Gay Marriage

Patrick Stewart Backs Bakery in "Gay Cake" Free Speech Fight

The actor offers up a more subtle, sensible take on the matter than most pundits-and some judges.

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Patrick Stewart backs beleaguered bakers in Northern Ireland who are in trouble for refusing to write a pro-gay marriage message on a cake:

Stewart, who is an actor, delivers a far more subtle analysis of the competing claims at stake in the gay marriage cake debate in a one-minute YouTube clip than the vast majority of commentators on the subject have managed.

The cake in question, which was commissioned by activist Gareth Lee, was supposed to have a picture of Bert and Ernie on it along with the words "Support Gay Marriage." The bakers at Ashers Baking Company do not, in fact, support gay marriage and declined to fill the order. A Belfast judge fined the owners $765, a decision they are now appealing.

Stewart sides with the bakers here, pointing out that "it was not because this way a gay couple that they objected, it was not because they were going to be celebrating some kind of marriage or agreement between them. It was because it was the actual words on the cake that they objected to." 

Stewart suggests there should be a line drawn between protections against discrimination and compelled speech. While that's not where I would draw the line, it's a perfectly legitimate place to do so. And it's pretty brave of Stewart to stick his neck out even that far.

(Though he's in good company: As Reason's own Scott Shackford has noted, this is the place where U.S. courts have historically drawn a line as well, though that may ultimately be a tough line to hold. A mirror image of this fight, in which bakers refused to write anti-gay text on a cake, is playing out in Colorado.)

Just to be clear, there is no universe in which Stewart could possibly be described as anything other than an ally to the gay rights movement. See this headline from last year, when he was mistakenly described as gay by The Guardian

Also these, which are just a small sampling from the massive genre of Stewart gallivanting around with his gay bestie Ian McKellen

Bonus: Stewart called the cake conundrum a "deliciously difficult subject."

Double bonus: Stewart also likes sexy cakes:

NEXT: South Carolina passes historic anti-boycott law

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    1. Bake it so, Number One (but only if you really want to).

      1. Get some sleep, Number One.

        Really, you look like number two.

    2. Mr. crusher, what you and The Traveler do on your own time in your own cabin is your business. But when I order you to the bridge, you get your ass to the bridge. Now, engage!

    3. RAISE ORTHODOXY SHIELDS!! FIRE SOCIAL JUSTICE TORPEDOES!

  1. No, sorry, it does not hinge on what he actual words are. It is wrong to coerce anyone, and that is what the putative customers got the government to do. If they don’t like it, they can find other bakers, or even decorate it themselves.

    No, no, no, Patrick Stewart took a weasel way out.

    1. Cut him some slack he is British after all.

    2. He’s a self-described democratic socialist, what do you expect from him? As it is, simply taking this route, half-measured as it is by libertarian standards, is bold and risky given the kinds of circles he runs in and how apt his fans are to throw a tantrum over anything remotely perceived as not gay-friendly enough.

    3. So he got the right answer for the wrong reason. Or maybe just didn’t go far enough?

      Sumthing, sumthing…enemy of the good.

      1. Probably better than getting the wrong answer for the wrong reason, or even perverting the right reason to get the wrong answer.

        I guess my frustration is a general one with people who have no guiding principles whatever, who have to work like crazy and twist things until they come to a palatable solution. Close enough to say “he shouldn’t be forced to write a message he doesn’t approve of” but quite can’t make it to “he shouldn’t be forced to do anything he doesn’t approve of”, as if spelling a message with a decorator is fundamentally different from making an entire cake, or that the message itself is negotiable.

        1. The real issue, as always, is government sticking its nose into everybody’s business. I sometimes flash on how much I detest =, say, pharmacists who have a government license to serve the public but then refuse to sell contraceptives, as if they actually had a choice in taking that license and then ought to obey their master and sell the damned contraceptives. Shouldn’t these bakers, then, be bound to sell whatever the public wants if they have accepted the government license to sell to the public?

          Of course not — government business licenses are hardly voluntary, and just as I pay cash whenever possible in the hope that it enables the business to avoid declaring income which is none of the government’s business, so I will never actually complain to the government about anyone thumbing their nose at government.

          I may be a prevaricating confused asshole in my head, but what happens in my head stays in my head, and I really really wish more people would stop letting their personal fantasies become their public policies.

        2. I don’t disagree.

          But if he made the first step, perhaps he’s willing to analyze his lack of consistency when it’s pointed out to him and take the next step…

          I’ll cut him some slack for now.

          1. I’m with Fd’A. At least he had the balls to swim against the tide or the groupthink.

      2. While I do applaud him for saying this, he does seem to leave broad exceptions for forcing bakers to make cakes for gay marriages and the like. He seems to be saying that the problem is making the bakers write out a message of support for gay marriage. If they just had to write out “Pat & Chris” on a wedding cake, he may be OK with fining them for refusing the order? I don’t know.

        But whatever, I’m not going to bitch about that. Way to go, Captain! (he was a captain, right?)

        1. Or, suppose the unhip bakers were forced to write whatever “Support Gay Marriage” is in Klingon.

    4. To put this in perspective, check how gay progs see it. Stewart’s position got at least some traction.

      1. I still read Towleroad, but I have to skip quickly through so many of the articles lest I have a cardiac event.

        1. “read it” solely for the pictures, surely?

  2. I liked him more when he baked cakes featuring women going to the bathroom.

    1. I liked him when he used his powers to make women’s clothes fall off. Even if they try to cover up, you’ve seen everything.

  3. Make it so, number one.

  4. and here’s Gurney Halleck fighting the Sardaukar with a lapdog stuffed into his uniform.

    http://jensfavoritecookies.com…..8/Dune.jpg

    1. One of the most important duties of a Ducal Warmaster is bodyguard to the House pug.

  5. Remember Stewart’s classy version of the ice bucket challenge ?

    1. REMEMBER HOW TO LINK TO THINGS YOU’RE REFERENCING??? (I actually hadn’t seen it. Nice.)

  6. Magneto isn’t going to like this at all. Neither is, I suspect, the evil Dr. Weddingcakeo.

  7. Judging by those pics, the remake of A Clockwork Orange is really going to be weird.

    1. Is this remake featuring the actor that plays Ramsey Bolton?

  8. Who needs subtlety and sense when we have anti-discrimination fundamentalism?

  9. Just to be clear, there is no universe in which a man can wear that hat and those shirts and not at least be trying out the sausage.

    1. Resistance is futile.

      1. Locutus says there is no homo in the Collective. No hetero either…

  10. Well he is British so who knows what his sexuality is besides I thought that didn’t matter.

    1. Ha! Everyone knows the British don’t have sexuality. Baby Britons are simply found growing beneath hedgerows on damp mornings.

    2. Yeah, the ‘flattered’ struck me as odd, if it didn’t matter;

      “I’m flattered that people think I’m actually bald.”
      “I’m flattered people think my accent is fake.”
      “I’m flattered people think I’m white.”

      I assume there’s some context that gay men find him attractive and/or social signalling.

  11. There are four cakes!

  12. We’ve made too many compromises already, too many retreats. They invade our private property rights, and we fall back. They assimilate entire businesses, and we fall back. Not again. The line must be drawn here! This far, no further! And I will make them pay for what they’ve done!

    1. You are marvelous.

    2. Captain Ahab has to go hunt his SJWs.

  13. The real travesty here is that a CBE would wear a tank top and a tie together.

    For shame, Mister McKellen. For shame.

    1. And is Elmo actually looking down at Ian McKellen.

      I don’t know why, but that’s really funny to me. A fucking muppet knows that shirt-tie combo is awful.

  14. There are kids graduating from high school tonight that don’t know that SNL was a funny show.

  15. Nothing I enjoy more than hearing Patrick Stewart introduce the musical guest on Saturday Night Live… “And now, ladies and gentlemen, Solt N Peppaw!”

  16. Darmok and Jalad
    11 AM Saturday June 6th
    at Tanagra
    open bar

    1. Nice.

    2. “Shaka your ass, when the walls fell”

    3. Temba, at rest, Hunty!

    4. “Uzani, his army with fists closed”

  17. Stewart suggests there should be a line drawn between protections against discrimination and compelled speech.

    He should be publicly shamed, his person tied up to a tree and smeared with honey to be left for the ants. His name should be stricken from all records so future generations do not know of him.

    If I were a creepy little Marxian, that is what I would suggest.

    Since I am not, I can say “Patrick, my friend, I would go one further and say people have the right to discriminate.”

  18. WHAT?

    You can’t have an article about Patrick Stewart and gays and not reference his role in Jeffrey.

    Also, Patrick Stewart is a national treasure…or something.

    1. PATRICK STEWART IS A NATIONAL TREASURE!

      There, I said it. He’ll always be my captain.

  19. I realize it’s Ireland, but since when are Bert and Ernie public domain?

    If I were to commission a bakery to make a cake with a cartoon drawing of Mohammed, would the courts demand I put my life in danger?

    1. Would the courts demand the baker put his life in danger?

    2. Not unless he was engaged in a homosexual act. Then it would be kosher to persecute the bigots who denied you their services.

  20. OT: right-wing economics hits the hard concrete of reality.

    http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015…..?referrer=

    1. They claim that California’s budget problems are over. That is all you need to know about the credibility of the article.

      1. After half the population dies of thirst by 2017, Krugman will write another article declaring that he was right about everything.

    2. First of all, “right wing economics” is what most Democrats advocate (strongly regulated markets); a few advocate “left wing economics” (public ownership). Deregulation and free markets are neither left wing nor right wing.

      Second, Krugman inferring political policy from a modest one year drop shows only one thing: he is an economic imbecile. Among other things, low-tax, low-regulatory regimes are expected to show larger variations in year-on-year performance.

      Equally imbecilic is anybody who thinks that California’s long term future is anything but dismal. People and companies are leaving the state as fast as they can.

    3. Sour grapes. Why am I not surprised? Maybe because I think that Krugman has been waiting for some bad economic news out of Texas for years and thinks he’s found it. Additionally, the migration of people from the midwest and northeast into Texas and other states south is not a cause of economic growth–it is a result of it.

    4. Economics is neither left nor right wing you tool. It is either interventionist or not.

      Also, the article is filled with false-equivalency. He is comparing a blip of an employment drop in Texas and a tax increase in California. He is comparing private companies to a public budget. They have nothing in common. Just because California can raise taxes to balance the budget doesn’t mean their economy is doing better than Texas’.

      “Texas also attracts new residents with its permissive land-use policies, which have kept housing cheap.

      Now one of the three big drivers of Texas growth has gone into reverse, as low world oil prices are bringing the fracking boom to a screeching halt. Hey, things like that happen to every state now and then.”

      So basically he is saying that because Texas is cheaper to live in it has a never ending supply of labor, which keeps labor cheap and housing cheap. That is a fucking good thing you goon.

    5. And if air conditioning is the fucking reason why people are moving to Texas, then why aren’t people moving in droves to the rest of the Southeast like Alabama, Miss, Florida (retirement ages mostly right now).

      People in general aren’t just going to move because of weather. If Texas had high land prices and employed terrible policies like California, then there would be no reason to move there.

    6. Re: American Stolid,

      What are these “right wing” economics? I only know free-market economics, Keynesianism, Marxianism and snake oil (Neo-classical)

      1. I’m surprised you of all people wouldn’t ‘t recognize it. Anything where people tell us we need to care about the tax rates of rich people, or that we need to eviscerate public spending because of the horrors of deficit spending or inflation. Or, in this case of this article by krugman, that companies are moving to Texas en masse from California.

    7. AmSoc, you are usually better than this. I appreciate your comments most of the time, but this is … not up to your usual standard.

  21. May 3 gay guys marry one another?

    May 4 straight women form a marriage? (Or must they all be lesbian?)

    May a mother marry her two daughters?

    Will the gay bakery bake a “Islam Sucks? cake?

    If not, why not?

    1. A much better question, can a child marry his parents, and thus avoid inheritance taxes?

    2. 1) yes. The problem here is taxes and insurance.

      2) (See 1.)

      3) (See 1.)

      4) No, they should have to write “Mohammad Loves the Gays!”

  22. His position is that words cannot be compelled but symbolic speech might be. Fair enough, but that suggests that acts, like say, flag burning can be legally interfered with.

  23. It’s an interesting angle I had not considered. I’m completely in favor of marriage rights for gay couples, but if this is considered “compelling speech”, that could create an out.

    But is a cake decorator any different from a website that hosts comments? Unless the decorated is being put in a position where their decorations are considered their own speech, does this argument apply?

    So long as the container does not advertise the baker, then it’s just a cake and not their speech.

    Of course, we might be more broadly sympathetic to the bakers out there if someone asked them to put “Kill all xxxx people” on cake. But if we agree it’s none of their business what’s on the cake, then they’d have to do the work even if it’s against their personal beliefs.

  24. bbc sucks balls

  25. People don’t think Stewart is gay because of his friendship with Ian McKellan (whose “Richard III” is awesome, by the way.)

    They think he’s gay because of his years-long portrayal of the limp-wristed Jean-Luc Picard, who spent his entire Starfleet career wishing space chicks dug him the way they dug the indescribably more awesome Captain James Tiberius Kirk.

    (And now, let the games begin!)

  26. That’s one of the essential points of freedom, the right to NOT do something.

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