Where does religious freedom end?
A baker in Oregon, Aaron Klein of Sweet Cakes, is in trouble for refusing to bake a wedding cake for an interracial couple, citing his very “strongly” held religious beliefs that interracial marriage is unbiblical. Refusing to serve someone based on their race or color, of course, violates Oregon’s non-discrimination statute, but the baker claims his constitutional right to freedom of religion makes it okay.
“My First Amendment rights allow me to practice my religion as I see it,” Klein said.
A lawyer in Portland sort of kind of agrees, apparently.
“Statutes don’t get to overcome constitutional protections,” said Portland attorney Paula Barran, “so if somebody had a religious-based reason for wanting not to trade with somebody, I think you have a really interesting test case for whether or not a statute like this can apply.”
If you’re upset as I am about someone even thinking it’s okay for a place of public accommodation like this bakery to refuse to serve someone because he’s black or about to marry someone who’s black when he’s white, blah, blah, blah. You’re not alone. This outmoded, racist and discriminatory thinking.
It’s also a bit of a lie, because the baker in question is actually refusing to serve a gay couple, not an interracial couple. I just wanted you to see how stupid this is and show you that discrimination is discrimination. You can’t wrap it up in religious freedom and call it a constitutional right. We’d never be okay with this if it really were about race, so why are we even acknowledging it as if there’s a question just because it’s about sexual orientation?
When it comes to public accommodations, religious freedom has its limits. If you don’t want to serve the public—and that’s the entire public, not just the ones you like—don’t open a business. Very easy to understand.