A Piece Of Cake And Discrimination
Living in America, we have the privilege of having a wide-range of rights. Those rights can sometimes be taken out of context and used to infringe on the rights of others.
In Mr. Sebastian Mota’s article, “Can a baker refuse to create a transgender-themed cake?”, it explains the legal case of a baker, Mr. Jack Phillips, refusing to bake a cake because he felt that it violated his personal religious beliefs. The cake, in question, was for a transgender woman, Ms. Autumn Scardina, who wanted the cake as a “reflection of the fact that she transitioned from male-to-female and that she had come out as transgender on her birthday”. From there, a lawsuit followed up discussing the case whether bakery owners’ can exercise their religious freedom even though it might violate legal laws. Bakery owners should have the legal right to refuse to bake cakes they feel are inconsistent with their religious beliefs, but under certain circumstances that don’t discriminate individuals or violate their rights. For the most part, bakeries are known to be public accommodations for the public, and laws are created to ensure no one is denied access to those services. For instance, a bakery has an assortment of bakery delicacies ready for incoming customers to buy; if the baker declined to sell a donut or cupcake to an individual based on their “race, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity”, then the baker has illegally discriminated the individual.
On the other hand, if the baker was hired to bake a custom cake, then the baker has much more freedom to take or refuse the offer because the baker isn’t rejecting it based on an individual’s characteristics, but rather rejecting to make the cake itself. In the Masterpiece Cakeshop II case, the cake in Mr. Phillips’s eyes “promotes the idea that a person’s sex is anything other than an immutable God-given biological reality”. Mr. Phillips believed the cake was “violating his conscience” that a person can change their gender; therefore, that prompted him to decline his services to Ms. Scardina. The design itself was being refused not Ms. Scardina’s gender identity.
Given these points, there are certain situations a baker should be able to refuse service, but still be held accountable if they go beyond those situations. After all, practicing religious freedom is allowed in America, but should not in any way interfere with those that are outside the religion. Of course, for a case like Masterpiece Cakeshop II, the social and legal factors should be considered to prevent injustice in future court rulings. However, it is easier said than done when the legal system needs to catch up with society changes.
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