I’m all for equality without question. People should be treated equally, along with their beliefs, views, opinions etc. However, it seems to me that this simply isn’t the case in some aspects of our world. I admit that whilst I am fascinated and interested in politics and current events, I steer clear of writing about them on my blog.
What spurred me to write this is the Gay Cake Row that’s been in the news lately, and the verdict that Ashers bakery have been found guilty of discrimination against their customer for refusing to make a cake that supported gay marriage.
I guess I’m confused here. Yes, a gay customer can request a certain type of cake, nothing wrong with that. But if the owner of the bakery refuses because they don’t believe in gay marriage, then surely that is their right? And by prosecuting Ashers bakery the law is essentially saying “You can have your beliefs, but you must provide goods that go against those beliefs when asked.”
Isn’t that wrong?
Isn’t the gay community being overly sensitive here?
Shouldn’t this be a case of knowing where your boundaries are and leaving it be? You ask for a gay themed cake and are told no for a very specific reason, then surely reasonable logic should dictate that the cake maker has their own views and beliefs and you should respect them? Not force them to adhere to your set of beliefs or values simply because it suits you?
Surely gay rights activists are capable of respective someone else’s views, just as they want others to respect theirs? This ruling smacks of inequality to me.
What if I went into a gay cake shop and asked for a cake to be made that said “I believe gay marriage is wrong because it’s against my religion?” And if that gay cake shop refused would I be able to take them court and win?
Why not? Isn’t it the same thing?
Just for the record those aren’t my views and people should be free to marry who they like.
Take a look at this quote from the Guardian:
But in his summary, David Scoffield QC, acting for the bakery, said if Lee’s argument was right, a Muslim printer could not turn down a contract to print leaflets about the prophet Muhammad, an atheist could not turn down an order saying God made the world and a Roman Catholic printer could not decline making leaflets calling for the legalisation of abortion on demand.
Ashers’ lawyer said to force any of these individuals or his client to do this would infringe Article 9 (freedom of religion) of the Human Rights Act. “When someone is being forced to promote a cause with which they don’t agree, [it] is taking it a step too far,” Scoffield said.
I’ve just read the opening sections of Article 9 of the Human Rights Act, and it seems that Ashers cake shop were within their rights to refuse a customer a cake with a slogan that went against their beliefs.
That begs a question – when are equal rights not equal?
Twenty years ago I lived in an area where as a minority I was often verbally abused for being white. When shouted at by a group of people it can be intimidating and scary. To a degree I have an inkling of what it’s like to be on the receiving end of racial abuse, limited though it was.
Let me get this straight, I’m not here to bash anyone or their views in any way. I just find it a little odd that the subject of equal rights is often smeared across the media like a puppet dancing to someone’s tune just because it suits the mood – be that due to political or religious view or for any other trending cause, motivation or hidden agenda.
Take any Gay Pride March for example, though called Pride in London. I’ve never been to one, though I have seen and enjoyed the rich colour and diversity on TV. It pleases me that any group of people can come together to celebrate their unity, pride, strengths, passions, beliefs etc.
On a side note I think all crossings should be as colourful as the one below, and not limited to a special event!
But here’s the question – would there be an uproar and big backlash if someone organised a Straight Pride March?
I can imagine the outcry from the LGBT group who could insist such a march be offensive to them in some way. Obviously I can’t be certain about that assumption, but I’m willing to guess such an event would piss a lot of people off.
Another question – as the MOBO (Music of Black Origin) Awards, is held annually in London and recognises artists of any ethnicity or nationality performing black music, then would it be wrong to have a MOWO (Music of White Origin) Award too?
Why not? Both have much to celebrate in terms of musical styles, genres, histories etc.
Am I being naive here?
It seems to be that equality can be a term bandied about by some intent on pushing their cause at the detriment of someone else’s beliefs. Regarding the gay cake issue, if that had been me asking for a cake with a slogan supporting gay marriage, and the owners refused, I would have the sense to accept their reason and leave it be.
I had a choice to ask for the cake. They had the choice to refuse.
Arguments and counter-arguments aside, it really should be as simple as that.
Deal with it and move on.
I wouldn’t see the purpose of pursuing it to such great lengths, and at the same time causing undue stress to a business owner. Equality should be there for all, but certainly not at the expense of potentially damaging the reputation of a business or infringing someone’s rights and beliefs.
I question the motives behind the court case. Why would anyone draw such attention to themselves? Was it for money? Fame? Five minutes in the spot light? Did they believe so vehemently in their right to stand up and tell the world about their sexual orientation that they were willing to put a business owner through a shit storm just to have their say?
If you put a different slant on the gay cake row, you could indeed make it look like bullying.
“Do what I want and make my cake or I’ll bully you into accepting that I’m right and you’re wrong.”
Surely any reasonable person would have considered the potential media fall-out from making such a big deal out of nothing. Or was the disgruntled customer led by lawyers hell-bent on raising an issue where one shouldn’t have existed in the first place purely for their cause?
It would be a twist of fate, and possibly irony, if Ashers sued their gay cake ordering customer for loss of earnings due to their business being portrayed as anti-gay.
I could be wrong here with this post, and would love to hear what anyone thinks. Seriously. This isn’t meant to bash anyone, I’m just confused as to why equality doesn’t seem very equal.