Wedding Artists’ Rights
Can a for-profit business or an individual employed by a for-profit business make moral judgments? Yes, if they are judging their own actions. They have a right not to be forced to use their talents and skills to create something that they believe violates their sincerely held beliefs.
Suppose a customer comes into a bakery and asks for a cake in the shape of male private parts (I actually heard about such a thing), a baker would have every right to say, “I won’t do that,” and it wouldn’t matter if the client were gay or straight. Suppose a client were to come to a photographer and ask to pose naked or in pornographic positions. The photographer would have a right to say “I won’t do that,” and it wouldn’t matter if the client were gay or straight.
Suppose a group were to come an event planner, and ask them to organize a Circuit party where people engaged in sex with strangers and abused drugs, the planner would have every right to say “I can’t do that.” It wouldn’t matter if the participants were gay or straight.
In each case, the person requesting the service is not being discriminated against. Rather the provider would be discriminated against if he were forced to create something that offends his moral or religious values, or for that matter his aesthetic sensitivity.
The difference is clear if a client comes in and asks for what is already available, the merchant would have no cause not to sell it, but if a couple were to ask for something designed especially for them, the provider would be perfectly within his rights to say that he doesn’t create that type of product or service.
When a baker, photographer, florist or event planner is hired to do a wedding, they are intimately involved in the planning and have substantial contact with the couple. If they could not in good conscience congratulate a same-sex couple, they should have the right to tell such a couple that they could not put their heart into the project.
The bakers accused of discrimination were happy to make birthday cakes for all customers. The photographers were willing to take portraits and the florists to provide bouquets and arrangements whether those requesting them were gay or straight. They just didn’t want to use their artist skill to create a unique item that would celebrate something they didn’t believe in. Perhaps if, rather that guaranteeing religious freedom, the law had been written to guarantee freedom of artist expression, there might have been less controversy.
Put the shoe on the other foot, should a Jewish bakery be forced to make a wedding cake for a Neo-Nazi couple who wanted it decorated with swastikas? Should a black florist be forced to decorate a wedding where the participants came in KKK robes?
Those, who throw accusations of bigotry and hate at anyone who refuses to accept the full gay agenda, argue that a refusal to provide the desired service hurts the couple’s feelings. This is true, but there is no constitutional right not to have your feelings hurt. Yet, this is precisely what the gay activists are demanding. They want to create a legal climate where everyone who disagrees with them is driven from the public square. Those who will not surrender will be fined, sent to re-education sessions, or even jailed.
This is not the first time people of faith have been persecuted, we just never thought it would happen here.