Author Topic: Baking a Cake: Irish Edition  (Read 2609 times)

TheDrake

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Baking a Cake: Irish Edition
« on: January 06, 2022, 04:55:26 PM »
Ashers 'gay cake' case: European court rules case inadmissible

Why are people always having a go at the bakers? Why not someone refusing to print gay marriage t-shirts, or coffee mugs, or posters, or bumper stickers, or any other freaking thing you can write words on?

Second, I get the whole discrimination angle, but is it really that important when there are a dozen other bakeries that will be happy to get your business? You're not being shut out, and you can get the thing you want.

I really see this as similar to all-women's gyms. I mean, technically you could argue that it is discriminatory. But given that you have dozens of alternatives, does it matter?

alai

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Re: Baking a Cake: Irish Edition
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2022, 06:43:33 PM »
Why are people always having a go at the bakers?
Are they?  I thought it was mainly this one case, only it's rumbled on as long as it has!  (Though apparently from the judgement, not as long as it could have if they'd taken a Human Rights Act action to the UK Supreme Court (via whatever route and other courts that might have further taken.)

TheDrake

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Re: Baking a Cake: Irish Edition
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2022, 09:38:28 PM »
The case I'm more familiar was in Colorado. There was another one in Oregon.

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alai

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Re: Baking a Cake: Irish Edition
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2022, 01:11:58 AM »
The case I'm more familiar was in Colorado. There was another one in Oregon.

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Interesting.  The Oregon case looks vastly weaker for those bakers on the face of it, as they seem to have refused to make an actual (and indeed legal) wedding cake, as opposed to the NI case, where it was a more abstract political slogan.  Though there was a particular bait-and-switch aspect to that, as the order was initially accepted, and then later rescinded.

One of the arguments mentioned in connection with the Colorado case is the "artiste" one.  (Versus the "business open to the public" characterisation.)  That seems a particular stretch, in the (to continue the Irish theme) "notions of himself" direction.  Are they advertising on the basis of bespoke commissions where they accept some modest honorarium for creations exclusively moved by their own personal muse?  (Or The Holy Spirit, I should no doubt say, lest that sound unduly pagan.)  Do they advertise they'll decorate cakes to order without explicit qualification?  Do they specifically mention wedding cakes, with or without some rider as to type of marriage is involved?  Do they expressly say Traditional Christian Bakery, or some such?   Because in several of these scenarios, it certainly seems that refusal of such a request as a "business open to the public" crosses over the line of "subjecting gay persons when they seek goods and services in an open market", in favour of a "please do not ask, as a refusal may offend" one.

By way of a final thought:  mmmmmm, caaaaaake.

Wayward Son

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Re: Baking a Cake: Irish Edition
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2022, 01:59:38 AM »
I think alia hit it right on the nose on why bakers are always the ones that they go after.

T-shirts, coffee mugs, posters, bumper stickers, gyms--they are all fine, but we can live without them.

But everybody wants cake.  Denying someone cake is just asking for trouble, for whatever reason!  >:(  ;D

TheDrake

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Re: Baking a Cake: Irish Edition
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2022, 10:13:18 AM »
I also think maybe bakers because they are more likely to be rogue sole proprietors. I don't think you have a lot of Mom & Pop graphic arts companies. They are also the most directly tied to weddings, although there is other custom printed wedding paraphernalia like napkins.

In Philips case, he's at least not a one trick pony. He also refused to make Halloween cakes because, Satan.

LetterRip

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Re: Baking a Cake: Irish Edition
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2022, 12:52:56 PM »
TheDrake,

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Why are people always having a go at the bakers? Why not someone refusing to print gay marriage t-shirts, or coffee mugs, or posters, or bumper stickers, or any other freaking thing you can write words on?

Second, I get the whole discrimination angle, but is it really that important when there are a dozen other bakeries that will be happy to get your business? You're not being shut out, and you can get the thing you want.

Do you think restaurants should have been allowed to refuse to serve 'coloreds' in the 1960's based on the same reasoning?  Bigotry is bigotry, and businesses should not be allowed to exclude customers based on bigotry.  If they want to do it as a hobby and not a source of income, they are welcome to be as big a bigot as they wish, if they want a business license they can follow non-discrimination policies.

alai

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Re: Baking a Cake: Irish Edition
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2022, 01:09:23 PM »
I also think maybe bakers because they are more likely to be rogue sole proprietors. I don't think you have a lot of Mom & Pop graphic arts companies. They are also the most directly tied to weddings, although there is other custom printed wedding paraphernalia like napkins.

In Philips case, he's at least not a one trick pony. He also refused to make Halloween cakes because, Satan.
Oh no!  Rogue cakes!  We'll all be destroyed! O.O  ... by deliciousness.  And coronary heart disease, admittedly.

Maybe the custom printers (etc) are less "hands on", and hence feel more personally involved, and thus entitled to whimsically refuse.  After all, they're not cutting and pasting the requested text into the printer and hitting "go", they are -- or someone in their organisation is, at least -- piping these hated hellish symbols onto their slabs of victoria sponge manually.

I'm not sure if I like him even less as a serial self-righteous griefer, or slightly more as at least having some shred of "right-wing evangelical party line" consistency.  Slightly leaning to the latter at present but ask me again in 5m.  I guess that one at least has "seasonal" cues.  If every other "open to the public for custom decoration to order" bakery in town is displaying "Halloween" samples in their windows, and they're not, inferences might be drawn.  Less obvious to me if it'd be obvious for wedding cakes.  Should prospective clients scan displays for two morning suits or two big puffy white dresses atop existing gays, or else assume they should take their business elsewhere?

Do you think restaurants should have been allowed to refuse to serve 'coloreds' in the 1960's based on the same reasoning? 
Or given the LDS-adjacent forum we're posting on, and the "religious freedom" spin on this, even up to 1978.  "Sorry, we only serve Priesthood Holders here.  The Curse of Ham is upon you, begone."

Supposed right-wing intellectual J*rd*n P*t*rs*n squeaked his way through this one in one interview, was clean-bowled middle stump, and completely folded on his original point.

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If they want to do it as a hobby and not a source of income, they are welcome to be as big a bigot as they wish, if they want a business license they can follow non-discrimination policies.
It's also to do with how they advertise.  Is their business model "send us your message, and we'll stick it on a cake"?  Or is it "we're  temperamental aesthetes, and will entertain commissions only insofar as they accord with the purity of our own vision"?  If they're baiting-and-switching and between the two as suits themselves, much wailing and gnashing of teeth is likely to result.

TheDrake

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Re: Baking a Cake: Irish Edition
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2022, 01:29:41 PM »
TheDrake,

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Why are people always having a go at the bakers? Why not someone refusing to print gay marriage t-shirts, or coffee mugs, or posters, or bumper stickers, or any other freaking thing you can write words on?

Second, I get the whole discrimination angle, but is it really that important when there are a dozen other bakeries that will be happy to get your business? You're not being shut out, and you can get the thing you want.


Do you think restaurants should have been allowed to refuse to serve 'coloreds' in the 1960's based on the same reasoning?  Bigotry is bigotry, and businesses should not be allowed to exclude customers based on bigotry.  If they want to do it as a hobby and not a source of income, they are welcome to be as big a bigot as they wish, if they want a business license they can follow non-discrimination policies.

For the analogy to work, it isn't "can they enter the business" gay people can go to these bakeries and buy cookies all day long. They are not banned. They aren't excluding the customers, they are excluding a custom product.

The equivalent would be a baker refusing to bake a cake celebrating BLM maybe? That wouldn't be protec ed, and I doubt the baker would get in trouble but they might. If this were just one bakery out of a dozen in the city? I couldn't care less.

Or to tighten the analogy even more, A baker who refused to put a black groom figurine next to a white bride? Miscegenation opponent bakers might have been that nuanced, theoretically. Again, I don't see that as a particularly significant oppression to get worked up about when you could avoid or boycott that business, or just jam your own figurines on their cake.

After all, unless you went out of your way to announce that it was for a gay couple, how would anyone even know? Most wedding cakes are non-descript and generic looking. Flowers and such. They usually don't have names or any other writing.

alai

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Re: Baking a Cake: Irish Edition
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2022, 02:27:21 PM »
Or to tighten the analogy even more, A baker who refused to put a black groom figurine next to a white bride? Miscegenation opponent bakers might have been that nuanced, theoretically. Again, I don't see that as a particularly significant oppression to get worked up about when you could avoid or boycott that business, or just jam your own figurines on their cake.
You seem to be presuming this would a "going out of their way to be oppressed" case.  If it were doing business as The Miscegenation Opponent Bakery, if the wannabe-customers had heard of them doing so in the past and sought to construct a test case, that'd be as you describe.  But if such customers were refused on that basis entirely unsuspectingly, isn't that an instance of "indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market"? Or just one that should be outwith legal redress?  The "indignity" seems if anything more important than any possible lack of cake -- serious as that is -- rather than something to be ignored in favour of the other.

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After all, unless you went out of your way to announce that it was for a gay couple, how would anyone even know? Most wedding cakes are non-descript and generic looking. Flowers and such. They usually don't have names or any other writing.
Doesn't sound like the Colorado-case couple were "going out of their way to announce", other than by both being in the shop concurrently and having failed to have sought to (or succeed in) hiding the nature of their relationship.  They "promptly left
Masterpiece without discussing with Phillips any details of their wedding cake," so it's hardly as if it came to "I'll do anything for love, but I won't do that", as the song would have it, in terms of too much customisation being asked of the... well, cake-customisation service!  Doesn't sound like an instance of "seeking out" either.  Surely you're not suggesting "you can buy wedding cakes while gay, not not while 'out' for the purposes of the transaction" as an acceptable standard?

Grant

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Re: Baking a Cake: Irish Edition
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2022, 02:41:09 PM »
Why are people always having a go at the bakers? Why not someone refusing to print gay marriage t-shirts, or coffee mugs, or posters, or bumper stickers, or any other freaking thing you can write words on?

How dare you compare t-shirts, or mugs, or anything, to CAKE?  CAKE, SIR. CAKE!  And wedding cake at that! Have you ever dealt with a bride not getting exactly what they want?  It is an affront to Gawd!  Not the unknowable unfathomable creation Gawd of Aristotle or Aquinas.  I'm talking about the Gawd of the Israelites in Egypt.  I'm talking about the Gawd that rains down frogs and kills your first born if they're not circumcised.  Now multiply that by gay bride.  Wars have been started over less, Mr. Ambassador.  Having your wedding, and our wedding, in such proximity, without the cake we want, is inherently dangerous.  Nobody gives a flying bleep about mugs and t-shirts.  Have you ever met a religious t-shirt or mug manufacturer anyways?  CAKE! 

TheDrake

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Re: Baking a Cake: Irish Edition
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2022, 02:55:06 PM »
I'm not suggesting anything about whether a business should or should not be allowed, etc, etc, etc. My proposal centered around whether it was important, not whether it was okay or wrong.

I'm saying it doesn't seem like something worth spending 5+ years of your life to address. That is, of course, up to them. If I had to blame somebody, it would be their wedding planner who apparently referred them there. Bad research on their part. Or a deliberate attempt to provoke a court case - but I have no evidence of that. I'm not them. I can't judge their level of humiliation predicated on a lifetime of experiences. That's the Colorado case.

In the Irish case, we're talking about a blatant "going out of their way to be oppressed".

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In 2014 Gareth Lee, a gay rights activist, placed an order with Ashers Baking Company, a Belfast bakery,[5] for a cake decorated with the slogan "support gay marriage" as same-sex marriage was illegal in Northern Ireland at the time.

In the course of researching some of these, I did find a case of a florist getting sued for not selling flowers for a gay wedding. That is not apparently a going out of their way, the couple had been long time customers of the florist in question. Which in some ways might have felt more of a betrayal and humiliating.

alai

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Re: Baking a Cake: Irish Edition
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2022, 03:35:55 PM »
I'm not suggesting anything about whether a business should or should not be allowed, etc, etc, etc. My proposal centered around whether it was important, not whether it was okay or wrong.
Well, it was important enough for you to post about, so surely you can empathise as a disproportionately involved uninvolved person, to that degree. :)

Obviously this is 'an issue' in all sorts of legal matters.  The law may or may not be an ass (or arse), but access to the law.  If I'm a person of immense means, and you give me some petty injury, I can sic my feral attack lawyers on you and not give it much further thought.  If I have significant but not unlimited resources, I might have to weigh up whether it's the hill I want to die on.  If lack those, it's not even an option for me.  But there's a public-policy question in there, so whether or not the litigants were personally wise to pursue it seems in that sense to be a separate matter, and one less amenable to comment on.

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In the Irish case, we're talking about a blatant "going out of their way to be oppressed".
Note that Ashers is owned by a Belfast 'evangelical and born-again Christian' couple.  i.e., Prods.  Thus, likely feel extremely oppressed by being characterised as part of an "Irish" case. :)

Obviously here it's not a wedding cake per se at all, it was a political point in itself.  I'm honestly unclear if Lee just wanted the fanciest such cake for his point, or from his most local or most preferred bakery, or actually sought out the baker most likely to refuse in order to make a further one.

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In the course of researching some of these, I did find a case of a florist getting sued for not selling flowers for a gay wedding. That is not apparently a going out of their way, the couple had been long time customers of the florist in question. Which in some ways might have felt more of a betrayal and humiliating.
Doesn't sound like a request to provide "personally offensive customisation" either, so yeah.  Ouchies.

And wedding cake at that! Have you ever dealt with a bride not getting exactly what they want?  It is an affront to Gawd!
Whyever should be we be deprived by the mere Incidental of discussing all-male couples (in each of the cases I've actually bothered to look at at least) of someone riffing on the "bridezilla" trope?

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Now multiply that by gay bride.
Oops, I typed too soon.  Very OSC-affine, though!

TheDrake

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Re: Baking a Cake: Irish Edition
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2022, 03:57:43 PM »
Why did I find it important to post? I didn't. I found it amusing to discuss the "why bakers" angle. It is costing me relatively little of my time and will be soon forgotten.

People ask me why I say "buy corporate" and not "buy local". Corporations don't make decisions about customers based on their personal beliefs. They have no personal beliefs, convictions, connections, or agendas. Owners of large private corporations certainly might, but they wouldn't let it affect operations directly. They sometimes pander based on the beliefs of their target demographic. They don't let themselves get into a situation where they'll get boycotted or sued into oblivion.

Not one of Carvel's 320 locations is going to balk at providing Fudgy the Whale ice cream cakes to gay people, for weddings or otherwise. Neither are any of the major grocery chains in the US, Canada, and Europe, AFAIK. But corporate vs local is probably a topic all its own, I merely include it as an aside.

TheDeamon

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Re: Baking a Cake: Irish Edition
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2022, 01:47:20 PM »
After all, unless you went out of your way to announce that it was for a gay couple, how would anyone even know? Most wedding cakes are non-descript and generic looking. Flowers and such. They usually don't have names or any other writing.

Names on wedding cakes aren't unheard of. There also was a trend about ten years ago or so, that probably persists, where they can now incorporate (edible) photos into the cake's design as well.

"Congratulations on your marriage, Steve and Dave" would be rather on the nose for making it evident that the couple in question is gay. But then, there isn't much artistry involved putting the writing on the cake. Of course, I guess I have the additional benefit of extended family members who worked at a bakery in the past and can do the cake decorating for us. So we can simply buy a "completed cake" and have them put the finishing touches on it. (IE add any desired figurines, put the writing on it, etc)

alai

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Re: Baking a Cake: Irish Edition
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2022, 11:14:33 AM »
"Congratulations on your marriage, Steve and Dave" would be rather on the nose for making it evident that the couple in question is gay. But then, there isn't much artistry involved putting the writing on the cake. Of course, I guess I have the additional benefit of extended family members who worked at a bakery in the past and can do the cake decorating for us. So we can simply buy a "completed cake" and have them put the finishing touches on it. (IE add any desired figurines, put the writing on it, etc)
The background facts of the Colorado case, as I mentioned, seems to have not even got to that point, but simply to the "no Steve and Day, you can't have a cake for your wedding (unless it's not to each other)" one.  Maybe there were intemperate words exchanged in one or both directions to bring it to that point, it's not 100% clear.

The "not much artistry" comment seems a little harsh, but it strikes me there's a something of a spectrum of "business open to the public" to "fine artist entertaining offers of commissions", and it's closer to the first than the second.  If I were in the position of doing work-for-hire on a message I personally strongly disagreed with, I'd certainly rather it was at the "cut and paste" level rather than the "detailed manual labour" one.  (Much less "pouring my soul into a bespoke artwork".)