Sunday, December 11, 2016

Are wedding providers who refuse to serve same-sex weddings expected to lie?

They may not be refusing because they are gay. They may be refusing because they have to put speech on their wedding products which state that that which is being celebrated is a marriage, when they firmly believe it is not a marriage. In other words, they are objecting to being asked to lie.

This hinges on a distinction between providing a product, in which case the protected status of gay people can be applied, and providing speech, in which case the right to free speech should outweigh concerns of nondiscrimination.

10 comments:

Jo F said...

Perhaps the act of providing the product itself--regardless of whether additional words are written--implies that the cake provider assents to the matrimony of their union. And so, their freedom of speech would again be denied to them. However, if I were the cake salesmen I would probably provide the product, but I wouldn't write anything explicitly condoning their union or affirming it as marriage.

John Moore said...

Imagine a telegraph operator whose customer wants to send a telegram congratulating his friend on his gay wedding. Could the devout Christian telegraph operator refuse to send such a telegram?

Maybe the telegraph operator is just a conduit, or a technical means to an end, and the speech belongs to the customer alone.

And maybe a cake baker is significantly similar to a telegraph operator.

B. Prokop said...

Nice try, John, but the two cases are in no way similar or analogous. The telegraph operator adds nothing to the transmission of information. What he receives is what he sends out. The "voice" in the telegram remains that of the customer. The baker is a creator. His product is uniquely an expression of his talent and artistry. The service he provides is his voice, not that of the customer.

oozzielionel said...

Wedding cakes often also require delivery and setup at the venue, increasing the participation of the provider. This goes for florists as well. The artistic speech is likely the key element. There can also be participation in an event with religious significance.

Ilíon said...

John Moore: "Imagine a telegraph operator whose customer wants to send a telegram congratulating his friend on his [successful planned-disruption of a] gay [sic] wedding [sic]. Could the devout [Secularist] telegraph operator refuse to send such a telegram?

Maybe the telegraph operator is just a conduit, or a technical means to an end, and the speech belongs to the customer alone.

And maybe a cake baker is significantly similar to a telegraph operator.
"

The thing is, you people will say *anything* ... and its opposite.

John Moore said...

OK, how about this idea then: Suppose you are an actor in a movie, and the character you play is a cold-blooded murderer. You of course would never commit an actual murder in real life! Certainly not. Can the devout Christian actor play a murderer in a movie?

In this case, the actor puts far more of himself into his art than the cake baker or florist. But the actor isn't saying people should commit murder. The actor is just performing a role. Maybe cake bakers and florists can also "just perform a role" when providing service for gay weddings.

Maybe you'll say the Christian actor can only play a murderer in a movie with a wider moral message that is consistent with Christian teachings. This is a nice ideal for Christian actors to have, but I wonder if it's realistic. Lots of movies have very ambiguous moral messages. What about horror movies? What about movies where the bad guy loses in the end but still looks really cool and fashionable?

I suspect many Christian actors who play bad guys explain it to themselves like this: Some murderers really get away with it, and that's the truth, so I'm just conveying a truth about life.

Christian actors in horror films might explain like this: It's fun for viewers when they get spooked, and it could be part of their own process of self-discovery, and they know deep down that it's not real, so there's no harm in it.

So anyway, maybe Christian bakers and florists can use the same kinds of explanations to justify providing service for gay weddings. It's a simple truth that gay people exist, and these days they are actually getting legally "married." Having my cake and flowers is just nice for those gay people, and it might give them a positive impression about their Christian neighbors. They know I don't actually approve of their so-called marriage. So it's all in good fun.

Ilíon said...

^ Now you're trying to elide the difference between acting as the lead character in a movie/play about a murderer and acting as the lead character in a snuff-film or a porno.

Mr. Green said...

John Moore: Lots of movies have very ambiguous moral messages.

Let's not be coy: lots of movies have flat-out immoral messages. And yes, it is wrong for a Christian (or anyone else) to act in them. This can hardly be a surprise to anyone. Even less can it be supposed that it's right to force someone to act in such a film against his will.

and they know deep down that it's not real, so there's no harm in it.

So you're saying that it should be considered all right to make the cake or what have you because, after all, same-sex "marriages" aren't real? Well, true enough, but that only strengthens the position of those who do not wish to co-operate.

B. Prokop said...

Mr. Green points out where John's actor analogy fails. For it to be relevant, we'd have to see actors being compelled to play the part of a murderer, under threat of ruinous hostile legal action if he declines to do so.

Ilíon said...

^^ ^
There is another aspect of this, too (hint: the hypocrisy).

Imagine some totally mayonnaise and white bread couple (male and female) go to some florist or photographer or baker to engage his services for their upcoming wedding. And suppose he declines their custom.

Then what?

Nothing, of course. The couple go to someone else. End of story.


Now, suppose this white bread couple had targeted that business -- as all these "gay" "couples" in the news explicitly did -- knowing beforehand that he would decline their custom. They do, and he does ...and then they trot their crybully selves to the media to whimper about their victimhood and oppression. Then what? Why, then *everyone* (including John Moore) laughs at them for trying to play that dishonest little game.