Brickbat: They're Just Pals


The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland has accused Ashers Baking Co. of illegal discrimination and threatening to sanction it if it doesn't bake a cake featuring Muppets Bert and Ernie. A customer ordered the cake, which would also feature a slogan supporting gay marriage and the logo of a gay right's group, but the bakery canceled the order, saying it would violate the director's Christian beliefs.

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  1. It appears as if the homophobic bakery crisis has gone global, dark days indeed.

  2. At least they didn’t want the baker to do an image of William III:…..67397.html

  3. would amount to endorsing the campaign for the introduction of gay marriage

    Obviously the guy should be able to refuse business without this bullshit, but does he really think this? So he thinks he’s personally endorsing a married couple when he bakes a wedding cake? Middle age when he bakes a 50th birthday cake? Obesity when he makes a black forest cake?

    1. “A Christian-run bakery is facing legal action from a Government agency for refusing to produce a cake carrying a picture of the Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie and the slogan “support gay marriage”.”

      This is the precise equivalent of having a libertarian baker producing a cake with the slogan “support socialism.”

      1. With a picture of Eugene Debs and Bernie Sanders holding hands and staring lovingly into each others’ eyes.

        1. Speaking of Bernie boy, I saw him yesterday. He was being interviewed about 5 feet away from me and my son at the Capitol.
          My son: who is that, dad?
          Me: that’s Bernie Sanders.
          My son: who is he?
          Me: he’s an idiot.
          [Sanders and reporter stop interview, turn and look at us, then turn back and resume their interview]
          [my son and I return to enjoying our Coke on a bench]

          1. “Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.”
            – Mark Twain

          2. It would have been a nice, um, add-on if your son had then requested an autograph.

            1. See, this is why I need H&R hard wired into my brain at all times.

          3. Notice you didn’t receive a counter.

          4. They really hear you? And you live in Montpelier?

            1. He’s by DC. Just like Bernie.

      2. Please read my post again. I am querying the idea that providing a product = endorsement.

        If I were a libertarian baker I’d bake the “support socialism” cake and laugh all the way to the bank. I might draw the line at “support the Ku Klux Klan” but that’s because the customer would by definition be an arsehole and I have an “no arsehole” rule. That doesn’t appear to be the case with this baker – his objection is to the message, not the customer per se. And I repeat: I get that, and that he should be able to tell them to fuck off. I am only querying this “endorsement” concept

        1. But if “support gay marriage/support socialism” isn’t endorsement, what would be?

          And though far be it from me to judge, but I would imagine that someone who wants to use legal force to compel a baker to bake a cake is a classic arsehole.

          1. 1. The cake is not his speech but the customer’s. He’s not being forced to sell slogan cakes*, wear slogan t-shirts etc or otherwise adopt that speech as his own. Surely he doesn’t think he is wishing Happy Birthday to a five year old when he ices it onto a cake. He’s like a printer who produces Thomas Friedman’s books – the printer isn’t endorsing his vacuous ideas, just taking a buck to do a job. My only point is that it seemed an OTT response from the baker. He should, of course, be entitled to that response (she types for the third time).

            2. Agreed – as should be apparent from both posts

            * that would be a great band name, if I say so myself

            1. Forget the medium for a moment. Should a signmaker be required to sell signs supporting a political candidate or cause he disagrees with?

              I understand your question to be whether producing a communication for another person implies endorsement of the content of that communication. A newspaper publisher would likely say no. However, there have been cases even discussed recently where it has been argued that some messages are just too appalling to publish. It seems that depending which side of the argument one is on, people have a tendency to excuse speech they lean toward while making a big deal out of things that are for them controversial, but not for others.

              The principled response would be to remain blind to the content and allow a publisher to reject for any reason any content he is asked to publish. As to whether publishing implies endorsement, it may depend on the individual. I can easily see rejecting certain political or commercial messages that I see as unwise or borderline fraudulent.

              1. Interesting points db, but there’s a conflation between printing/making and publishing. The baker, sign maker, whatever, is being asked to enter into a contract to produce an object. His name isn’t on the object to connect the message with him. Instead, the other party to the contract uses that object to communicate the message. The other party is the publisher (I realise some defamation regimes might take a different view).

                And, just to ram the point home, I am not in any way suggesting the printer / baker etc shouldn’t be able to reject the job for any damn reason he pleases without legal penalty. Nor am I trivialising this baker’s beliefs just because I don’t share them. As you correctly note, I’m only wondering out loud about this (perhaps mostly subjective) question of endorsement

            2. I get that you’re against govt coercion, I assure you!

              But I would go further and say that the baker would be fully justified in thinking the proposed message would be imputed to him. He’s suggesting that the message he’s providing is among a range of acceptable ideas, ideas which are laudable or at least harmless.

              He’s giving the message that the phrase “support gay marriage” is just as unobjectionable as the phrase “happy birthday Kaitlyn”*

              *Or the Northern Irish equivalent of Kaitlyn.

              1. The NI equivalent of Kaitlyn is Caitlin 🙂

                the baker would be fully justified in thinking the proposed message would be imputed to him

                Hmm … The cake would not have being sold publicly, but only to the person who commissioned it. I had been thinking about how this would appear to a hypothetical third party, but I see your point – he wants the customer to feel his disapproval, even if there is no third party observer. Fair enough.

                Hey Notorious G.K.C., I think we just had a civil discussion on Hit & Run. This joint really is going to the dogs.

                1. Yeah, let’s nip this civility in the bud: You’re a poopy-head. There!

                  My remaining quibble is that I am hesitant to say he necessarily “wants the customer to feel his disapproval.” I would say “he believes he’s being asked to convey approval and doesn’t want to do this.”

                  1. The latter phraseology best captures the fact that it was the *customer* who brought up the subject of approving his behavior. Going by the article, it doesn’t look as if the baker broached the issue before the transaction began – “you look like poofters, have I mentioned that I don’t agree with your sexual behavior?”

                  2. i am content with that qualification. Now go get a dog up ya!

                    1. Now go get a dog up ya!

                      Have to file that away for future use. Thanks, ifh.

                    2. ‘Fat girls are harder to kidnap’

                    3. Do they even have a 1st Amendment-like deal in Australia?

                    4. No. The High Court held some years ago there is an implied right to political communication in our Constitution, but that is a dead letter. I don’t think any country has as sweeping a protection for free speech as the US’, BTW.

                    5. I’d like to think I would take the same stand as the previously discussed baker.

                      Knowing myself, however, I’d bake the cake, decorate the cake, urinate on the cake, box the cake, and ring up the register.

        2. …but that’s because the customer would by definition be an arsehole and I have an “no arsehole” rule.

          And why this inexcusable bigotry and discrimination against arseholes? Arseholes are people too! They were just born that way! I’m telling the Equality Commission on you!

    2. What do you have against people of German descent? Or are you just jealous that we won the World Cup?

      You antipodean monster!

      1. “Don’t mention the war!”

        1. I did once, but I think I got away with it.

          I was happy the Huns won, if only to spare us the sight of a triumphant Argentina waving banners about Las bloody Malvinas.

          1. I’ll admit I also preferred Germany over Argentina. Probably because I’m a racist.

          2. The local news bimbo reported a story on Monday about the Argentine rioting after the final, and said that the Argentines were celebrating their second place finish.

            Yeah right.

            1. Now that’s some serious spin. I just don’t get what the point is. Maybe it’s racist to point out the Argentines were rioting over a loss?

              1. I think it was sheer stupidity, not spin.

                1. Always a good assumption when it comes to reporters.

  4. You know that cakes made with Homophobic hands are the best?

    1. Box cakes?

      1. Mince cakes?

  5. Government mandated commerce is the new ‘In’ thing. Get with the program, people!

    1. Then where are the renewed Militia Acts mandating every household have one AR-15 per adult member and at least a thousand rounds of ammunition? We need to live up to that ‘rifle behind every blade of grass’ myth.

      1. *Note – Model only chosen due to visibility in the diatrribes. I would not personally pick that weapon.

        1. What would your firearm of choice be, if not the AR-15? Just curious.

          1. I have 2 ar-15s. Not because they are great but because they are common. Easy to get ammo, parts, accessories for a reasonable price.

            1. Easy to get ammo, parts, accessories for a reasonable price.

              Sounds like good qualities for a mandated piece of equipment.

        2. I think anyone who knows anything would pick an AK variant instead. (assuming one cares about rifle reliability)

  6. At what point does the issue of involuntary servitude enter the picture?

    1. Never. Because FYTW.

  7. Five most dangerous cakes in America, according to Rolling Stone:
    1. Pistol cake
    2. Revolver cake
    3. Rifle cake
    4. Shotgun cake
    5. Derringer cake

    1. What about the Pit Bull cake?

      1. I said Rolling Stone, not

        1. I thought sarc was talking about the alleged “hip hop artist” Pit Bull.

          I would not bake a cake for him, cause I’m racist against short, bald white guys.

          1. You mean white hispanic guys.


    2. I would quibble only with #5. I think the derringer cake is more properly known as the McDonalds Apple Pie.

      I know I always slip one of those up my sleeve before going out gambling so I’m prepared when that 5th ace shows up on the table.

      1. Since the filling is like molten lava you could probably do some serious damage with that sucker.

      2. So have you McApple pied a guy in Reno, just to watch him get scalded?

        1. Lol.

  8. They need him to make the cake because homophobic tears of rage are the secret ingredient.

    1. I think that word is being thrown around awfully liberally. There’s no evidence whatsoever that this baker hates or fears gay people. He just has a moral objection to what he perceives as writing something that condones gay marriage.

      Disagreement =/= hate or fear

      1. “awfully liberally”

        I see what you did there.

      2. True dat – ‘homophobia’ means fear of things that are the same.

        I doubt a matched pair of candelabra make this guy break out in a cold sweat.

        I was just goofing, anyway…

        1. Considering that the people who invented the word think everyone is gay, that would make sense.

          1. they think everyone is gay except Hitler, a guy who hung out with gays, never had sex with a woman, and blew his brains out 5 minutes after marrying one. for some reason they don’t claim him.

      3. Disagreement =/= hate or fear

        Tell that to the narrative.

  9. They believe that producing the cake with the slogan and the logo of QueerSpace … would amount to endorsing the campaign for the introduction of gay marriage

    How about a law requiring every baker to put a small, yet conspicuous, icing disclaimer on every cake?

    “The views expressed by this cake are those of the buyer and do not necessarily reflect those of the bakery.”

    See, was that so hard?

    1. See, was that so hard?

      No, infringing on their right to free association was not difficult at all.

      1. Very well. The tag would also contain: “This notice may not be removed or consumed under penalty of law.”

        1. $2 surcharge for the additional, nonconsummable portion of the cake.

  10. OK, but you need to leave some space for the mandatory trigger warning(s), too.

    Possibly every cake needs a set of disclaimer cupcakes to go with it?

    I’d like to see some proposed regulations on this point published for public comment.

  11. How about free association and not forcing people to do things they object to? Even easier.

    1. What are you? Some kind of libertarian freak?

    2. Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!

      Let’s not go CRAZY up in here now!

      1. “Free association”? “FREE association”?!

        *Someone* has to pay for that!

  12. Sorry, but I really can’t get the logic of trying to coerce someone who is going to be preparing something you’re going to be eating. Personally, I’d argue that if the baker is going to be required to bake the cake, both the plaintiffs and the Equality Commission should be required to eat it.

    1. “You didn’t like the cake?

      Why? Too much raw possum anus?”

  13. The baker should have written the alt-text instead.

  14. Does the baker have a licensing agreement with Sesame Street to use the likeness of Bert and Ernie? If not, forcing him to produce such a cake would violate some sort of international trademark and copyright law. Is the gay couple and the Equality Commission ready to take on the barristers from Sesame Street?

  15. So, a Jewish queer, a Catholic queer and a Baptist queer walk into a baker and order a cake? ………………..

    Where is Rodney Dangerfield when you need him?

    1. If they walked into a baker, wouldn’t he drop the cake?

  16. Just wondering what the reaction would be if someone walked into a bakery owned by a devout Muslim and asked for a cake with Mohammed riding a pig on it.

    1. Ever seen cake cut with a scimitar?

      Ever seen a cake customer?

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