This story--Colorado Bakery Allegedly Denies Wedding Cake To Local Gay Couple--gave me such mixed feelings upon reading it. And I may not have my opinion settled by the time I finish writing this blog entry. And maybe not even then.
My first gut reaction was this: Why is this even news? What is the big deal about this bakery that you cannot find a hundred other Denver area bakeries who think that your money is more valuable than their outdated belief system.
Let's look at the facts: Same-sex marriage is not yet legal in Colorado. And if I understand things correctly, while "it is illegal [in Colorado] by discrimination on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity or expression in employment, housing, public accommodations, education and credit"1, that may not extend to business practices. Which means that if you are a narrow-minded bigot who wants to refuse to perform a service based on someone's sexual orientation, you are well within your legal rights to do so, in Colorado. And there is not a doggone legal thing that I can do about it.(I may be completely wrong about this, and if so, please feel free to correct me.)
And then that is where my head turned around and around. There might not be anything legal about it, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with calling out your legal bigotry by plastering your name all over the news for your bigoted legal practices.
By all means, tell everyone everywhere about the fact that this company refused to bake you a wedding cake. Show them how stupid they are. Make sure that opposite-gender couples who might be looking at getting a wedding cake made avoid going to this company. Heaven knows what other kind of awful practices a company with an owner this stupid has. And Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood bakery owner Jack Phillips is apparently a really stupid businessman.
So let us talk about the stupidity involved with refusing a couple a wedding cake. In the first place, God is not going to judge you for providing a service to people who are paying you money for it. You are baking a cake. You have no moral obligation to ensure that the intended purpose of the cake is met. The couple is going to get married with or without your cake.
1 Corinthians 5:11 does read, "But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother or sister who is sexually immoral or greedy, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber. Do not even eat with such a one." But this is followed up by 5:12: "For what have I to do with judging those outside? Is it not those who are inside that you are to judge?" Paul is clearly talking about people whom you personally associate with, not those who you would be doing business with.
Even if you are one of those Christians who identifies "sexual immorality" with same-gender relationships, this passage is still about your personal life. If you are going to pick and choose who you do business with, then you will have to start doing background checks on anyone who comes in for a wedding cake, not just the apparent "sexual immoral" who show up occasionally (I say apparent because you have no idea what anyone is doing in the bedroom...except maybe Kim Kardashian). And try to keep the idolaters from buying from you. And then there's the drunkards. Has this guy ever been to a wedding?
And finally, I have to confess, it really is not fair for me to tell this couple to get over it and find someone else. I have "San Francisco Bay privilege." In this area, it is completely unthinkable that someone would be refused service because of the business owner's religious beliefs. Even though same-sex marriage is not legal in California, we had absolutely no problem shopping around for a cake when we got married last month, finding a caterer that had what we wanted, finding a photographer or even scanning at Macy's for wedding registry. There was never a question about who it was that was getting married. It might not be so easy in Lakeland, Colorado, even if it is a suburb of Denver. Still, it looks like these gentlemen found a much better baker anyway.