Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Sarah Huckabee Sanders Got Booted From a Restaurant, but Florists and Photographers Should Have to Work Gay Weddings?

Let's get behind economic freedom for everyone, even when we don't like how they use it.


Wedding flower arrangements
Laurie Gouley / Pexels

On Friday—I'm guessing you've heard—President Trump's press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, was calmly asked to leave the Red Hen in Lexington, Virginia, by its owner, Stephanie Wilkinson. Sanders did did so without a fuss.

The rest of the country could learn a thing or two from the exchange.

Many, especially on the political right, have responded with outrage. A different Red Hen restaurant was egged, presumably by confused Trump supporters. Unflattering reviews were left for Wilkinson's eatery on Yelp. People milled around outside the next day, shouted things from car windows, and tried to flood the system with fake reservations, according to reports. Red Hen's management ended up deciding not to open Saturday evening.

There are good and reasonable arguments to be made that responding to political disagreement with a total refusal to engage in either conversation or normal business dealings is bad for the country. The Washington Post editorial board came out against Wilkinson's move, writing that "those who are insisting that we are in a special moment justifying incivility should think for a moment how many Americans might find their own special moment."

Civility is great, of course, as are dialogue and debate. But so is economic freedom, including the right of private individuals to decide when, where, how, and with whom to do business.

Conservatives should be careful what they demand in cases like these. Most of them likely support the right of a religious baker not to make a custom cake for a same-sex marriage celebration—and rightly so. As important and valuable as it is to treat others with respect, especially given the current toxic political culture, good behavior should never be forced on us at the expense of our right to live out our peaceful convictions. Words are not violence. Neither is politely turning someone out of your restaurant or shop.

People on the left might also use this moment to re-evaluate a few things. The insistence that wedding vendors be required by law to work gay weddings is often framed in terms of civility as well, with appeals to the deep emotional harm and "deprivation of personal dignity" that can come from being refused service.

But as the exchange between Wilkinson and Sanders shows, one person's bigotry is another person's morality-driven business decision—and it is possible to survive such an affront without falling completely to pieces. The situations are not exactly alike, but they're not far off. In each, the proprieter of a private establishment acted in accordance with the demands of his or her conscience on a politically charged question. And in each, those turned away had many other options conveniently at their disposal. Arguably, the florists and photographers actually have a stronger case against being compelled to enter a commercial relationship against their will, since wedding services are generally creatively tailored to a customer's wishes and intended to capture the ethos of his or her particular event. (They're also generally arranged via contract in advance.) Personally, however, I think we should stop looking for narrow categories of economic activities we'll allow and begin instead with a presumption of liberty. Sometimes people will use their freedom to do things we don't like, and that has to be OK.

I'm all for living in harmony, to include good-faith engagement through trade and discourse even with those you think are horribly, and even horrifyingly, wrong. Civility is a worthy ideal, but it is not the only or highest consideration in most situations—and it certainly should not be imposed upon us by the state.

NEXT: Brickbat: Overpolicing

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  1. “Especially on the political right”??

  2. You can’t choose if your are gay or black or old.

    You CAN choose if you wear a shirt, shoes, or lie out your ass to the detriment of our nation.

    1. Change the ‘or’ to ‘and’ and you’ve got most of the job description for press secretary.
      It’s not like the current shitweasel is unique.

    2. Firstly, you can choose to have a gay wedding or gay sex, you just can’t choose the attraction. Secondly, you can also choose your religious affiliation. Choosing to be a Muslim and wear traditional Muslim garb is no different than choosing one’s politics.

      1. Why you bring up religion, bro? OP didn’t mention it.

        1. It’s one of the protected classes. All of these need to be considered as a group.

          However, anyone who suggests that someone’s religious believes are easily mutable and changing them is easy knows nothing about religion.

    3. Either property rights matter or they don’t.

      1. And, of course, they don’t.
        If the Red Hen is renting that facility, can a Republican owner terminate the lease citing the expulsion of Sarah?

        1. Theoretically. Depends on the language in the lease.

        2. Unless the lease has specific provisions regarding political affiliation, then most likely they would not be able to terminate the lease without incurring a penalty.

    4. I was under the impression you can now choose your gender and if you identify as a POC or whatever. And why should achieving some chronological number of birthdays pigeonhole you as “old?” If 2 + 2 = 5 in your culture, then why can’t 35+35 = 45 in mine?

      1. Seventy is a lot younger to me now than when I was thirty, so age must be relative, right?

    5. “I’ll take, what’s the difference between the progressive view of freedom of association and the libertarian view of freedom of association for $500, Alex”

      1. Same as all other freedoms. It just depends on if it is you or the government defining what freedom means in each case.

      2. What is feelz?

        1. The entire progressive legal justification for everything.

    6. Being gay is a choice.

      1. You could choose to be gay?

        1. I know a set of identical twins, same sperm and egg, where one is gay and one is not. They’ve said their situation isn’t that abnormal. Same DNA. See chemicals in utero, yet different preferences. They grew up in the same environment. Yet different preferences. Kind of rules out genetic and environment.

          1. I actually think there could be something to genes causing wires to get crossed and people be born gay. Its probably that most people are addicted to pleasure and some people find vaginas and dicks pleasurable.

            The lefty science community will NEVER do research in this area because if the results messed up their narrative, they would all have to turn gay in solidarity.

          2. Your anecdote does not denote evidence. The fact that you think it does is why we need the scientific method.

          3. Same DNA.



            [Same] chemicals in utero

            In utero in toto, but not necessarily in the microenvironment of each individual developing cell.

            I read a fascinating article recently, which I wish I’d bookmarked which was talking about neuronal development and explaining that while genes were undoubtedly important, so was randomness both in the creation and the destruction of neurons, during brain development. So twins could finish up with differently wired brains even if their genes are the same. Obviously their brains are going to be more similar than they would be if they had different genes, but you can’t ignore the effect of randomness. You might argue that the randomness was the result of tiny random local variations in chemical concentrations and could therefore be ascribed to “environment” but that’s not usually what people mean by environment (eg see your own remarks implying that sharing the overall chemical environment in utero is sharing the same environment.) And it could be some of the randomness is the result of pure quantum randomness.

            yet different preferences. They grew up in the same environment. Yet different preferences. Kind of rules out genetic and environment.

            So if you rule out genes and environment, voluntary choice is not the only thing you’re left with. It could just be the random element in brain wiring.

            1. I would say something small/random could be possible in the case of identical twins. Perhaps even something post birth causing one to develop differently. Head trauma? Getting some weird life threatening infection the other didn’t? Who knows. Biology is crazy weird.

              But by and large being A Gay seems to be biological in some way. Most likely based on genes, and how those effect wiring and chemical levels.

              That said, I read once about research done in the 70s where they basically drugged gay people with a cocktail of things to tweak their brain chemistry, because they’d noted slight differences between them and straight people IIRC… And it supposedly actually made them feel attracted to the opposite sex. This has of course been SUPER buried in the mainstream consciousness, because they don’t want gays to be able to choose to be treated if that is what they want… Better to keep them on the plantation.

              This implies whatever genes make their brains behave differently could be overridden by pharmacology. Whether or not that is desirable, since being gay isn’t THAT big a deal, is debatable. Either way it’s a weird thing, that probably MOSTLY comes from genes in most cases, even if there are exceptions.

              1. IMO, taking a drug to change my sexual preference would be as desirable as taking a drug to change my food preference. I hate potato salad and I don’t want to take a drug that makes me desire it any more than I want to take a drug that makes me want to have sex with men (I’m a hetero male).

                1. Fair enough… But that’s because you’re normal in your sexual desires. I have known a couple gay people who had a real problem coming out. One was from a very religious family, and was super into it all himself. If he could have taken a pill once a day he may well have.

                  Many gay people are conflicted in various ways. Like maybe they REALLY want to have a family, which is somewhat harder when you marry somebody of the same sex as you have to either adopt or find a surrogate. Or religion. Or just not liking the stigma even. A really macho gay guy might not like the gay stereotype, and if he also wanted kids, and also was religious, maybe that would be enough that he’d want to take a pill.

                  A better example for you might be if you were born afraid of going outdoors. Technically you can probably survive the world just fine being scared outside… But maybe it’d be nicer to just be like everybody else?

                  All I’m saying is it should be an option that is available. The whole line of inquiry was shut down because it isn’t “cool” to even imply being gay is anything but EVEN BETTER than being straight. I have zero problems with The Gays, but I’m quite sure some people would like the option of correcting their “birth abnormality” if you will.

          4. Identical twins do not have the “same DNA”. They began as embryos with the same set of DNA, but every time DNA is copied there are errors (mutations). Most errors are corrected, but not all. Over time DNA diverges from the “original” copy. You don’t even have the “same DNA” as when you were born, nor do the cells in your body all have the “same DNA”.

            Also, you don’t know that the twin fetuses were exposed to every hormone with the same concentration and distribution. I’m not saying your assumption is crazy. Humans necessarily simplify things to make them easier to understand, but many of the things we think are “random” are actually the result of fluctuations on atomic and microscopic scales that we ignore in our every day lives.

        2. I choose to be hetrosexual.

          1. I choose to be hetrosexual.

            To me it has never been a choice. I didn’t wake up one morning and think “Do I want to chase pussy or dick? I choose pussy.” Nope. Never happened. No choice in the matter.

            1. It was a joke.

              1. chasing pussy is no joke

                1. Some of us don’t have to chase pussy. It comes to us.

            2. I want to think there’s some joke with him saying “hetrosexual” instead of “heterosexual”

            3. I want to think there’s some joke with him saying “hetrosexual” instead of “heterosexual”

            4. I choose to be left-handed.
              I am naturally inclined towards being a southpaw, but the inclination is mild enough that I COULD have learned to write, and operate right-handed, if I felt it necessary.
              I was fortunate that my parents and teachers didn’t do such tortuous things as sew my left arm into my jacket, or smack my hand with a ruler when I reached for a crayon with the WRONG hand.
              I have at least one uncle who is ambidextrous, and I suspect my grandmother might have been naturally left-handed, but both grew up in a “less enlightened” time.
              Some few left handed people are so solidly left-handed that no amount of torture can force them to become “properly” right-handed, and I suppose the same would be so of right-handed people.
              The old number I always remember is there is one lefty for every nine right-handed people. Another number I once read said that in preindustrial societies, the Sinister Set number twenty percent of the overall population.
              For some things, I operate as a right-handed person would. Even on my own computer, I use the mouse with my right hand, as it is easier to learn one pattern, than to learn two.

              Knowing my own situation, which hasn’t been controversial since the seventies, I believe that the same is likely so regarding sexual orientation: That there are some who are solidly of one orientation or the other, but a lot in the middle who gravitate one direction or the other…unless society forces them into the standard mold.

              1. Purely anecdotally, I tend to agree with you. I have a friend who started out straight, and later became gay. His explanation was that it took him time to realise he was attracted to men and not women. Now he’s 100% gay, and not a smidgeon bi, he assures everyone.

                And yet you can see his glance following a shapely pair of female pins walking by, just like all of us straight guys.

                My belief is that what he really wants is sex, love and affection, and he wasn’t getting it from women on account of being small, scrawny, ugly and a wee bit odd in a creepy sort of way. (But he’s a very interesting and accompished fellow.) So he’s worked out that he stands a better chance as gay. No doubt his wiring is a bit both ways, he’s not straight pretending to be gay, but he’s settled on a gay lifestyle and gay partners because that’s what he can get.

                1. I agree with the general premise. There seem to be people solidly one way or another, and people that are flexible. I had a great chick friend on high school who decided to be a lesbian… The problem was she would still totally hit on me/get frisky when she was drunk. Obviously she was bi, but decided to play at being straight lesbian (LOL, word choice), and she has stuck with that to this day. She was hot, so she doesn’t have the same reasoning as your friend might have, but perhaps she just realized guys are bigger dicks in some ways than chicks, so she went that route? Who knows.

          2. You don’t actually make any choices because free will does not exist.

            1. The most that can be said with scientific accuracy is that if free(ish) will exists, we don’t understand how it works. (Earlier claims that we start “voluntary” motor actions before our consciousness has processed the incoming perceptions, and that consequently these “voluntary” actions can’t in fact be voluntary has now been debunked with better measurement equipment. We do have time. But that doesn’t prove that free will exists, merely that it might.)

              However, as to what to do about the uncertainty about free will : that’s easy. If our actions are pre determined and we can’t do anything about them, then this necessarily applies to all our thinking and talking and planning about what we’re going to do. So no avoidable harm is done by thinking thoughts that assume free will, since the thoughts and the harm are preordained.

              Whereas if there is free will, then proceeding on the basis that it does exist does change our actions for better or worse. Consequently we should continue to act as if there was free will – if there is, we’re correct and making real choices. If we’re wrong it makes no difference at all.

        3. Apparently, sexuality is inherent except when its fluid, and there are no contradictions.

          1. except when there are.

      2. No one knows if that is true or not. And this is the problem with basing freedom of association on immutable traits versus non-immutable traits. Some immutable traits cannot be defined as a “choice” or not

      3. Not according to credible scientists with years of research and documented results, with credible being the key word. Might I ask where your information comes from?

        1. Loch, the medical research is completely useless in this context, as every study is hopelessly tainted by the political and religious beliefs of the researchers. Plus, this is psychology, the field hardest hit by the reproducibility crisis.

          The real question is. Does it matter?
          Really, does it?
          Start with liberty and restrict only as needed.
          I see no need or reason to do so.
          That should end the debate.
          But it won’t. Humans aren’t that simple.

    7. I’m torn about this, as well. However, in the spirit of libertarianism, I’ll have to side with the restaurant owner, since it is their property. However, in the same spirit, a business owner should be able to refuse service to anyone they choose, even if it is based on religious or political affiliation, race, gender, age, sexual orientation, etc.

    8. there is no proof that being gay is not a choice. Look it up, snowflake.

  3. Principals, not principles.

  4. The way I see Sanders was turned away because she’s a notorious liar. The mouth of a bigot and criminal. It’s like turning away a criminal. She was judged by the content of her character.

    1. There’s a press secretary lying to the nation at the WH press brief!?!!? Holy shit! Someone better tell the media! Quick get CNN on the phone! I don’t know if modern politics can take this kind of behavior. What about the children!?!?!

      1. There’s pushing your wife during an argument and then there’s knocking her teeth out. Both are spousal abuse but one is clearly more atrocious. Needlessly to say Sanders is the latter case.

        1. Just because you were stupid enough to fall for Obama’s blatant lies and are afraid to admit it doesn’t make another administrations lies worse.

        2. Z656 pushes his wife around?

      2. She’s no Josh Earnest. I mean even his name was about truth. That guy never told Amy whipped. I challenge you to find one example. I mean ten. I mean 100 on February 30th.

        1. Amy whipped? Fucking iphone

          Any lies is what I meant. But I’m off to search for porn of guys being whipped by Amy. Thanks, Rule 34!

    2. The previous president and his administration lied repeatedly. They spied on American citizens, kept immigrant kids in cages, and drone bombed brown folk without due process. The owner of the Red Hen would have had no issue serving him or members of his admin.

      This is virtue signaling and partisan hackery, not some principled stand.

      1. What the previous administration did doesn’t matter. What matters is the intentions they had when they did it. Obama had good intentions, while Trump has bad intentions. That’s what the restaurant owner cares about.

        1. That’s basically all everything comes down to nowadays. Nothing Trump has actually DONE is unprecedented or particularly outrageous. Even his family separation policy was only marginally worse than Obama’s “let’s keep the mothers and children in the cages together” policy, which was also explicitly done to act as a deterrent.

          95% of the difference is that Trump is a big old meanie who says mean things about journalists.

          I agree that his words and the bullshit lies he spews are toxic and dangerous and he should stop. However, when it comes to the big lies about policy and government actions, Trump is no worse than other politicians. He’s just spectacularly bad at putting on the facade.

          1. There’s a benefit to him being spectacularly bad at the facade: he gets challenged and called on his b.s. at every turn. Unlike the previous admin, where the media helped spread their b.s.

            1. It has nothing to do with being “bad” at any facade. The press didn’t challenge Obama because, overwhelmingly, they support him. They challenge Trump because, overwhelmingly, they oppose him.

              1. Even when they do the exact same things.

        2. Holy shit bthat is the dumbest thing I’ve ever read sarcasmic.

          1. It’s dumb but true. The left tends to judge based upon intentions, not results. It’s how they pave the road to hell.

            1. I think you are probably right, but I’m not sure if they actually care about intentions or try to fabricate/use them to justify actions in power.

              I’d guess if you ask most lefties who was our greatest prez, FDR would come out at or near the top. He interred Japanese-Americans, attempted to stack SCOTUS, and nuked civilians. Trump sends mean tweets and he’s Hitler. I think it is more principals over principles with intentions used as an excuse.

              1. Actually Truman nuked civilians not FDR but FDR did the other things you mentioned.

                FDR’s Democratic Party had complete control of Congress and they failed to make sure the USA was as ready to defend the USA from attack.

                1. Dammit, I always forget that.

              2. To bring up something you apparently missed out on, FDR was leading us through world war II. Interning Japanese-Americans was nothing we would condone today with modern surveillance technology, but back then there was far less ability to determine if there were foreign agents on American soil. Paranoia and prejudice caused an outcry from the American people to separate Japanese-Americans from the general population.

                Every president attempts to stack the SCOTUS, don’t cherry-pick facts.

                Also, I believe it’s already been pointed out that FDR was no longer POTUS when the nukes were dropped. Which, research shoes that the harm to civilian life may not have been lessened by traditional bombing/invasions. The emperor was more than willing to lay down the lives of every last civilian and they were expected to do so for their god-emperor.

                Sometimes it’s not as easy as “well, hey, you did it, too”. That attitude is how you end up becoming that which you “stand against”.

                1. “Every president attempts to stack the SCOTUS, don’t cherry-pick facts.”

                  FDR tried to increase the number of SC Justices in order to stack the Court. What other president did that?

                  1. Yes, there’s a stark difference between filling seats with like-minded judges as the seats become available, and creating additional seats to be filled immediately out of a desire to expedite SCOTUS ruling the way you want them to.

    3. Still cosplaying like it’s 1938 Germany, I see. You’re so brave.

    4. “You can keep your doctor…”

      1. And 95% of people did keep their doctor and then millions of people who didn’t have acces to “a” doctor got insurance. Your turn.

        1. Everyone has access to a doctor. They can’t turn you away.

          1. Only for serious immediate medical attention. Try walking into a doctor’s office complaining about a sore back.

            1. Oh, I see. It’s not about access, it’s about someone else paying for it.

              1. Right we’re not talking about entering a building.

                1. Anyone can make an appointment, go see a doctor, and get a bill in the mail.

                  You’re not talking about access to health care. You’re talking about free shit.

        2. And millions of people who didn’t need insurance were forced to buy it. And people that had affordable high deductible plans were forced into high deductible plans that cost a fortune. Tell me again how great the ACA works.

          1. You think those sky scrapers with insurance company’s name’s on them pay for themselves?

          2. Don’t forget all the people forced into high deductible plans that cost more than the plans they used to have that actually paid for stuff.

    5. I can’t wait for Obama being turned away for being a notorious liar. The mouth of a bigot and criminal. It’s like turning away a criminal. He will be judged by the content of his character.

      1. racist

      2. And Obama is constantly judged by cons. You think that’s a new thing?

        1. Obama was pretty bad early in his presidential term.

    6. It’s amusing watching bigots justify their bigotry. Good work Z.

      1. almost as much fun as watching dem’s tie themselves into knots doing the exact same and then trying to justify it.

    7. Z, if bigots and criminals were turned away from eateries, all progressives would starve. We can’t have that, now can we?

  5. Let this be the day where we henceforth conduct ourselves with civility, conviviality, and good cheer!

    1. Serve this man!

    2. Buffoon

      1. Redundant

  6. Whenever I hear “White House press secretary” I think “mouth of Sauron.”

    1. Yup.

    2. Don’t knock it. Under Obama, the media got their marching orders that way.

  7. Conservatives should be careful what they demand in cases like these.

    Especially the mob of conservative strawmen demanding the protection of public accommodation law.

  8. The problem isn’t that SHS was refused service, the problem was that the owner of the restaurant claimed she was standing on principle by refusing her service. And what principle is that? That you should be free to refuse service to people you find morally objectionable, like the Christian baker refusing to decorate a cake for a gay wedding? Of course not – the principle is that you should be free to treat Nazis badly. And who’s a Nazi? Trump, SHS, Trump supporters, Republicans, Christian bakers who won’t decorate a cake for a gay wedding – everybody who doesn’t agree with me is a Nazi. And that’s not just my opinion, it’s an objective fact. Everybody I don’t like is a Nazi and we have a moral duty to harass and silence and beat down Nazis. There’s your principle.

    1. You know who else had principles?

      1. Alice Cooper?

        1. I don’t know if you heard but,

          SHOOOOOOOOLS out FOR – EVA!

          1. We don’t need no education.

            1. Or a pesky c.

        2. Yeah, well, he couldn’t even think of a word that rhymes.

    2. Do some more research on the situation.

      The restaurant owner decided to act on the majority opinion voiced by her employees.

      Which oddly enough, was to ask her to leave.

      It wasn’t about one individual’s opinion, the employees as a whole were made uncomfortable by the presence of SHS.

      Also, I’d like to point out that you comparing an open disdain for Nazis to open disdain for homosexuals…well it doesn’t tell a story that alludes to your decency…I’d say just the opposite in fact. I mean honestly, you really think that is a fair or relevant comparison?

      1. Yes, the only decent thing is for the baker to take part in a wedding that he finds morally objectionable based on his religion, just as he did in the case of halloween cakes. Now compare that to a “poll” taken of the wait staff who didn’t want to conduct a commercial transaction associated in no shape or form with ANY of the political or moral issues at hand because they did not like her boss.

        You’re right, there’s no comparison.

      2. It wasn’t about one individual’s opinion, the employees as a whole were made uncomfortable by the presence of SHS.

        They’re free to find a job that doesn’t require them to serve the general public.

        /Prog ‘Logic’

    3. The closest thing to a Nazi in this story is the owner of the restaurant. Amd even that idols isn’t a Nazi. Maybe Nazi adjacent.

  9. I guess the 300+ comments on the previous Red Hen stories wasn’t enough. We need more comments.

    1. Just imagine if this were a Red Hihn restaurant.

      1. You’re right. These stories need more.

        BOLD! CAPS!

        With a hihnt of Senility!

      2. WHOOSH!

      3. Red Hen – Masterpiece Cakes = 0

      4. He should be free to deny service to every goober who ever stalked him. He already has a list.

        1. Perhaps he could serve the, goobers for dessert.

      5. Why would anyone want to eat and a Red Hihn restaurant?

        The menu would be in bold and your bill would be in bold.

        The food would taste like commie gruel.

        Service would be hihn yelling at you the entire time and charging you $15 per hour for the privilege.

        The bill would include a forced donation to Hillary 2020 and her medical illness fund.

  10. Here is the difference between Left and Right:

    The Christian baker politely declined to bake a cake for a gay wedding, and attempted to refer the customer to a competitor who would do quality work. The customer responded by suing the baker and trying to drive him out of business.

    The owner of the Red Hen asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave, which she did. The owner then proceeded to follow Sanders out of the restaurant and continue to berate her. Sarah Huckabee Sanders took no action, including not making any public statement until after restaurant staff bragged about the incident on social media.

    1. The owner then proceeded to follow Sanders out of the restaurant and continue to berate her.

      The only ‘proof’ that we have of this part of the story is Mike Hucakbee’s say-so. And I’m sorry, I’m not going to simply take his word for anything.

      1. You have a weird difference in proof required for what conservatives say and what liberals say.

    2. Like most of these childish outbursts of virtue signaling, the alleged bad guy comes out looking much more sane than the virtue signaler.

    3. ^ This.

      The presumed moral equivalence in the article is bs. Its important to note that Masterpiece didn’t refuse service to gay person as a person…rather he refused to make one specific item for them. They were welcome in his store otherwise. He also doesn’t make Halloween cakes or cakes with foul language on them. So, he seems particularly civil to me. For this, his business was destroyed and life upended.

      Meanwhile, while I support the Red Hen’s legal right to serve or not serve whoever they want, they seem like a bunch of asshats, the kind of strident moralizing progressives I see a lot now. If you think they are annoying now, wait until they get a little actual power.

      1. ^ and this

        The blue wave will be toxic

        1. It’ll be a counterbalance against con control. Divided govt is good.

        2. And the follow up red wave will be as well…and so forth.

          Sometimes the vicious cycle is one of viciousness.

      2. I mean…this cake baker finds himself in a moral position to judge homosexuals, pagans, and potty mouths. I don’t actually remember any part of Christian dogma where it’s a man or woman’s job to judge anyone. There’s, like, a higher power for that, but in the end his actions are protected by the constitution.

        Whether the baker or the restaurant owner the conclusion is the same, they were within their rights.

        If you don’t like it then get out and vote.

        1. No, the baker finds himself in the position of not wanting to lend his speech to an action he finds morally unacceptable. This is the part where you tell me a tuna sandwich and a coke is artistic expression.

        2. The baker isn’t judging anyone. The baker is just deciding how they choose to spend their own time.

    4. You’re not telling the whole story.

      The employees of the Red Hen asked to owner to request that SHS leave. Also, any hard evidence of SHS being followed and berated would be most helpful. Everything I have seen says that SHS was politely asked to leave, and then politely said so.

      So, not only was it not just one person being a dick over personal beliefs, it didn’t happen the way you’re trying to present.

      1. Physician heal thyself.

      2. There’s a great business model–employees vote on whether to serve each customer that walks in.

  11. If religion is covered by these laws, political ideologies should, too. Neither are inherent characteristics of a human. Both are technically a “choice”. I’m gay. I obviously can’t choose that (although I could indeed choose to ignore my urges and live a sad life with a woman). I’m also a conservativish libertarian. I do not choose that either. I have no control over my political beliefs. There’s pretty good evidence that core political ideology is as inheritable and hardwired into our brains as homosexuality is.

    Then there is religion, which is no different than any other ideology and group with a set of beliefs. There is zero argument for why religion should be included in anti-discrimination laws and political beliefs should not.

    1. I’m not saying that your logic here doesn’t make sense, but there is a significant difference between a religious opinion and a political opinion (or at least there should be). A religion dictates how you live your life and how you will receive supposed “salvation”. Politics is just bitching back and forth at one another. If we allow the state to override someone’s religious beliefs when he is not directly harming anyone then we are inadvertently declaring that the state is god and can decide what is and isn’t moral.

      Also, religious liberty is guaranteed by the first clause of the First Amendment. From a legal perspective that makes it a special category afforded protections.

      1. But what about atheism? That is generally considered to be included in anti-discrimination clauses nowadays.

        1. You are right about the text of the first amendment though. I had not thought of that.

        2. A lot of atheists take it too far, turning it into a religion. Science damn them!

      2. A religion dictates how you live your life and how you will receive supposed “salvation”. Politics is just bitching back and forth at one another.

        Or … ‘A political system dictates how you live your life and how you will receive supposed “freedom and justice”. Religion is just bitching back and forth at one another.’

    2. It boils down to freedom of thought. After all, that’s what politics and religion are. Thought.

      Thing is, the left doesn’t like freedom of thought. Thinking the wrong things is bad.

      So in the minds of the left this is an issue of freedom for them. The freedom to punish people who think things that they don’t like.

      1. Religion tends to involve action too. Religious people want to read holy texts, go to worship, gather for religious causes, etc.

        I definitely agree with the lefty control plan but they want to control everything they can. Thought, speech, actions, behaviors.

        Socialism really is a plague.

        1. Imdeed. Every single thing they do is about stripping away individual determination and substituting their ideas, which are little more than the history of now.

    3. Random aside, there is an ever growing body of evidence that supports the fact that political views, personality traits, etc are mostly inherited. Most traits show to be 50-70% inherited from parents directly, after adjusting for environment through adoptions studies etc.

      I’d lay money on the fact that if you traced it back another generation or two, since all heritable traits are known to include generation skipping etc, the heritability factor would be even higher. So you’re probably correct in saying that your political views are largely not by choice, but rather that your brain wiring inherently pointed you in a conservative-ish libertarian direction. I’ve always felt the same way. I was always conservative leaning in most regards, but my father was a crazy libertarian leaner, with right wing tendencies too. I was always more traditionally conservative than him from the time I was a pre-teen. I’m pretty sure it’s just my brain wiring. Science seems to be proving it.

      An interesting outcome of this is that white liberals are breeding themselves out of existence, so the country will probably swing conservative RIGHT as The Long March seemed to be coming to an end! Gen Z actually seems to be the vanguard of when the breeding differential is starting to really come to fruition. Science is cool stuff!

  12. Well that didn’t take long

    Chicago bar bans MAGA hats

    1. That’s old, I think. But, more power to the owner. Let the market decide the validity of his virtue signaling

      1. Also, I never understood people who wear clothing representing the political candidate they like. It’s like wearing a big sign saying “slave”

        1. More like “slaver.”

          1. True

    2. Why would anyone go to Chicago?

      1. Deep dish pizza?

        1. “Deep dish pizza?”


          What else you got?

          1. Drive by shootings?

            1. “Drive by shootings?”

              Fake news.

              What else you got?

              1. Community organizing?

                1. “Community organizing?”

                  Obama’s out of that game, so nothing to see there.

                  What else you got?

                  1. I got you babe?

                    1. Portillo’s hot dogs and burgers. Worth the visit to Chicago.

                  2. Wrigley Field?

          2. Hot dogs with vegetables and celery salt on them.

            1. Italian beef sandwich with peppers and onions. There was a place on kedzie ave.

        2. Deep dish, maybe. For pizza I’d go to a city that has it.

          1. Spokane has a Rocky Roccoco’s. Very good deep dish pizza there.

      2. But once you are there you really need alcohol, and at least it is not Philadelphia.

        1. At least it’s always sunny in Philadelphia.

      3. Old Style beer?

  13. Two comments.
    First, I fully support the Red Hen’s right to serve whomever they please. But, they could have spared commotion and embarrassment all round simply by posting a prominent sign on their front door stating that conservatives are not welcome.
    Second, by equating bakers’ religious convictions and restaurateurs’ politics, many on the left have affirmed my long-held suspicion that hard core progressivism is pretty much akin to a religious cult. It’s a bit refreshing that they are finally being up front about it.

    1. It is a cult.

      These dumb dumbs would rather lose money after virtue signalling backfires on them than simply be the best business around.

      They also shovel tons of cash toward the lefty leader of the day.

      The leaders demand absolute loyalty to the ’cause’.

    2. There is no evidence Sarah Huckabee Sanders was shunned because of conservatism. It seems likely that restaurant has served plenty of right-wingers without incident.

      She appears to have been shunned because she is a slack-jawed, lying mouthpiece for bigotry and backwardness.

      I recognize this distinction likely evades the average (which means below-average) Trump supporter.

      1. “She appears to have been shunned because she is a slack-jawed, lying mouthpiece for bigotry and backwardness.”

        No, she isn’t a spokesperson for you progressives. She works for President Trump. Who is making America great again. I can see where that is a problem for you, since you want to destroy this wonderful country out of hatred and spite. Which is what largely drives a progressive.

    3. “But, they could have spared commotion and embarrassment all round simply by posting a prominent sign on their front door stating that conservatives are not welcome.”

      Sabo has them covered.

  14. Conservatives should be careful what they demand in cases like these

    Conservatives? Have you all been lobotomized?

    Conservatives advocate for the right of people to serve the customers of THEIR choice, the right of people to associate–or not–freely with people of THEIR choosing.

    Reason writers, on the other hand have been twisting themselves into knots trying to accept leftist proscriptions on such–‘yes, but’ is the catchphrase here.


    1. Making a custom cake for someone’s special day isn’t art, isn’t protected, doesn’t fall under the definition of ‘free expression–but anonymous orders coming in to the kitchen does? Do you even understand how the stupid law is supposed to work?

      If a faggot and a nigger come in to your bakery to buy donuts and some breakfast rolls, you can’t say no. Because it requires no extra effort on your part. But if that faggot says that he wants to marry that nigger and wants you to create a miscegenated gay wedding cake for them you can say no because it DOES require extra effort on your part..

      That’s how it’s supposed to work. But ‘protected class’ theory has allowed people IN protected classes special rights–among them compelling labor, speech, employment, and housing.

      And writers at Reason have gone along with this when creating a new protected class has created the illusion of expanding liberty.

      Why? Well because the language theoretically includes everyone. Everyone gets to use public accommodation.

      Only it doesn’t work that way in practice. In practice, wrongthinkers can be discriminated against.

      And the writers know it–hence the ‘yes, but’

      1. Keepin’ it classy, I see!

        1. Keepin’ it classy, I see!

          went over your head, I see!

          But, honestly, most things must, right?

      2. If you want perfect liberty in commerce, you have to accept that those refused service should be able to exercise perfect liberty in return (which they can’t today). That would mean government thugs won’t stop the refused from erecting barriers and disincentives to accessing the donut shop, including buying the sidewalk directly in front of the door. Once the donut seller relies on any government support (sidewalks, EMTs resuscitating the customers who choke on the donuts, etc.), they exchange some level of liberty in return. The grown-ups are talking about where that level should be.

        1. ipsquire

          While absolutely true, there is a great deal more nuance going on.

          For perfect liberty in commerce there should also be the right to charge people different amounts, offering differing degrees of service, or even special arrangements with other businesses (or government) to do the same. Yet there isn’t the same degree of gnashing of teeth over these, with maybe some allusions of how some invisible hand will sort all these things out. Eventually. And by by god it is always miraculously for the better.

          Nevermind you also have the government picking and choosing which are protected classes, when it is okay to discriminate, or which products and services are available.

          Essentially it boils down to when I discriminate, it’s my prerogative, but when you do it, it’s a crime.

      3. That’s……..not the phrasing I would have gone with, but it does accurately explain the difference between standard and custom work.

  15. The cases – kicking out Sarah Sanders, and kicking out gay couples – are equivalent in that both cases implicate the freedom of association.
    The cases are not *identical* in how the kickers handled the situation, obviously.
    One was more rude than the other.
    But it is small comfort to those affected that their patronage was denied by a shopkeeper who was ‘nice’.

  16. This article confuses the point. If the law were forcing the owner of the Red Hen to serve Huckabee Sanders, I think everyone with any kind of consistency on this matter who defended the bakery owner would defend the Red Hen’s right to refuse service. That, however, is not what is happening here. The Red Hen has every right to refuse service. And other people have every right to criticize that decision and take their money elsewhere.

    There is another key difference that the author misses. The bakery did not refuse all service to the gay couple. It refused to make them a wedding cake. It was happy to sell them any product that didn’t involve their wedding. The Red Hen refused service to Huckabee Sanders. To be analogous to the bakery case, the Red Hen would have had to have been happy to serve Sanders but declined to host a Trump victory rally dinner. Under those circumstances, the Red Hen’s owner would be much more sympathetic and easier to defend. That, however, is not what happened.

    Whatever your opinion of the two cases, they are not analogous for a variety of reasons. The author and reason does their readers a disservice pretending they are.

    1. Exactly.

      Under the Libertarian push for freedom of association, a racist has every right to refuse to service a customer they don’t like because of race.

      There is also nothing stopping every Libertarian from blasting that racist store owner for being a bad business person.

      1. Or just being a bad person. Personally I feel every right to critique a person’s morality without regards to their business ability.

        Nathan Bedford Forrest was apparently a great businnessman. When I denounce slave trading it is not because I doubt its profitability.

    2. John should attend Regent’s law school, or Liberty’s. He’d be a natural.

  17. Two comments.
    First, I fully support the Red Hen’s right to serve whomever they please. But, they could have spared commotion and embarrassment all round simply by posting a prominent sign on their front door stating that conservatives are not welcome.
    Second, by equating bakers’ religious convictions and restaurateurs’ politics, many on the left have affirmed my long-held suspicion that hard core progressivism is pretty much akin to a religious cult. It’s a bit refreshing that they are finally being up front about it.

  18. Civility is a worthy ideal… and it certainly should not be imposed upon us by the state.

    Civility cannot be imposed upon us by the state, or anyone else for that matter.

    True civility emerges wholly from self control.

    That’s what makes it such a worthy ideal.

  19. it certainly should not be imposed upon us by the state.

    Who argued the state should impose civility? It certainly was not included in the list of repercussions to the Red Hen.

    It seems Reason is now inventing arguments in its continuing but absurd effort to blame both sides. When Fox invents circumstances to justify their outrage Reason (rightly) mocks their stupidity and generalizes to the groups worldview. Now you’re doing it yourselves.

    I expect better.

  20. In the past, restaurants could deny service to blacks. Many bars did not allow women to patronize them. Most people agree that if you open a public business then you agree to serve all comers. If your money is green, then you are serviced with the best service from the business owner. In general, it is in the business owners self interest to serve all customers with respect.

    How is baking a cake or selling flowers to a gay couple violating your religious beliefs? Cakes and flowers are objects. Neither is required for marriage. if you wish to get married in a religious institution, clergy can refuse to perform a marriage for ANY reason. That is where religious liberty comes in and is still very much intact.

    The sale of wedding cakes and flowers is no different than selling a meal at a diner. We have established a diner can’t tell a black person they won’t be served or require them to take their meal “to go”. A public establishment must serve all people.

    The Red Hen likely happily serves many conservative people. Sarah Huckabee Sanders is the mouthpiece of the current administration. The Red Hen’s refusal to serve her was not discrimination, but political protest.

    1. Sure it was. And the people that are now trashing its yelp reviews and trying to run it out of business are engaging in political protest as well. Is that the world you want to live in?

      1. It’s a little like Chick-fil-a,..if Chick-fil-a had ever actually told someone to leave for wearing a rainbow pin.
        So, it’s really not.

        I support the right of the Red Hen to serve anyone they choose, and refuse service to anyone they choose, but I also support the right of the community at large, or members within that community, to call them on their BS.
        Also, are we assuming the Red Hen owners were opposed to the Masterpiece Cakeshop vs Colorado decision, or do we have the owners own words saying it was a miscarriage?

        1. Chic-fil-a is a completely different set of circumstances. There is no indication that any Chic-fil-a restaurant has ever refused to serve a gay person, or discriminated against a gay person in any way. They are being attacked because the owner of the company, in his capacity as a private citizen, has supported causes that they oppose.

    2. In the past, restaurants could deny service to blacks.

      More like they had no choice. Jim Crow was government enforced racism.

    3. It’s funny how I read what you’re saying, and I can’t even figure out where you’re going until the end.

    4. I think the distinction in some of these cases is that it isn’t just simply selling someone a a standard product you have, it’s making them something custom or providing a service that requires you to participate in the event. If a gay couple wants you to make a special cake for their wedding with two grooms on the top, that’s a little different than just selling them the standard cake you have in the display case. Should a business owner really be required to have customers dictate what kind of custom products they make? If a Nazi wants a Happy Birthday Hitler cake, should the owner have to make it? Should they have to accept business that will require them to actively participate in a ceremony they don’t agree with. If a klan member asked a photographer to come take pictures of their cross burning I think most people would agree they should be able to say no. To me a public accomodation law is somewhat reasonable when it simply states a business open to the public should be open to the public. But I don’t think it should go as dictating what custom products or services are provided. A cake maker should be able to say, these are the kinds of cakes we make, if you want something else we don’t make that.

    5. “Most people agree that if you open a public business then you agree to serve all comers.”

      This may the true writ large, but not amongst libertarians. Once we reject that concept, the rest of your argument collapses.

    6. If you gare to a bakery and buy an item on the shelf, they legally have to,sell it to,you. If you want a specialty cake ordered to your specifications, they have every right to go tell you to pound sand if that’s not something they want or cannot make.

      In none of these cases was the customer refused a standard service or product. They were refused specialty work that the proprietor was uncomfortable providing.

  21. The real question is: is political bigotry ok?

    And people shouldn’t be surprised if the answer turns out to be “no.”

    Live by, die by.

  22. Total nonsense. Economic freedom isn’t absolute. It’s freedom, like any freedom or liberty, is only free to the extent that it not fall victim to arbitrary constraint. The Lochner Era has long since passed.

    But this article entirely misses the distinction of the two cases at hand (Red Hen/Gay Wedding Cake). The former ought to survive on the basis of liberty inasmuch as it doesn’t violate or infringe upon fundamental right. That is, Huckabee qua a restaurant patron has never been imbued with any special classification or victim status within the scope of judicial interpretation. She’s just a person going to eat dinner, her politics by association alone accounting for her denial of that dinner. Any indignity she suffers, while indecent, doesn’t bring into question any constitutional protections.

    The gay folks suffer a different fate. Their liberty was denied in the context of historical victim/classification status; their assault (upon their liberty) must be balanced in terms of how gays as a collective whole were, and still partially remain, a persecuted minority; thus, they necessarily are entitled to legal redress within the constitutional protections of the 14th amendment.

    1. Edit: its for it’s

    2. Boiled down: “Here’s a brief summary of protected classes under the 14th Amendment.”

      Congrats, you’ve received a B+ on your ConLaw exam.

      Unfortunately, this article was focused not on the existing state of 14th Amendment jurisprudence, but on the general principles that *should* guide how we think about about these events. As such, I award your comment a mere C-.

      1. Dude, I went to Temple U.; ie, B+c-…I’ll take it.

        1. Fair point. Curves are a bitch.

          But in all seriousness: I don’t think you’re wrong, I just think the jurisprudence you summarize (Heart of Atlanta Motel and it’s progeny) is wrong.

          Let’s let people discriminate. Then let’s judge them for it. They can freely associate. Then we can choose to freely (dis)associate.

          1. Exactly this. I have experienced this before. On vacation to New Zealand, my wife and I stayed at a b&b which, a month later, we heard on the radio was being investigated for discriminating against a lesbian couple. If they had been allowed to advertise as “no queers allowed”, we’d never have stayed there.

          2. Close. I was focused on the OP’s “economic freedom” train of thought and so recalled “Lochner v. NY.” “Heart of Atlanta” came much later, addresses commerce clause reach, and, yep, discrimination beyond state acts.

            As to allowing discrimination…we already tried that. We even ended with “dis-association.” It was called the Civil War.

    3. Having a customized cake made by a particular individual for one’s wedding is a “fundamental right?”

      1. Can’t spell reparations without cake seems to be the gist of it.

      2. The fundamental right ain’t the cake; it’s being allowed, well, to have your cake and eat it, too. Badaboom.

        That just means the fundamental right rests within the scheme of the 14A, especially the liberty and equal protection clauses.

      3. “Having a customized cake made by a particular individual for one’s wedding is a “fundamental right?”

        By that standard an Orthodox Jew can demand kosher food from McDonalds.

    4. The law is an ass. Whole lotta legal jargon to say, essentially, that a=/=a and if a=b and a=c then b=/=c.

      1. This is what lawyers do.

  23. Baking a custom wedding cake on commission is NOT an instance of public accommodation. But serving a meal from a menu in a restaurant is. That’s the difference.

    Way too many people, including libertarians, don’t understand what public accommodation is. It’s part of common law and has been for centuries. It means if you hang up a shingle you can’t refuse to do business with someone without cause. That cause could be disorderly conduct, not wearing a coat and tie, etc., but not just because you don’t like who they work for or what church they go to or even the color of their skins.

    Which is why we needed the Civil Rights Act, because Jim Crow laws had made public accommodation illegal. Yes, there were other avenues that could have been taken, but the idea that some libertarians have that it’s okay to deny accommodation to someone because of their skin color is bullshit. It’s okay to be a racist fuckhead, but it’s not okay to hang out a shingle and then turn people away when they show up. That’s fraud.

  24. Public accommodations restrain discrimination on various (protected) classes; they don’t restrain owners from refusing to do business with people, in general. If I own a car wash and don’t like the music you’re playing in your car and deny you the car wash, you’re screwed. Sorry.

    1. But you can get service if you’re not playing music. Because you can deny people service for their behavior, but you can’t deny them merely for who they are.

      1. And you should be able to do both.

  25. What’s next? Sign in at the door and document your political affiliation before being served a meal?

  26. The main difference here is that you don’t hear a lot of people on the right suggesting that the Red Hen should have been compelled by government force to serve Sanders and her family. Yes, you should have the right to refuse service, but other people should also have the right to criticize your decision.

    1. Right. This obvious distinction escapes the writer.

  27. February 26, 2018 : A federal appeals court ruled Monday that a law prohibiting discrimination based on one’s sex also applies to “sexual orientation.” The case, Zarda v. Altitude Express, Inc., was over whether homosexuality is a protected class under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

    I don’t recall ever hearing any argument stating that working for a disliked President is a ‘protected class’…. Can anyone show me anything?

    1. The issue-of who can deny whom-reduces exactly to what you refer: ‘protected class.’ Dear Sarah might very well be the rooster of power in the WH, but she’s just another cackling chicken when in the little Red Hen.

      Not a whole lot can save her involuntary exit. I’ll allow that the commerce clause could probably find some traction as her remedy if push came to shove, but let’s not go there.

      WRT gays as a protected class under the ’64 Civil Rights Act, that’s got to be a stretch. Just run with 14a protections.

  28. Good article, but I wish she’d not pitched the issue as economic freedom, and economic freedom of association. It’s just freedom of association, period. The economic subset of that is neither a poor relation, nor the head of the family. It’s just an aspect of the wider thing.

    Civility is a worthy ideal, but it is not the only or highest consideration in most situations?and it certainly should not be imposed upon us by the state.

    Neatly put. I confess that I’ve struggled between the moral purity of completely free freedom of association and the practical aspects of widespread color bars and suchlike. It seems to me that surrendering freedom of association for the sake of civility is a very bad deal. Maybe, sometimes, in extremis, restricting it to ensure that a despised minority can buy the necessities of life might be justifiable. Or perhaps where all current suppliers decide to withdraw their business at short notice, before their target has time to make alternative arrangements. Emergencies essentially. But it doesn’t seem to me that any current examples qualify. Gays can get wedding cakes and flowers easily enough, and Sarah Sanders can get her supper.

  29. I think I have no problem with vendors choosing not to do business with customers who are considered “jerks” (although, for example, I could see Richard Spencer being restauranteur determining that a whole demographic class are “jerks”) so long as the class of business is not life-threatening, so for example, a convenience store in the middle of the Arizona desert not selling water could be life-threatening, etc., and certainly anything dealing with health care, such as pharmacists & evidently ambulances, should not be free from being compelled to serve all customers.

  30. Has anyone filed a lawsuit against Red Hen? It seems this is the major difference between outrage on the left and the right. The right will protest, boycott, even vandalize (and so will the left) but the right rarely attempts to invoke the power of government to force a business into submission. On the left however, that is one of their first moves.

  31. Perhaps my brain is muddled by old age, the lateness of the hour here, or the two beers that I had a few hours ago, but this idea just occurred to me.

    Suppose I own and run a business, and you are a potential customer. Few will contest that you have economic freedom, including the right to decide when, where, how, and with whom to do business. You may patronize my business, or you may not, and you don’t have to justfy your decision to anyone.

    Viewed from the other direction, why should I have less economic freedom than you do? After all, I am just another person, like you. What is so intrinsically different about me that I am obligated to do business with you, but you are not obligated to do business with me?

    Usually, when one person is forced to be at the service of another, we call that slavery.

    1. I just read Lee Moore’s comment above. I should have left out the word “economic.”

    2. “Usually, when one person is forced to be at the service of another, we call that slavery.”

      Stipulating, arguendo, that you’re right, can you imagine any scenario where the “slavery” you endure becomes justified by it ending other hardships? I have in mind one: where, say, a lawyer or doctor as businessmen are compelled to extend their services to someone who’s been socially rejected or stigmatized on the basis of specious calculations.

  32. Stephanie, I’m only saying this because I like you… But I’m afraid this article doesn’t throw in quite enough virtue signalling to the left. I’m afraid your senior Reason co-workers may not take kindly to this kind of thing, so you may wish to throw in some more small sleights against Trump/Nazis/the right in general next time.

    Either that or just keep writing actually sane articles without a bunch of progressive nonsense slipped in. I kinda like it, it’s almost like you’re actually defending libertarianism or something!

  33. You cannot compare these cases for many reasons except in the minds of progressives any discrimination against anyone they do not like or agree with is acceptable. This is why they have ranted against the rulings for the baker and florist but cheered for the harassment of Trump administration officials. If I own a business, I should have the right to run it into the ground if I choose. Asking Sanders and her family to leave was legal and the right of the owner. Clearly the owner has paid a very large price for the action in the past few days, but again, if she wishes to do stupid things to destroy her business, so be it. Personally if I had been the owner, I would have told my employees, “no problem, I will come in and serve her and tomorrow, you will all need to find another job.” If they cannot serve a person because of their political beliefs, I would not want them working for me because I did not hire them to espouse their politics, but just serve food.

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