Column: Why I can't make cakes for gay weddings

What I didn’t say was that I wouldn’t sell them a cake.I’m happy to sell a cake to anyone, whatever his or her sexual identity. People should be free to make their own moral choices. I don’t have to agree with them.But I am responsible for my own choices. And it was that responsibility that led me to decline when two gentlemen came into my shop and invited me to create a wedding cake for their same-sex ceremony.Designing a wedding cake is a very different thing from, say, baking a brownie. When people commission such a cake, they’re requesting something that’s designed to express something about the event and about the couple.


The interesting question about this case isn't whether one has the right to practice religion freely or whether the right to equal treatment supersedes that. I think those questions are already settled. The interesting question in this case, and the one that will decide which was it goes is the age old question of "what is art?"

It is generally accepted law that we can't force artists to create work that violates their beliefs. On the other hand it is also generally accepted that service providers can't exclude customers because of religious belief. On the one extreme your plummer can't tell you he won't fix your drain because you're a catholic. On the other hand we can't force a Satanist sculptor to create a manger scene for your church. That's not the question being asked here. The question is whether a cake counts as artistic expression that ought to be protected.

Personally I have no idea, and I'm not afraid to admit that. The interesting thing here is that 99 percent of cakes that we all encounter don't and aren't intended to convey a point of view. But that 1% (or less) that are (as anyone can see on the Food Network these days) sure could be counted as creative expression. I think it's less than ideal to have to have the Court decide what counts as art, but I suppose it's less bad than having to leave the law undecided. We'll see.

PS: Nice to hear from you again! Been a while.

posted by hootsbox: 230 days ago