’t trying to prevent gays from getting married. They just don’t want to be forced to provide a cake for a celebration of something they view as a sin. Nothing about that is unreasonable. Plus, I don’t see why the gay couple’s desire for a wedding cake should supersede someone’s religious beliefs, especially since the bakery owner’s religious beliefs are protected under the Constitution. The couple could have easily gone to another bakery. I severely doubt they would be unable to find a local bakery to make them a cake.

And then there is the larger issue of property rights. Some people may disagree with me when I say that religious objections are a legitimate reason to refuse a cake sale, but these people are missing the bigger point. You see, the bakery owners shouldn’t even have to give a reason for not making a sale. That’s the beauty of owning property. It’s yours.

As long as you don’t use it to cause harm, you may do with it what you please. If you make cakes, you should be free to sell them or not at your discretion. A government with the ability to force someone to sell a product is far too powerful. I would even go so far as to say that court rulings and current state laws forcing the bakers to sell cakes against their will are a form of theft. It is an act of unrightfully taking someone else’s property against his or her will.

Many people will likely disagree with this statement, but those that do probably don’t fully understand my argument. You see, I’m not saying that it’s morally acceptable to discriminate against groups of people. I’ll leave that for you to decide. However, there is a big difference between morality and legality. It is not the job of the government to legislate morality, and the very action of doing so is immoral in itself. So if someone doesn’t want to sell a gay couple a cake, fine. It’s not the end of the world. No harm done. Grow up and go to a different bakery instead of trying to destroy someone’s livelihood just because they don’t support your lifestyle.

In the end, I’m just trying to point out that there are many instances in which upstanding business owners have had their property and religious rights violated in the name of gay rights. The gay movement always talks about tolerance, but I think many of its members have to realize that tolerance isn’t a one-way street.

They can’t expect Christians to tolerate the gay lifestyle if they won’t tolerate Christians’ religious beliefs. Additionally, it’s fundamental to our existence as free Americans to make our own decisions pertaining to our property. And there are certainly many gay people that recognize this.

One of the most powerful examples is a story I heard about the so-called Chick-Fil-A Day. A large group of gay people actually went to support the restaurant on this day because they realized that although the company disagrees with their lifestyle, its leaders have the right to express their views. They realized that their own quest for acceptance does not allow the government to trample on the rights of others, and that’s what it comes down to at the end of the day.

I’ve heard many absurd stories, but hearing that people successfully sued a bakery for not selling them a wedding cake is in a league of its own. One might even say that of all the outrageous stories I’ve heard, this one really takes the cake.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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