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The Scoop - Wedding cakes and discrimination

The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a Colorado baker and determined he doesn't have to make a wedding cake for a gay couple because of his religious beliefs.

After pondering this case for months, I reluctantly agree with the Supreme Court ruling, although there are some tough questions to tackle.

It won't be the last word from the Supreme Court on deciding gay rights vs. religious freedom as a similar case is pending that involves a florist who didn't want to provide flowers for a same-sex wedding.

One of the biggest obstacles for me is substituting another party for the gay couple. What if a baker refused to make a cake for a black person because of religious beliefs? Or what if a Japanese man refused to fix a laptop for a white woman based on his beliefs?

Religion is a tricky subject as we've all seen churches in the same denomination split because of differences in beliefs. When you factor in different denominations and different religions, a person can do just about anything in the name of their God.

Another roadblock for me, at least in the churches I've attended, is the preachers always stress how we should be welcoming and forgiving as Christians. We should show love and compassion. We should travel across the globe doing mission work for people we don't even know.

We should give as generously as we can and help those less fortunate than we are. We should do all this, I suppose, unless they are a same-sex couple and then it's OK to be mean and nasty.

With those two large objections, you might think it would be hard for me to side with the baker. Like I said, it's a challenging case, but I believe ultimately a private businessman has the right to deny service to any person he wants, whether citing religious beliefs or not.

It slaps the laws of business in the face to refuse service to a paying customer, but if a private business wants to take that route, that should be its choice. If refusing to serve a gay couple leads to more customers boycotting that business, that's a consequence. Or it could lead to a surge in customers from like-minded people who want to patronize the business for its stance.

Speaking for our business here at the Standard, I couldn't imagine refusing to sell a newspaper subscription to a gay couple based on religious beliefs. I couldn't imagine a restaurant posting a sign on the door declaring no service to gays because of religious beliefs of the owner.

Personally, I think the Supreme Court ruling is a very sad statement, but in this country where we enjoy so many freedoms, I have to side with allowing people to make their own decisions about who they serve.

In playing devil's advocate one last time, I can't help but wonder what the Supreme Court might say about a doctor going against his or her Hippocratic Oath and refusing to perform life-saving surgery on a gay man because of religious beliefs.

Would that be a totally different argument, or would it be pretty much the same?

Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.