Gay Issues
Gay Issues

Sorry, Bakery Doesn't Have to Make Pro-Gay Cupcakes

| by Illinois Family Institute

By David E. Smith, IFI Executive Director


Perhaps you've already heard about the most recent assault on citizens' freedom of conscience, which happened right here in the Midwest. The owners of the Just Cookies bakery in Indianapolis, David and Lily Stockton, politely declined to fill a special order for rainbow-decorated cupcakes from a group of students from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) who wanted to purchase them for a celebration of the shameful "National Coming Out Day."

The student who ordered the cupcakes, Heather Browning, is "IUPUI's coordinator for social justice education in the Office of Student Involvement." It is reported that she was ordering these cupcakes ironically "to honor the diversity on the campus of IUPUI."

Clearly she was not interested in honoring the diversity of moral views regarding homosexual acts that is found at IUPUI and everywhere else in the world. I assume that the IUPUI community includes some Orthodox Jews, Muslims, Catholics, and Protestants who believe homosexual acts are immoral and who couldn't in good conscience use their skills, time, and resources to create and profit from a product that promotes ideas that violate their religious convictions.

This troubling incident epitomizes the problems with "social justice" as conceived by contemporary universities. Social justice proponents seek to eradicate diversity when it comes to moral beliefs about volitional behavior with which they disagree. They want to render it illegal for people to act upon moral convictions regarding what constitutes a moral act.

The city of Indianapolis is now considering evicting the Just Cookies bakery from the location in the City Market where they have operated for twenty years.

Homosexual bullies and their heterosexual accomplices are now speciously attempting to turn this into an issue of "discrimination." They are claiming that the Stockton's refusal to fill this special order constitutes a violation of the city's troubling anti-discrimination policy which prohibits businesses from "discriminating" based on "sexual orientation" or "gender identity" (i.e. cross-dressing).

That claim is specious for multiple reasons.

First, homosexuality is a condition centrally defined by desire and volitional acts that many people of faith and those who follow no faith tradition believe are disordered and immoral. Homosexual activists have been successful in both duping Americans into believing that homosexuality is analogous to race and in bullying them into silence. This does not mean, however, that those who hold conservative beliefs are prohibited from acting on their conviction that homosexual acts are immoral.

This utterly absurd charge is based on a deliberate conflation of two meanings of discrimination. There is an important distinction between appropriate or ethical discrimination and unethical discrimination.

Discrimination can refer to making judgments or discriminating between right and wrong in which case it is a good, healthy, and essential personal and civic process. Illegitimate discrimination, on the other hand, refers to unfavorable treatment of others based on ignorance. As such, opinions about behavior--even negative opinions--formed after careful consideration do not represent illegitimate discrimation.

Conflating or deliberately obscuring the different meanings of discrimination, or asserting that all negative judgments reflect prejudice, plays on our country's racial guilt and depends on acceptance of the false analogy that homosexuality is analogous to race.

Principled opposition to homosexuality no more represents illegitimate prejudice or discrimination than does principled opposition to polyamory (aka euphemistically referred to as "ethical non-monogamy), adult consensual incest, pedophilia (euphemistically referred to as "intergenerational sex"), or cross-dressing (euphemistically referred to as "gender expression").

Second, those who have either lost the capacity to reason or who are deliberately misleading others are claiming that the refusal of the Stocktons to make rainbow-colored cupcakes constitutes discrimination against people because of their "sexual orientation."

But the Stocktons did not refuse to serve the IUPUI students. They refused to use their time, skills, and resources--all of which are gifts from a holy God--to create and sell a product that symbolizes and promotes ideas that they believe are immoral and destructive.

There has been no indication whatsoever that the Stocktons refused to sell other products to these students or that the Stocktons even knew the "sexual orientation" of the student who ordered the cupcakes. The IUPUI students were free to purchase plain cupcakes and decorate them with rainbow flags, clenched fists of defiance, or hammers and sickles, if their little tolerant hearts desired.

But that's not good enough for the disciples of diversity. They want to compel the bakery owners to provide a special creation for them and in so doing violate the Stocktons' consciences.

In order to think rightly about homosexuality, conservatives should always substitute an appropriate analog for homosexuality; polyamory is a much closer analog to homosexuality than is race. If a group of polyamorists were to request cupcakes decorated with five intertwined wedding bands to celebrate National Polyamory Day--a day which is surely in our future--would a baker be acting within his rights to decline such a request?

Organizations like IFI, Family Policy Councils, and American Family Association affiliates and Christian legal organizations like Liberty Counsel, Thomas More Law Center, Alliance Defense Fund, and the American Center for Law and Justice have tried to warn conservatives about the serious threat posed to First Amendment speech and religious liberty by allowing the terms "sexual orientation," "gender identity" (i.e. Gender Identity Disorder), and "gender expression" (i.e. cross-dressing) into anti-discrimination policies. The inclusion of these terms in anti-discrimination policies promotes two lies:

  • It promotes the lie that homosexuality is like race.

  • It promotes the idea that moral disapproval of homosexuality or acting on the belief that homosexual acts are immoral is wrong.
  • Conservatives need to oppose boldly and vigorously the inclusion of these terms in any anti-discrimination policy. It is as legitimate to make moral distinctions about homosexuality as it is to make moral distinctions about polyamory, adult consensual incest, or paraphilias.

    In this story of the homosexuals who stood at the door demanding, we can see a glimpse of the oppressive future that our silence and cowardice will bequeath to our children and grandchildren.