MENU

Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

Will and Grace Botches the Gay Wedding Cake Fight

Nobody has the right to force bakers to print speech they hate. The debate is over what counts as speech.

Granted, we shouldn't expect complex legal analysis from television comedies, even ones that have lawyers in them. But I thought that Will & Grace, of all shows, would at least grasp the basics of the conflict around conservative bakers and gay wedding cakes.

Alas: Thursday's Will & Grace, in its comic pursuit of laughs connected to current gay issues, gets the entire wedding cake debate absurdly wrong in its attempt to flip the script.

In "The Beefcake and the Cake Beef," over-the-top wealthy gadfly Karen, a vocal supporter of Donald Trump, is rejected by a bakery when she tries to get a cake made with "MAGA" on it for a birthday party for the president.

Here's the set-up:

Refusing Karen is well within the bakery's rights, and it will be regardless of how the Masterpiece Cakeshop case before the Supreme Court comes out. A pro-Trump message on a cake is speech. A cake baker, a T-shirt printer, or a book publisher cannot be forced to print speech that he or she disagrees with. That's called compelled speech.

The show ends up taking this role reversal to a weird and terrible conclusion. Grace, who hates Trump and all he stands for, pushes the bakery to make Karen's MAGA cake, going so far as to raise the specter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) coming after them. To its credit, the show takes the argument to its natural, terrible conclusion: The episode ends with the baker reluctantly baking a customer a cake with a swastika on it.

But in doing so, the show pretty much gets everything backwards. It mentions that the ACLU has represented the free speech rights of Nazis, and this is true, but the show doesn't even grasp the basic idea that the bakery has speech rights too. When it comes to compelled speech, the ACLU would likely be defending the bakery here.

MAGA cake on 'Will and Grace'The argument about gay wedding cakes is fundamentally about what counts as speech and expression. The ACLU is representing gay couples in these wedding cases, including Masterpiece Cakeshop. Their argument is not that bakers have to cook whatever cake their customers demand. They're arguing that this isn't a speech or religious freedom issue and that it's foundationally about denying service to gay people in violation of public accommodation laws. They don't see wedding cakes and other wedding products as a form of expressive speech. The writing on the cake, yes. The cake itself, no.

I think the ACLU is wrong here. So does the Reason Foundation, which publishes this site: We've submitted an amicus brief supporting the bakery and arguing that custom-made wedding goods like cakes and floral arrangements count as expressive speech and therefore that the government cannot force businesses to provide them. But even some libertarians disagree. Eugene Volokh of The Volokh Conspiracy (hosted here at Reason) submitted an amicus brief supporting the opposite side.

Within this dispute, though, neither side argues that a baker should be required to make any cake that any customer wants. People do not give up their rights to free speech (and more important, the right to refuse to communicate some speech) just because they've opened a business and serve the public. Everything about this debate is where those boundaries of speech sit.

So Grace was completely in the wrong when she browbeat the bakery into making Karen's MAGA cake. By doing so, she treated those bakers as though they're nothing but servants with no say in what they may do—which, ironically, makes her just like Karen.

Photo Credit: 'Will & Grace'

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Just Say'n||

    A wealthy NYC Trump supporter? The ACLU defending the free speech rights of bakers?

    Is Will and Grace set in an alternate reality?

  • The_Hoser||

    The same alternate reality where anyone wanted Will & Grace back on the air.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Indeed. It's just more obtuse progtarded virtue signaling from elitist hollywood trash. It makes me long for Joe McCarthy (Hell, even Andrew McCarthy) and blacklists.

  • BigT||

    Charlie McCarthy!

  • soldiermedic76||

    Will this be like 30 Rock? No audience but kept on the air because the industry likes it?

  • Trollificus||

    If it were minus the talented, smart and funny co-producer/writer/star? Yeah, that.

  • ||

    A wealthy NYC Trump supporter?

    Karen's role on the show has long been "Voice of Evil." They would have no idea how to write an actual Trump supporter.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    That's been a common trope in sitcoms for decades--the token "conservative" who's basically a walking strawman (or woman) for the left-wing screenwriters to torch.

  • ||

    A little Archie Bunker, anyone?

  • operagost||

    I get a kick out of conservatives quoting Archie Bunker like he was some sort of savant, with no sense of irony. I do have to admit that the writers' attempt to set up their straw man inadvertently resulted in the occasional confusingly insightful statements. They really look at people who think differently from them as insane, animalistic, or both.

  • UVaGrad||

    A wealthy NYC Trump supporter?

    They certainly exist. Stephen Schwarzman, for one.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Not to mention Trump himself.

  • Joe_JP||

    Rich conservatives live in NYC too & ACLU defends free speech (including of conservatives) all the time.

    So, no.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The episode ends with the baker reluctantly baking a customer a cake with a swastika on it.

    Gary Johnson predicted this and everyone laughed at him. But who's laughing now? Absolutely nobody.

  • Eidde||

    I was going to say, "who's writing their scripts, Gary Johnson?"

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    And I was going to say, "I better make a Gary Johnson comment before someone else comes along and tries his hand and ends up embarrassing himself with a lesser quality joke." So I did say it.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Ever the hero, Fist. Making the bad jokes so the rest of us look better.

  • Eidde||

    Getting his Johnson in first.

  • Nardz||

    Crossing articles here, but he won't have much longer to get it in the general hooker entrance.
    Time is of the essence

  • DajjaI||

    Yes, we must criminalize browbeating. Thanks, Reason.

  • BigT||

    When the govt does it, yes. Private parties are just assholes.

  • ||

    So this is where it ends, eh? /cue The End by The Doors.

    Discussing civil liberties based on a stupid program written by progressives and acted by progressive loons like Messing.

    Of course they get it wrong. In order to make a salient point, one needs to possess self-awareness on some level and a guiding principled intellectual outlook.

    Neither of which fits the modern progressive profile at the moment.

  • ||

    Discussing civil liberties based on a stupid program written by progressives and acted by progressive loons like Messing.

    Of course they get it wrong. In order to make a salient point, one needs to possess self-awareness on some level and a guiding principled intellectual outlook.

    Neither of which fits the modern progressive profile at the moment.

    Do you ever think it dawned on Shackford that Messing and Will & Grace may have consistently gotten things this backwards from the beginning?

    Will and Grace never even approached anything that I would regard as a reasonably funny or politically biting sitcom and always felt like the network kept it on so it could check a "Gay-themed content" checkbox. Never rising to the levels of comedy, satire, or sexual/gender orientation diversity of shows like Bosom Buddies, MASH, or 3's Company. It's a bit like whomever took over the Daily Show, contorting the facts to get a laugh is one thing, but if you aren't getting the laughs, aren't you somewhere between paid liar and propaganda machine?

  • ||

    Right off the bat they went hard into the anti-Trump propaganda. It was so lame my apolitical wife (who for some reason watches this retardedly unfunny show) found it lame.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    the network kept it on so it could check a "Gay-themed content" checkbox

    I often find myself wondering what gays think of shows like this. I've never watched this show (or its earlier version) but I've occasionally watched Modern Family (and gave up on it, it isn't funny either). The thing I noticed about the gay couple is that they're practically a perfect match for the light-in-the-loafers stereotype that I figured gays hate. I know it's just a sitcom, but still can't see how gays would consider it as checking the box.

  • Rhywun||

    I've never seen Modern Family but I will just say this. Gays and gay couples come in every variety you can imagine and showing them on TV is damned if you do, damned if you don't - someone will find something to complain about every character. This one is "too gay", this one is "too straight", etc. And don't even get me started with all the arguments over the actors portraying them.

  • operagost||

    The Sarah Silveman Show had the best gay sitcom couple. They were basically accidentally gay.

  • shawn_dude||

    Hard to disagree with this analysis. An attractive, gay, young lawyer in NYC with a huge apartment that can't get dates or have any physical intimacy on screen? Hard to believe.

    But then again, it had an openly gay character on TV at a time when "Klinger" from MASH was still considered a high point. At least Will wasn't made out to have one of the various "acceptable" gay stereotypes like "tragic HIV victim" or "pedophile" or "sexual predator." In some ways, Will being just a normal guy was a revolutionary gay character for TV.

    Still... no dates? Really?

  • ||

    Hard to disagree with this analysis. An attractive, gay, young lawyer in NYC with a huge apartment that can't get dates or have any physical intimacy on screen? Hard to believe.

    But then again, it had an openly gay character on TV at a time when "Klinger" from MASH was still considered a high point. At least Will wasn't made out to have one of the various "acceptable" gay stereotypes like "tragic HIV victim" or "pedophile" or "sexual predator." In some ways, Will being just a normal guy was a revolutionary gay character for TV.

    This assumes that your cultural norms require some manner of overt or constant sexual activity declaration and/or that your personal shit, all of it, is everybody's personal shit, always. If you get past the need for gayness to be open (It is the LGBTQI*A* movement, right?), Bert and Ernie have been normalizing homosexuality for lots more people lots longer and from more impressionable times than Will and Grace could ever possibly hope to achieve and the successive march of Bert and Ernie, Ren and Stimpy, Spongebob and Patrick, etc. makes any normalizing attempt made by Will & Grace seem like the distinctly negative attempt that it actually is/was.

  • ||

    Bert and Ernie, Ren and Stimpy, Spongebob and Patrick, etc. makes any normalizing attempt made by Will & Grace seem like the distinctly negative attempt that it actually is/was.

    Except that most people wouldn't see these as gay couples any more than Martin & Lewis, Abbot & Costello, or the Odd Couple.

    I agree with shawn_dude that if Will & Grace had any significance it was that Will is just a normal guy. It's not as earth-shattering as they like to pretend, but there it is.

  • Red Tony||

    To be fair, Ren and Stimpy became a gay couple in the reboot.

    But most people hated the reboot.

  • shawn_dude||

    @Square = Circle,

    It was earth-shattering for the time. At least it was for me. The show was much better for Jack and Karen, frankly, but Will being just a normal guy (minus relationships) was still a strange thing to see on TV at the time. Consider that, even today, effeminacy is still used by Hollywood to mark characters as bad guys. When you only see yourself represented on TV as gay and evil or gay and flaming or gay and dying, just one boring educated guy like Will is a game changer.

  • BigT||

    Laurel and Hardy have a sad.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Shawn, it will all be easier in a decade or two when medical science will finally have a cure for your 'alternate' sexuality. Then you will have a choice to be normal.

  • Trollificus||

    Sad show. It never rose to the level of average sit-com schlock humor (3rd grade repartee? Check. Laugh track that could run off a timer? Check. Stereotypes of human beings that should offend all human beings? Check. But still, somehow, below average? Check.), NOR to the level of average sit-com political commentary ("Wow. That bar is really waaay down there.")

    It existed (exists?) as a "Some of my best friends are black." faux litmus test. I know if I were gay and someone used "I watch Will and Grace." as a checkbox to show how open-minded they were, I'd definitely be checking a box on their personal assessment profile.

  • Rhywun||

    progressive loons like Messing

    I liked her better when she was dissing blacks and Jews on Seinfeld.

  • ||

    Her one shining moment.

  • Rhywun||

    And prog actors playing at unwoke, they eat that shit up. You can tell she enjoyed the hell out of that.

  • The_Hoser||

    Couldn't we make the argument that a really woke actor or actress would never allow such vile utterances to cross his or her lips? Deep down, Debra Messing must really believe those words!

    Prepare the torches!

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    "I liked her better when she was dissing blacks and Jews on Seinfeld."

    Which is really a lot closer to what progressives hide in their dark hearts (or what passes for a heart).

  • Trollificus||

    That's the part that makes the Second Law of SJWs ("SJWs always project.") most useful. Check the assumptions they make about non-proggies, and the attributes assigned to them. THAT is what they themselves are really like. Monolithic groupthink. Hatred of all outside the group. Unmitigated viciousness.

    Quite revealing.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "The argument about gay wedding cakes is fundamentally about what counts as speech and expression."

    That may be what it's about to you, the courts, and a slew of lawyers, but the argument about wedding cakes is about whether social justice warriors can use the coercive power of government to violate people's First Amendment religious rights in the name of public accommodation.

    What do your ideas about speech have to do with the government establishing the boundaries of religious convictions or prohibiting the free exercise of religion?

    "The ACLU is representing gay couples in these wedding cases, including Masterpiece Cakeshop. Their argument is not that bakers have to cook whatever cake their customers demand. They're arguing that this isn't a speech or religious freedom issue and that it's foundationally about denying service to gay people in violation of public accommodation laws.

    They're wrong. It's fondationaly about whether accommodation laws trump First Amendment freedom of religion.

  • Eidde||

    Sad to say, Scalia really screwed the pooch on this one - saying the First Amendment allows the government to trample on religious freedom so long as it's simply an unintended side-effect of a "neutral" law.

    Which is actually to discriminate against small and/or unpopular religions, which don't have the same ability as larger/more popular denominations to get exemptions they want.

  • shawn_dude||

    Uh...what? "small and/or unpopular religions" in the US like Christianity? The religion in play for this particular case? The religion that Pew says 70% of the country claims membership to? That small and/or unpopular religion?

    Civil rights that conflict, like in this case, need to be balanced in some reasonable fashion. We can see what happens when the faith of the majority (Christianity in the US but Islam in other countries) conflicts with the civil rights of others and is always given priority. It's not healthy for a Democracy with many faiths and people of no faith to always prioritize religion.

    Freedom of religion isn't the freedom to use your religion as a weapon against others. It's there to allow you your own beliefs not give you carte blanch to run roughshod over your fellow citizens.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Yet you apparently are supporting the ability of the gay couple to run roughshod over the baker.

    Under no reasonable definition were the gay couple's right violated or were they harmed. It is they who are using their beliefs asca weapon against him.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    As usual, Shawn whines about how awful and oppressive christians are, but is perfectly comfortable forcing his his values, which are apparently based around what he likes to fuck, on everyone else.

    I always knew it would never be enough to tolerate gays. It was always going to turn into them forcing their shit on everyone else. Now with the full force of government.

  • Eidde||

    "Christianity" is too general a category in this context since it includes many 'gay-friendly' denominations like the aptly-named PCUSU (mainline Presbyterians) and many Episcopalians, not to mention various don't-rock-the-boat types who don't really have the stomach for the legal and personal harassment they'd face for upholding the man/woman definition of marriage. And the "law 'n order" types who want to render to Caesar what is God's.

    So, yeah, obviously, the groups willing to resist the pressure are obviously a majority and/or unpopular.

  • Eidde||

    a minority and/or unpopular

  • Eidde||

    And PCUSA not PCUSU

  • soldiermedic76||

    Where does it end? Do you also agree with the lesbian couple who sued a church in Kansas because they refused to conduct their wedding ceremony (luckily the judge threw out the case)? Or the gay couple who sued the Wedding Chapel in Coeur d'Alene, ID? It is a private business, but it was originally a historic Methodist Church (my mother attended Sunday School there) that was purchased by long time parishioners and operated as a business. I and my wife chose to be married there by a Lutheran Minister and the business owners even then asked that we respect their Christian beliefs in our ceremony (not a problem since we had a Lutheran Minister). Mind you, at the time the gay couple sued, it wasn't even legal in Idaho for homosexuals to marry (but the state forced the owners to comply, instead they closed their business).

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Civil rights that conflict, like in this case, need to be balanced in some reasonable fashion."

    Rights are choices, and the appropriate purpose of government is to protect our right to make choices for ourselves--not to balance one group's right to make choices against another.

    In fact, a government that protects our right to make choices for ourselves is the definition of a free and just society.

    Individuals willfully violating other people's rights is the definition of crime.

    Government violating someone's rights on purpose is the definition of injustice.

    The appropriate purpose of government's job is not to perpetrate injustice on anyone.

    It's amazing that this even needs to be said.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    There is no natural right to force someone to sell you something. It's not very complicated.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    "Civil rights that conflict, like in this case"

    There aren't any civil rights conflicting in the Masterpiece Cake case; Public accommodation laws provide statutory, not constitutional, rights.

  • Iheartskeet||

    Agree, though this highlights the issue of public accommodation in other ways. CRA 1964 was just too broad in prohibiting private discrimination. Barry Goldwater called it back in the day, and he was right.

    I think this is just another manifestation of the act's huge overreach.

  • Ken Shultz||

    They're saying that the word "sex" now covers orientation--regardless of whether subsequent updates to the CRA and its corollaries intended it that way.

    The truth is that they picked a goal and rationalized a justification for it afterwards.

    It's a lot like the the Court's observations on the individual mandate and the ACA. The Court said it's job wasn't to save American from congress' bad laws--and if they wanted to change the law, future congresses were free to do so. Sure enough, we elected a new congress that changed that aspect of the law.

    If congress wants to add orientation to the CRA, they're free to do so. Because they didn't and someone wishes they did is no reason to rationalize that "sex" covers orientation. In fact, they added "sex" to the CRA subsequent to the CRA--proving that they can add new protected classes whenever they want and chose not to do so for orientation.

    Whether they should is a separate question from whether they did. The fact is they didn't.

    And whether the CRA and its housing corollaries, etc. somehow trump the First Amendment is another question still.

  • Iheartskeet||

    It may be a question for the courts etc, but not for me. The whole concept of attempting to ban private discrimination can only lead to a trampling of rights, one way of the other. These things also tend to backfire socially, fueling identity politics and resentment, as people see they they can use government force on others.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "These things also tend to backfire socially, fueling identity politics and resentment, as people see they they can use government force on others."

    Yeah, people who don't understand this run into the same problems--cross culturally and throughout history.

    Some people imagine that the government can violate people's rights without negative consequences, but that just isn't so.

    In fact, First Amendment religious protections originated in the Peace of Westphalia, which was meant to bring an end to the bloodshed of the Thirty Years War. The basic idea was that the emperor wouldn't choose the religion of the principalities (freedom from establishment), and individuals within the principalities would be free to exercise their own religion regardless (free exercise). It worked!

    Show me a place where the government discriminates against one group's religious beliefs, and I'll show you a place with religious conflict. It's a big part of the reason why there is so much strife in the Muslim world. People fight each other over who gets to be the emperor because the religion of the emperor may decide whether their religious rights will be protected. We don't want that here in America.

  • Nardz||

    "The episode ends with the baker reluctantly baking a customer a cake with a swastika on it."

    Right. That's the 'natural' conclusion. MAGA=Nazis.
    I am literally stunned that Reason supports Masterpiece. Stunned. Almost everything I see here, including the TDS in this article, is thinly veiled progressivism.
    Good for you for backing the baker, Reason. I guess.
    Maybe the real answer to so many of our problems is actually quite simple: STFU. Just STFU and live your own life. Go to another baker. Stop demanding that the entire world participate in your lifestyle choices. You do you. That's it.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Did you miss the part where the article is about an episode of a tv show?

  • Nardz||

    Nah, just needed to vent for unrelated reasons. This was a good article for it

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Jesus, dude. What do you think this is, the Internet?

  • Nardz||

    Oops

  • Trollificus||

    +1, self-awareness; +1 honesty

  • ||

    I hate the gay couple suing the baker more than the baker refusing to bake a damn cake on religious grounds. The former is far more damaging to civil liberties for the simple reason, as you stated, they could have shut the fuck up, told the owner to go fuck themselves and gone elsewhere. But nooooo, they brought in the heavy hand of the law, ruined a business and disrupted a family's livelihood all to soothe their faux-self-righteous bull shit.

    It wasn't about principles. It was about showing the baker who is boss by using coercion backed by the state.

  • Jerryskids||

    The personal is the political and even if you aren't interested in the zeitgeist, the zeitgeist is interested in you. This is a participatory democracy, dammit, no one is allowed to sit quietly on the sidelines.

  • SimonD||

    From what I've read, it was always their intention to ruin the baker's business.

  • SimonD||

    Sorry, to expand on the point. From the beginning, the couple went to that particular baker specifically because they expected the baker to refuse to provide that service. That would allow them to sue.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Same with the Elaine Photography case: They contacted multiple photographers, and settled on Elaine only after being notified they wouldn't do the work.

    That's the usual pattern here: They're not looking for somebody to do the work, they're looking for somebody to sue.

  • Trollificus||

    AND a government agency willing to be complicit in their action.

    I went to the Oregon agency (forget what it was called..."State Office of Inclusion and Rainbow-shitting Unicorns" or something.) that backed the gay couple on this, expecting to see some kind of disclaimer "It's unfortunate that the state must discomfit some citizens in protecting the rights...blahdeblah." But no. The statement was a Clooney-worthy smugathon of self-righteousness and self-proclaimed heroism regarding the noble defense of the Holy State of Oregon against evil Nazi bakers intent on killing/harming/slightly inconveniencing a favored group. Ugly shit. I was shocked, but I guess that just points to my own naivete.

  • Scott S.||

    You should maybe ... I don't know ... read more of our site? Reason's been around for 50 years. Click on the mag archives or something.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    Oh Scott, don't be silly. It's waaaaay easier to just spout retarded drivel.

  • Nardz||

    A point we've seen you demonstrate over and over again

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    Oooohhhh, BURN!

  • gormadoc||

    No, stop making me participate in your lifestyle choices!

  • Nardz||

    Scott, it's not a terrible article but misses the point. Read Ken's comment above. What counts as speech is of secondary importance.

    The primary issue in the Masterpiece case is whether 'collective' rights override individual rights.

    Reason, being self-proclaimed libertarian, should recognize this - though I'm glad you're aiding the baker.

    And it amazes me that yall run countless articles on tariffs, opiates, guns (most important of topics listed), and whatever TDS symptom is the day's rage, but in the last month or so I've not seen a single article on FISA and FBI abuses, nor the impending March to war with Russia over likely fabricated "evidence."

    What gives?

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    What gives?

    It's not Scott's job to write out your thoughts?

  • MarkLastname||

    You mean the voice I hear in my head isn't Scott's? It's been lying to me this whole time?

  • Scott S.||

    "so I've not seen a single article on FISA "

    I think I just set a world record for sighing. I'm out. This is why I rarely interact with commenters anymore.

  • Nardz||

    Seriously?
    So you can point me to an article on Reason discussing the issue of whether or not an FBI agent should be allowed to retire, and collect a tax funded pension, or be fired for lying to violate the 4th amendment rights of an American citizen? I bring this up as it's among the most significant topics today.
    If so, I retract my insinuation regarding that subject.

  • Scott S.||

    How about you go back through the archives and read what Reason has written about FISA surveillance abuse for YEARS before Trump ever even ran for president in the first place. Or maybe check out the next issue of Reason where I explain how most Republicans do not give one flying fuck about illegal surveillance of Americans except to protect Trump.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    "Or maybe check out the next issue of Reason where I explain how most Republicans do not give one flying fuck about illegal surveillance of Americans except to protect Trump."

    That's.........quite an assumption. I look forward to reading it to see upon what you're basing that statement. For the record, I know rather a lot of republicans, and not a single one of them is a fan of the surveillance state. So color me a bit skeptical going in.

  • Charles Easterly||

    Today the House may vote to renew the authority of the FBI and National Security Agency (NSA) to engage in unwarranted surveillance and codify its use against Americans.

    Nardz,

    perhaps this is relevant.

  • Nardz||

    Thanks, Charles.
    I, too, despise the FISA law and it's one of the issues I have with the Rs (there are many).
    What I find curious about the article is Scott's explicitly partisan perspective. Yes, Rs deserve the bulk of responsibility for passing the law, but not once does he mention the events that to the widespread awareness of FISA we have today. And the current issue goes beyond the FISA law, and its rather unconstitutional nature, to the clear abuse with which it's been used by the FBI. We have our own secret police now, but that's not remarked upon.
    I've only been reading Reason for a month or so, but I came here to get a libertarian perspective. Instead, I've found largely disguised progressivism - and there's nothing I oppose more than totalitarian socialism.

  • BigT||

    Pre-Trump this was a largely libertarian site with a sprinkling of progressives. Now, in order to virtue signal and disavow Trumps vulgarity at every turn, it has become a barely tolerable left-libertarian mashup. Except for KMW and ENB.

  • Nardz||

    Left-libertarian...
    So, I guess: "individuals are free to own (some) guns and do any drugs they want (and the state should aid in this endeavor), but not free to doubt climate change funding or abide by their own values"
    ?

  • shawn_dude||

    If it was just about cakes, I don't think you'd see as much push-back. The question isn't answered by "Go to another baker" when the service changes from pastries to surgeries or education or government services. The arguments being made are about "religious freedom" which isn't limited to cakes. And laws are drafted that attempt to exempt healthcare and government personnel from providing service to people based on their faith. Cakes are just the trivial tip of the iceberg that makes a useful public marketing tool.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    And laws are drafted that attempt to exempt healthcare and government personnel from providing service to people based on their faith.

    You mean like forcing Jehova's Witnesses to get blood transfusions even though it violates their religious beliefs?

  • shawn_dude||

    Or like refusing to provide medical services to an infant because the mother is a lesbian. Or refusing to record legal public documents at the county courthouse because the resident at the counter is gay. Or refusing to take medical instruction from a legal spouse because the couple in question are the same sex.

    As for the Witnesses... that's not quite the same thing. You cannot force an adult Jehova's Witness in the US to get a blood transfusion without their consent. However, a child is a trickier issue. That takes other things into consideration and it is possible that the government will require a transfusion. As a non-lawyer, I'm very familiar with the details here but it has to do with child welfare law in the US. A similar situation would be devout Christian parents sending their kid to a "homosexual therapy" program that uses aversion therapy and the government standing in their way.

  • Mickey Rat||

    The doctor in question in the case of infant with yhe lesbian parents wss not refusing to provide immediate care. The physician was refusing to be the long term pediatrician for them because she felt that she could not give good advice to what she saw as an inherently unhealthy family situation. It was a bit more involvef than mere "medical care".

  • shawn_dude||

    If you'll re-read the article, she was both refusing immediate care (required checkup) and future care. What makes this significant isn't this one doctor but that states have passed laws to protect doctors like this from being fired from their employers for refusing service. And some of these laws do not make exceptions for emergency medical services.

    The libertarian position here allows for emergency medical personnel to refuse service based on religious objections. That has consequences that are obscured by the bickering about a silly cake.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    That a crock o' shit. It's called EMTALA.

    Very bad things happen if you violate it.

    The libertarian position here allows for emergency medical personnel to refuse service based on religious objections.

    So you're in literally in favor of slavery then? Good to know.

  • A_Spellman||

    A required check-up is not an emergency. If the doctor refused to treat the child for an emergency illness or injury, you'd have a case.

  • MarkLastname||

    You just love the smell of straw burning in the morning, don't you.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    You're comparing the receipt of services from a private business to emergency services and government agencies? Those are very different things. A private business has every right to turn away anyone for any reason they see fit, period. Emergency services, including medicine, are different, as it is accepted that they can't discriminate. Government can't discriminate, as everyone is an owner.

  • Nardz||

    And of course, in situations such as this, we do see the government discriminating - some people can be refused service, others can't, depending on the identifying class the government places them in.

  • Ben of Houston||

    Nerdz. If a baker is not allowed to refuse to make a cake with a slogan on it, then they are not allowed to refuse a Nazi either.

    Speech protections do not allow content filters. If anything, that is the most ext

  • Nardz||

    I agree?
    Though try getting the government to enforce the law equally. In the situation you describe, I don't think they would.
    And that was my point.

  • GILMORE™||

    "Thursday's Will & Grace"

    I knew that film companies have rebooted every even quasi-successful movie of the 1980s/1990s in pathetic attempt to appeal to aging gen X nostalga or something...

    ...but i didn't realize they'd now moved on to resurrecting half-assed tv shows as well. ffs, it wasn't even funny the first time.

    Sure, it was notable for being 'that gay show' that actually treated 'gay' as slightly-more-respectable than, say, "Three's Company", but by today's uber-woke-standard i'd guess it would still trigger SJW sensibilities with its hammy gay-stereotypes / tropes

    in the end it was still very-obviously "a show by straight people, for straight people who wanted to convince themselves they were 'open-minded' because they watch a show".

    i would have thought it something people considered, "good for its time", but better as memory than in reality.

    as for the substance...

    I think the ACLU is wrong here. So does the Reason Foundation

    I can't remember, but i'm sure it was addressed at the time; did Reason say, "nuh uh, Gary" during the 2016 election, when GayJay decided that compelled speech was a groovy thing? Or was it just handwaved aside as 'not as important as'....well, the other stuff he was even more squishy about.? Anyone remember?

  • Scott S.||

    I remember!

  • Scott S.||

  • ||

    I see Hihn was in the system.

  • Trollificus||

    My HEWS (Hihn Early Warning System) is when a moderately interesting article has, like, 400 comments instead of 80 or 120. Always works.

  • GILMORE™||

    On religious freedom, Johnson is staying true to his position against allowing religious-based exemptions to discrimination laws, which has earned him the ire of not a few libertarians. In Carney's conversation with him, what feels very clear is that Johnson feels strongly about his position, but hasn't really analyzed the complexity of the issue nearly enough...

    ...All in all, Johnson's position on religious freedom ends up coming across as though it's based on a fear that it's going to lead to outcomes that he finds detestable and not an analysis on principles that guide his thoughts.

    Yeah, that sounds about right. Its not "ur totally wrong, gary", its "he unfortunately fails to appreciate complexity".

    I would have thought there might have been something specifically in response to the "Nazi Cakes" line he used in the debate which so many people groaned about.

    Doherty gives some space to GJ here to rebut complaints about it, but he doesn't really add his own $.02 on whether or not he thought it was stupid himself.

  • Just Say'n||

    To be fair, Gary did get a flat out 'wrong' from Reason when he suggested a burka ban (remember, how terrible of a candidate Gary Johnson was? Yeah, he was god awful). Make of that what you will, but he did drop the burka ban. It's important to not be so explicit with the fact that you are a raging bigot (god damn, Gary was a raging piece of crap).

  • MarkLastname||

    He suggested a burqa ban? Christ, why did he even pretend to be libertarian.

  • Jerryskids||

    Didn't 'membering things lead directly to Mr. Garrison getting elected on the promise of fucking all the illegal immigrants to death?

  • Red Tony||

    Hey, he fucked Canadian Trump to death and made Canada mediocre again. Give him time. He's not just gonna sit there with his stank face.

  • Morbo||

    Pepperidge Farm remembers...

  • Rhywun||

    in the end it was still very-obviously "a show by straight people, for straight people who wanted to convince themselves they were 'open-minded' because they watch a show".

    What was that one token gay guy, chopped liver?

    But yeah... I was more immersed in the "gay community" back then and even I found the show unbearable. It sounds a thousand times worse now. Of course bitchy Karen is the Trump supporter. Of course Grace is a die-hard liberal. The political stereotypes are worse than the gay stereotypes.

  • GILMORE™||

    as in my original comment... i think it was probably a 'good enough' show in its day because at the very least, it had gay characters.

    which was a 'step forward'. a stepping stone from tv being terrified of anything outside very narrowly-defined norms, to tv being more (a thousand groans from the audience) 'inclusive'.

    it didn't make it great-tv by itself, but it was successful enough that it gave producers license to do more like that and have more gay characters.

    *pointless trivia: a pretty-boy kid i went to high-school with dropped out (or took a few years off) because he got some primo tv-acting gigs.

    The apex of his fame (at least within our circles) was when he was cast on Beverly Hills 90210 for a few episodes...

    ...as Kelly's closeted gay-'boyfriend'.

    he could never come back to high-school after that.

  • ||

    The show was decent (for the time) for the first couple of years, but when it started going downhill it went down fast, crashed, and burned in a morass of self-righteous posturing that got really unbearable.

    I've seen about six minutes total of the reboot and it made me want to gouge my eyes out.

  • DiegoF||

    Wait, that dude was in all kinds of shit in the 90s! He's in the "oh it's that dude" category! He was Sabrina the Teenage Witch's boyfriend during the later, crappier years when she moved out for college and was roommates with Punky Brewster.

  • GILMORE™||

    he was also in "Blossom", which was like "a more-yenta, jewy version of the same Punky/Sabrina sitcom model"

    he was in the movie "White Squall", and then i never recall seeing him ever again.

  • Johnny Lawrence||

    I'd say he is more in the "Hey Dude" category than the "oh it's that dude" category.

    I'm sorry for that.

  • Trollificus||

    "The political stereotypes are worse than the gay stereotypes."

    Quite an achievement, that.

  • Rhywun||

    in the end it was still very-obviously "a show by straight people, for straight people who wanted to convince themselves they were 'open-minded' because they watch a show".

    What was that one token gay guy, chopped liver?

    But yeah... I was more immersed in the "gay community" back then and even I found the show unbearable. It sounds a thousand times worse now. Of course bitchy Karen is the Trump supporter. Of course Grace is a die-hard liberal. The political stereotypes are worse than the gay stereotypes.

  • Red Tony||

    And the squirrels are worse than either of them.

  • DiegoF||

    Can you imagine if they made one of the main characters a Republican, now that they're older and successful or something? Or if the maid had stayed and they made her a Trump supporter? People would have lost their shit. That is not how you do nostalgia.

    I have to admit I am dying to see how the upcoming revival of a show from one of Hollywood's only outspoken Trump supporters--and a Democrat at that--Roseanne, turns out.

  • Rhywun||

    I will definitely check that out. Roseanne was one of the better sitcoms from that era.

  • ||

    Thank you Gilmore!

    in the end it was still very-obviously "a show by straight people, for straight people who wanted to convince themselves they were 'open-minded' because they watch a show".

    Almost like even as far back as the 90s people could've foreseen that it was a token or some manner of affirmative action by a more forcefully progressive culture. An... agenda... if you will.

  • GILMORE™||

    at it was a token or some manner of affirmative action by a more forcefully progressive culture.

    nah, not really.

    if anything i'm suggesting that TV-culture was chasing 'real life'. It was

    behind the curve

    , not breaking-boundaries. and it wasn't trying to appease any activist types; it was being safe.

    TV is rarely ever culturally 'progressive' or forcefully trying to alter established perceptions. My point about W&G was that it was pretty stereotypey *even for its time*.

    iow, it wasn't trying to force 'gay' on some shocked and sheltered audience; it was providing a watered-down and cartoony version of it to an audience that felt uncomfortable watching something like "Queer as Folk"

  • Red Tony||

    So what does that make Gus and Wally from Mission Hill?

  • ||

    TV is rarely ever culturally 'progressive' or forcefully trying to alter established perceptions. My point about W&G was that it was pretty stereotypey *even for its time*.

    You mean despite the *constant* real-life overtures to the exact opposite effect? I don't disagree that they would put good, more culturally agnostic shows on the air (and run them into the ground), but pretty much any time they had to fill the space in between, since about the late 80s, it's been a full-on race to the bottom with cable and CNN. More than a couple of prime time hits have been overtly political and/or culturally-specific shows that became unexpected hits specifically because of their cross-cultural appeal.

    iow, it wasn't trying to force 'gay' on some shocked and sheltered audience; it was providing a watered-down and cartoony version of it to an audience that felt uncomfortable watching something like "Queer as Folk"

    I don't really see the difference. Maybe force was the wrong word but deceive or coerce certainly fits. In any case, they were trying to unify or homogenize content and offered a token show to an audience looking for tokens which, in the harsher light of the modern era, shows that rather than unifying the audience you leave one side feeling misrepresented and the other side lied to. Will & Grace's terribleness seems almost universal while Queer as Folk is regarded as good TV/drama or unwatched.

  • Jerryskids||

    The most shocking part of this story is finding out that Will and Grace is apparently still a TV show. I had no idea.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Of course per the actual Constitution what counts as 'speech" or not is irrelevant to the cake baking.

    That unconstitutional so-called "public accommodation" laws violate the rights to freedom of contract, freedom of association and private property rights is the relevant issue.

  • BYODB||

    This would have been my point as well, but this is apparently so outside the mainstream that it's pointless to even mention it anymore. We are not allowed to self-segregate ourselves, even while everyone does it.

  • ||

    This would have been my point as well, but this is apparently so outside the mainstream that it's pointless to even mention it anymore.

    Yeah, try pointing out, even to libertarians, that the difference between a custom (decorated) cake and a ready made off-the-shelf cake is really just a matter of logistics and it's kinda funny how quickly and vociferously "libertarians" will defend out-and-out socialism.

  • MarkLastname||

    I think the dispute about what constitutes speech is more relevant once one accepts that the ship has sailed on commercial transactions being a protected form of association. Naturally it would be great to bring that original ship back into harbor.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    The reason "that ship has sailed" made sense as a metaphor for irreversible was that once a sailing ship was over the horizon, there was no recalling it. No radio, after all!

    It makes no sense at all as a metaphor anymore, since you can just radio the ship and have them turn around.

  • MasterThief||

    Reason has been pretty bad at exploring these angles. The court case was weak just because it stuck to arguments of speech and religion. Public accommodation laws seem to have been interpreted as invalidating a person's or business's rights to use their time and/or property in a manner they choose. If I own a liquor store, am I obliged to sell to the local drunk who beats his wife after he has a few drinks? If I'm a bartender, am I obliged to make him a martini if he is sober when he came in? If I sell/produce American flags, must I sell to someone who has declared they will cut it up and use it as toilet paper? If I make custom American flag items, must I create a gimp mask and roll of toilet paper if someone proposes such a contract?
    To an extent, I agree with public accommodation laws to avoid the possibility of a person dying due to a local conspiracy to deny goods and services to that individual. For the most part, that is as far as I can agree to the idea of it. If I'm a custom knife maker and someone asks for a knife that is too boring for me to want to waste my time making it, am I obliged to make it if the person is willing to pay well above market value? This is the slippery slope where an individual lacks property rights and the choice of how he will use his time. Just because an "oppressed minority" is involved here doesn't mean that a horrible precedent should be set to invalidate property and contract rights.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "To an extent, I agree with public accommodation laws to avoid the possibility of a person dying due to a local conspiracy to deny goods and services to that individual."

    I can't agree to it to that extent.

    There is flat out no such thing as affirmative rights or affirmative duties under any circumstance.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    Yeah. It's not complicated.

  • shawn_dude||

    Just as a point of fact, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed the Supreme Court via Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States.

    While I realize that people have differing opinions on the whole interstate commerce thing, at this point the Civil Rights Act is constitutional.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "While I realize that people have differing opinions on the whole interstate commerce thing, at this point the Civil Rights Act is constitutional."

    Nope, the literal text of the Constitution as it written and according to what James Madison considered the meaning of those words to be in the first second the ink of his signature dried on that document determines what is or isn't constitutional - not any court decision.

  • shawn_dude||

    As we are not mind readers for starters, nor time travelers to boot, there is no way in heck any of us know what James Madison considered the meaning of anything. Further, originalism, like other forms of fundamentalism, fails to move forward with society. Regardless of what James may have been thinking, he wasn't ever thinking of the internet, movies, nuclear weapons, or any of the other technical discoveries that we live with today. I don't subscribe to the belief that the Constitution must be amended every time the scope or scale of our society changes from the 1700s reality under which the Constitution was written.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Further, originalism, like other forms of fundamentalism, fails to move forward with society.

    That's what Article 5 is for

    I don't subscribe to the belief that the Constitution must be amended every time the scope or scale of our society changes from the 1700s reality under which the Constitution was written.

    So, are you fine with simply reinterpreting it whenever it's convenient to your position?

    If so, it means nothing.

  • shawn_dude||

    "So, are you fine with simply reinterpreting it whenever it's convenient to your position?"

    That's an argument in bad faith.

    Do we really need to amend the Constitution to include radio, television, and the internet in the concept of "free speech?"

    Florida amended their constitution to cover the treatment of pigs. That's just crazy. What sort of foundational document gets to that level of detail?

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    That's an argument in bad faith.

    That is not an argument. That is a question. One which you did not answer.

    Do we really need to amend the Constitution to include radio, television, and the internet in the concept of "free speech?"

    As GM points out, below:

    ...not a single one of those changes in the technology of weapons, products or services has anything whatsoever to do with determining or changing what individual rights are and are not relative to what they were understood to be when he signed the Constitution.

    Technology has nothing to do with your rights.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "Regardless of what James may have been thinking, he wasn't ever thinking of the internet, movies, nuclear weapons, or any of the other technical discoveries that we live with today"

    Nor did he need to be thinking of them as not a single one of those changes in the technology of weapons, products or services has anything whatsoever to do with determining or changing what individual rights are and are not relative to what they were understood to be when he signed the Constitution.

  • shawn_dude||

    I have a hard time buying that. But this may have to do with a fundamental difference in yours and my understanding of the 2nd Amendment. Are you saying that he would have supported personal nuclear weapons under the 2A? Or that he would have supported the government's restriction of the individual right to bear "arms" when the arms were capable of leveling a large city?

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Are you saying that he would have supported personal nuclear weapons under the 2A?

    Does the government have nuclear weapons?

    2A is there to throw off a tyrannical government. So if the government gets to have them, stands to reason that the citizenry must be able to counter them.

    So...yes, he would have.

  • soldiermedic76||

    The whole nuclear arms argument is so completely asinine. The logistics of owning and maintaining a nuclear weapon are so complex to make the ownership of one so unlikely as to virtually render such an option impossible for a private citizen.

  • A_Spellman||

    There are the Federalist papers, and the anti-federalist papers too. Considering they were published as advertising for the constitution, and by the ones who wrote the thing, it's a good start. Lots of other journals, diaries, pamphlets, etc. from that particular time frame.

  • Fk_Censorship||

    I agree that public accommodation laws put a nail in the coffin of private property rights, which is one of the cornerstones of Western Civilization, but I'm curious to know what makes these laws unconstitutional.

  • DajjaI||

    The episode ends with the baker reluctantly baking a customer a cake with a swastika on it.

    Right - which is what happens when you take the ACLU's position to its logical conclusion - aka satire. I think Reason completely misunderstood what happened. They were vindicating the free speech rights of the baker.

  • Scott S.||

    [Tilts head] But ... this isn't the ACLU's position. Which is the point? Of this blog post?

  • ||

    /gently pushes Scott back.

    Let Gilmore deal with the trolls.

  • Scott S.||

    I really should know better at this point.

  • DajjaI||

    What the episode is saying is, "If you make bakers say things on their cakes then they will say hateful things and why would you want a cake from them anyway? Go somewhere else." They weren't defending the ACLU's position. They were ridiculing it. Yes Grace was browbeating, and yes she was wrong. But guess what? That's ok. It's not illegal to be wrong. And actually can be quite funny. (Thus the appeal of sitcoms.)

  • Eidde||

    "Grace...raise(s) the specter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) coming after them."

    So it's browbeating with a threat of legal action, apparently.

  • DajjaI||

    Yes, which people do all the time and it's disgusting and thank you W&G for satirizing it!

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    Just when people thought you couldn't possibly be worse, you come out as a Will & Grace fan.

  • DajjaI||

    I'm not. Also not a fan of Superior Donuts, but it's a good show for libertarians and every episode I watched has the message, "Get a job, work hard, and stop trying to scam the system."

  • The_Hoser||

    I think you might be giving the writers at Will & Grace just a teeeeensy bit too much credit.

  • DajjaI||

    Right, because a show starring self-righteous buffoons wouldn't ever portray them as self-righteous buffoons.

  • Eidde||

    "Their argument is not that bakers have to cook whatever cake their customers demand. They're arguing that this isn't a speech or religious freedom issue and that it's foundationally about denying service to gay people in violation of public accommodation laws."

    So the government can force a baker to bake a cake for an Aryan Nations religious ceremony in honor of Hitler's birthday - but the Aryan Nations will have to provide their own swastika, so there!

    Or are you in favor of discriminating against the Aryan Nations based on their religion?

  • ||

    Hitler and Nazis are so early 20th century.

    Can we not come up with someone new to meet the 21st century?

    Have we become this lazy!?

  • Eidde||

    They already did the MAGA cake, and Trump is the 21st century version of Hitler, right?

  • ||

    Touche.

  • DiegoF||

    Don't you mean...toupée?

  • Rhywun||

    "Here's one of those cake frosting squeeze-things. Knock yourself out."

  • Rhywun||

    "Here's one of those cake frosting squeeze-things. Knock yourself out."

  • Eidde||

    Eww, watch your lang...oh, never mind.

  • ||

    So the government can force a baker to bake a cake for an Aryan Nations religious ceremony in honor of Hitler's birthday - but the Aryan Nations will have to provide their own swastika, so there!

    Right, fuck the supply lines and labor force controls, by saving the ability to pen memos, we've saved capitalism from the clutches of socialism.

  • Tony||

    It didn't get the legalities right but it did lampoon both sides, and either that was a particularly funny episode or I was really high.

  • Just Say'n||

    Or, you know, you may be dumb. I'm just throwing it out there

  • Tony||

    Really? They're letting anyone into Phi Beta Kappa these days.

  • Red Tony||

    You didn't even graduate college, Past Me. Quit being a liar.

  • DiegoF||

    Whoa. This is heavy.

  • Red Tony||

    What? We never graduated college. Although I did take a few community college courses fifteen years from now.

  • Tony||

    If you knew anything about me you'd know that I peaked in college.

  • Red Tony||

    If by "peaked" you mean "got a B in Spanish and Cs and Ds in every other class and dropped out during the second semester of sophomore year," then yes, we peaked in college.

    Unless you were referring to Josh. In which case yes, we did peak.

  • Tony||

    You're gonna have to narrow that down.

  • Red Tony||

    Okay yeah, see, that's where we peaked in college. With the "having to narrow it down."

    Not in terms of academic success or anything, but the having to narrow it down totally counts.

  • ||

    "Peaked" on Ecstasy is what he means.

  • ||

    They're letting anyone into Phi Beta Kappa these days.

    Pretty much. I found out it existed when they made me a member.

  • MarkLastname||

    Pretty much. Take a bunch of humanities classes and get a 4.0 nice and easy, get into any honors society you want. If you pick a dumb major you have to be functionally illiterate not to get at least a 3.5.

  • Ken Hagler||

    Once upon a time, there was an amendment to the US Constitution that said this: "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

    Sadly, everyone has forgotten about it and it no longer has any relevance.

  • DiegoF||

    Most useless amendment ever. I think it gave Congress the authority to end peonage or something, but that's it. The 14th, if interpreted correctly, should have nullified the slave codes and given blacks instant equality. The 13th does nothing against conscription or impressment of any kind, doesn't restrict farming out prison labor for private gain, doesn't do anything against laws like this, according to the courts. The Federal government, or a state, could reduce us all to permanent state labor like a gang of ancient Egyptians. What a joke.

  • shawn_dude||

    +1

  • Mike Laursen||

    I hear the arguments on both sides of the gay cake debate, but there is one argument the show should have made sure to highlight because it has the most comedic potential: do you really want to eat a cake that you have forced someone else to make for you? It would be like eating a burger at a fast food joint after you have been rude to the person taking your order — you don't know what they've done to your food back there in the kitchen.

  • Eidde||

    I've heard variants of this argument, but

    (a) many bakers are too professional to spoil their reputation with a deliberately-spoiled cake, even a coerced cake. Bad for business.

    (b) if the customer finds out, he can sue the heck out of the baker and ruin the latter.

  • ||

    Yeah, knowingly serving someone a spiked cake is between fraud and assault. Considering the bias is already against the baker's constitutional rights, I wouldn't count on the full faith and credit of presumption of innocence in such a case either.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Isn't the point of spitting in someone's food that they won't ever know, or at least be able to prove, you did it?

  • ||

    As I said, considering the legal bias is already against the baker even before baking the cake, I wouldn't count on a rock-solid presumption of innocence after the fact.

  • ||

    Also, a $5 burger or a $20 steak is one thing, a one-time $400-$600+ cake is (kinda intrinsic to the whole gay marriage/equality/CRA thing) a different proposition.

  • CE||

    The speech/not speech debate is interesting, but overlooks a few other rights:

    The 1st Amendment freedom of religion of the bakers to not be compelled to violate their religious beliefs, and

    the general freedom of association and the right to refuse to do business with anyone, a right which is long gone in America it appears. But a cake bakery is not a survival necessity like a hotel or a restaurant, and should be considered a public accommodation at all.

  • CE||

    Should not be considered

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Damn, people be having some big expectations of cheesy-ass Will and Grace up in here.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    The argument about gay wedding cakes is fundamentally about what counts as speech and expression.


    Disagree with the 1A angle here, Scott. This is a property rights dispute. Doesn't matter what is written on the cake, I'll choose to sell my property to whomever I want for whatever reason.

  • Rhywun||

    Heh, no you won't. You know that ship sailed.

  • Rhywun||

    Heh, no you won't. You know that ship sailed.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    You, my friend, have a real rodent problem today.

  • Rhywun||

    I blame greasonable. When I reply to an existing post it doesn't always take so I got used to hitting Submit twice. Today's it acting differently for some reason.

  • shawn_dude||

    Sure. And the city will choose to give your business a license to operate legally or not.

    I don't think your position is going to work out well for you even while I understand this is a pretty non-controversial position for a libertarian.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    The libertarian magazine should put forward the libertarian position, EVEN when decided law contradicts that position.

    Yes, the CRA is law...but it's immoral and shouldn't be.

    Now if you want to say that BECAUSE this nation has embraced immoral laws we can't fight this on the basis of property rights (or freedom of association) and basing the argument on 1A is the only winnable alternative at this time, they should at least say so as to not confuse folks about what the true libertarian principle is. When you start mixing what should be (principle) with what IS (the law) you tend to lose yourself in the muck.

    Argue from first principles and THEN argue the law, to point out the distinctions.

  • shawn_dude||

    Little to disagree with here other than to note I am both a lapsed Christian and lapsed libertarian. I left both ideologies due to a realization that they aren't healthy for me. But yes, a libertarian magazine should position itself alongside the libertarian mainstream.

    I do not see a good social outcome from enacting a sort of "Jim Crow" legal state as the norm in this country. It is unnecessarily divisive and would result in gross injustices--far greater than a Christian baker has to endure by making a standard wedding cake.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    I do not see a good social outcome from enacting a sort of "Jim Crow" legal state as the norm in this country.

    Jim Crow was government enforced racism. I'm talking about voluntary association. Known bigots cannot survive in a free market. The vast majority of people won't tolerate it.

    I think you significantly underestimate people, or significantly overestimate the amount of actual racism that still exists in this country.

  • shawn_dude||

    Jim Crow didn't happen in a vacuum. It had broad support in the South. The citizens elected the politicians that pass the laws, for starters. But the insidious nature of Jim Crow was that even if a business was willing to do custom with black citizens, the business' suppliers would cut them off. Further, there was no law that require banks to red-line black customers applying for home loans nor force realtors to avoid showing homes in white neighborhoods. These things were voluntary and continued long after Jim Crow was struck down. There are accounts of black women being denied the vote in the South through the early 1960s--something certainly against the law and even against two constitutional amendments.

    You say the vast majority of people won't tolerate it, but what matters is the majority of people in your town or your county or your state. If you average those into the large liberal states, they wash away, but all politics is local, as they say.

    You mean like "build the wall!" racism? Or torch-lit neo-nazi marches? Or anti-gay religious freedom laws? Attempts by the government to keep Muslims out of the country? The construction of hero-worshiping monuments to anti-American confederates right up through 2007? There's plenty of that still going around.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    I'm not sure what torch-lit neo-nazi marches you are referring to, but the rest of your examples stem from government, not private citizens.

    The only thing wrong with the CRA is it applies to private citizens. There is nothing wrong with limiting the power of government. Nothing wrong with saying government can't discriminate. No one's rights are violated, as the government doesn't have rights, until you apply it to private citizens.

  • Tony||

    If people weren't majority fuckfaces who actively sought to oppress an entire race, these laws wouldn't have been necessary. Private citizens pushing the boundaries on the rights you so cherish is what got them slapped with these restrictions. They abused their freedom, just as anyone does when he commits a crime. If you don't like that there is some federal law preventing discrimination that won't affect you in the slightest as long as you're not a cunt, blame the sheets-wearing shop owners who forced the issue.

  • MarkLastname||

    So, cunts don't have rights, got it.

    Also, who makes the laws? Oh right, democratically elected politicians. Supported by a preponderance of voters. Those selfsame cunts. Think on that for a bit.

  • Tony||

    It's not that cunts don't have rights, it's that black people do too.

  • gormadoc||

    Yes, this is why EV disagrees with the current arguments of the baker. It's just weird to frame it in terms of the 1A rather than free association or property rights.

  • shawn_dude||

    Weird in what way? The free speech argument is being made because it's an established defense to the claim against them. The free association and property rights defenses have failed. The Civil Rights act is over 50 years old and has endured numerous challenges.

  • Tony||

    And I will defend Will & Grace for doing sort of the opposite of what its original run did. Then, as Joe Biden acknowledged, it served to normalize gay people for the slow among us.

    Now, it is not taking its foot off the gas with the stereotype humor, and it may strike many as outdated, but I think it is great. We are in woeful danger of entering a brand new kind of puritanism that would have entertainment portray gay people as only perfectly "normal," which means straight acting, living in suburbia, whatever.

    Well-meaning gays and straights sometimes think progress means making everyone the same. But lots of gay men do act like Jack. Lots more of us would act like him if we didn't spend our adolescence suppressing mannerisms for public consumption. Saying that people who act "stereotypical" are doing harm the equality movement is a form of erasure and homophobia, and it's an attitude all too prevalent even among gays.

  • ||

    Honestly, I don't know how to read this as anything other than literally "This *is* the gay agenda."

    Fuck your mannerisms, you expect Southerners to speak at your desired rate lest you openly brand them as slow or deplorable despite the fact that they can call you on your bullshit months, years, and even decades before you even realize that's what you're spewing.

  • ||

    I mean seriously. You saw the end of Seinfeld, Cheers, or Newhart, right? You do realize these characters are sociopaths? Just human versions of Wile E. Coyote just shy of lighting dynamite to kill a roadrunner; the sort of thing most kids at the age of 12 learn that they shouldn't emulate in real life.

  • Tony||

    As both a Southerner and a student of linguistics, I happen to appreciate that there is no such thing as a smart or dumb accent or dialect. I have never ridiculed anyone for their accent except Louie Gohmert. And if people want to fuck their cousins, they can knock themselves out for all I care.

  • Trollificus||

    Yeah that whole cousin-fucking thing has more to do with the size of the village, hamlet, rural township or windswept highland you live in than anything else.

    It's clear that the variety of human circumstances is nearly inconceivable to the cosmopolitan inhabitants of our 21st century metropolises. When it does cross their minds that not everyone lives with millions of 'neighbors' in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-racial city, they can only come to the conclusion that such unfortunates are a) insignificant and b) inferior, though these conclusions can only be openly admitted to with regard to white Americans.

    So there's the class of people whose cultural, speech and mating habits can be looked down upon: some mountain folk (both sides), Midwesterners and other red-staters, and Southerners, with Texans being an especially-despised amalgam of the latter two.

    Interestingly, the very people who preach 'diversity' also tend to glamorize the freedom and equality they imagine existed in pre-agricultural human groups of hunter-gatherers (agriculture led to surplus, surplus led to specialization, specialization led to inequality, inequality led to social hierarchy and thence, oppression, racism, Republicanism and eventually...Donald Trump!!). The 'diversity' within a hunter-gatherer group was entirely a diversity of individuals. And there was lots of cousin-fucking.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Look at Tony, all understanding the importance of individual rights and self determination when it personally affects him and under no other circumstances.

  • Tony||

    That's fucking rich coming from a libertarian.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    See, you've applied a bunch of your own meanings to the word "libertarian" and then assumed that i fit that made-up definition. Which sort of proves my point: that you are not interested in or empathetic towards other real, live human beings except to the extent that they are similar to you.

  • Tony||

    Not even then. I just believe in standards of evidence and applying them to policy.

  • Red Tony||

    Since when?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    I'm not talking about policy, i'm talking about how you interact with other human beings in social settings, based on years of your commentary here. The fact that that's your response doesn't dispel my working theory that you're at least a malignant narcissist and possibly a legitimate psychopath.

  • Tony||

    I just need to start going senile and I can be president.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    No worries. No sentient being on the planet would vote for you

  • Nardz||

    "brand new kind of puritanism"
    Progressivism is the new Puritanism, and it's not even that new.

    "Lots more of us would act like him if we didn't spend our adolescence suppressing mannerisms for public consumption."

    This I'm honestly curious about. Are you implying that such mannerisms are inherent to gay men, or that such mannerisms are common among gay men as an expression of identity? Both? I guess I'm asking, is such behavior nature or nurture? Is it socially conditioned or instinctive?

  • Tony||

    Dunno, but the point is that, like being gay itself, whether it's nature or nurture, it's not a choice. The affectation for gay men is often when they try to act straight. If I had to guess where effeminate behavior comes from I'd say that young gay boys emulate their mother and other women instead of men, but that's a pure guess.

  • Nardz||

    Interesting.
    But I'm confused why emulation of the mother would be different between a gay and straight man. It kinda seems like you're implying that gay men are instinctively more feminine thus emulate their mothers?
    Are you saying a man's inherent masculinity/femininity balance depends on sexual orientation? Determines orientation?

  • Rich||

    a book publisher cannot be forced to print speech that he or she disagrees with.

    How about the typesetter working for the publisher?

  • shawn_dude||

    No one forces that typesetter to work for the bookseller. Right? If your employer says you're doing it, then you do it.

    (There is a "reasonable accommodation" outlet for the typesetter. He has to make the request in advance and there is a test as to whether it is reasonable, an inherent part of their job, or whether no one else is able to do the work on their behalf.) [IANAL]

  • Nardz||

    Wouldn't this be, fundamentally, the same situation as the Masterpiece case?
    The baker is in the position of the typesetter with the engaged couple as employer. But in this case, you argue the typesetter (baker) does not have the option to "quit his job" or "be fired" (forego income from customer), because the typesetter can work for another employer (publisher), while the baker would be denied working for other employers (customers).

  • shawn_dude||

    No, this is not the case. A *customer* is not an *employer*. The guy sleeping in room 5B isn't the employer of the hotel staff any more than the snotty-nosed kid on the slide in a McDonalds employs the fry cook. The nature of the contract between a customer and the business is more limited than the contract between an employee and an employer. The IRS doesn't charge the customer 7% social security tax on behalf of the baker or publisher, right? The status of the baker as an exempt or non-exempt employee isn't up to the customer. The customer doesn't define the working conditions of the baker. The customer can't tell the baker how many vacation days he gets, what his working hours are, the sorts of ingredients to use, etc. The customer is limited to the services as offered.

    And yeah, the baker *can* quit his job. But his job isn't "baking a cake for gay bob" but "baking cakes for every customer that comes to the store." Quitting his job is also called "closing down the business."

  • Mickey Rat||

    "The nature of the contract between a customer and the business is more limited than the contract between an employee and an employer."

    The baker had not accepted the commission. There was no contract between him and the couple at all.

    It is not a baker's job to serve everyone who comes into his store, just on the basis of capacity.

  • StackOfCoins||

    The real problem here is public accommodation laws.

    No private property owner should be compelled to allow people they do not want on their property. That's simple property rights.

  • StackOfCoins||

    And by extension of course, business owners should be allowed to refuse service to anyone. For any reason. If you want to be a public bigot, fine. But when the sidewalk outside your business gets picketed, don't be surprised.

  • Tony||

    What about when shops were boycotted or worse because they let black people in?

  • The_Hoser||

    Let the market figure it out. You don't want to serve black people, fine. I don't think you'll be able to make a go of it, I sure as hell ain't eating in your joint and I'd also like to see for my own edification what assholes are frequenting that place.

  • Tony||

    You're not getting the point. See shawn_dude just below.

  • shawn_dude||

    Go have a look at how the Jim Crow South enforced segregation. When the baker was willing to sell to blacks, the miller would refuse to sell flour to the baker, the bank wouldn't loan the baker any money for new equipment, the baker's landlord would start showing the property to new tenants, etc. It was never as simple "just go to another bakery."

    Society needs a certain minimum amount of civility in order to function. We're seeing what happens these days when that starts to break down. Consider what it would be like if you couldn't shop at 70% of the businesses, go to the local hospital, or get anything done in government because the dominant religion in the area believed you were unclean?

  • DKWalser||

    Jim Crow was enforced by operation of law. It was illegal for blacks to be served at the same lunch counter that served whites. Those who bucked the system faced fines, revocation of their business licenses, and, oh, by the way, they may have been boycotted by the other bigots in town. But, being boycotted was the last of their worries. The Civil Rights Act was necessary to prevent the Democrats (primarily in the South) from continuing to enforce their local laws that required bigotry.

    Today, it is the former cure that is the problem. The local laws requiring discrimination are no longer on the books. Few would intentionally discriminate if given the choice. So, why do we need the heavy hand of the federal government regulating all sorts of relationships between employer/employee and business/consumer?

  • Fk_Censorship||

    Dude - have you traveled outside the US? I lived in a country where there was total freedom of economic association. You could put an ad saying Filipinos need not apply. You could rent a room only to Bangladeshis. You could hire and fire whomever you wanted based on any reason whatsoever without having to justify your decision to anyone. Guess what? There was a high level of tolerance in that society. Crime was almost non-existent and there were few resentments among people of different nationalities. Indians and Pakistanis got along very civilly, without having to put on a fake mask of tolerance. When the truth is out there and there is no reason to hide, it leads to a more tolerant society - with the few remaining bigots minding their own business.

  • Fk_Censorship||

    Customers can discriminate among businesses without ever having to justify their decisions, and their refusal to patronize a place can have real consequences for a business and its owner's livelihood. Yet a business owner cannot discriminate against its customers, and when it does, it has to justify its decisions (lest it not discriminate against a protected category of people). It's not a very fair setup.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Why is there surprise that they took that tack?

    The popular argument I have seen from lay people opposing the baker's position is that a business has no right to refuse service to a potential customer based on content. That may not be the actual legal argument, but that is how it us usually framed.

  • shawn_dude||

    Given the state of politics and tribalism these days, that doesn't surprise me but it is sad.

    Among my own crowd, all of whom oppose the baker in this case, they understand things a bit better--that this is an attempt by religious conservatives to reverse the LGBT marriage decision from 2015 and reverse a decline in their political power since the 1990s.

    That the form of this argument has slid into a "what is speech" question is merely an artifact of their exploring the weaknesses in the legal arguments made in opposition to their position. What they are looking for is a blanket religious exemption to the Civil Rights Act and other civil rights position that conflict with their ideology. You can see this in the various "religious freedom" laws they've drafted and, in some instances, passed. These include protecting employees from their employer's ire (an anti-libertarian position, btw) should they choose to discriminate in spite of company policy. There are even instances where government employees and emergency service personnel are included in the protections--refuse to put out a fire burning the house of an unclean person, you are protected by the Second Amendment.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Sorry, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and property rights trump all. No one has a right to another person's goods or services without that person's consent.

  • shawn_dude||

    I appreciate that this is your opinion. Regardless, I strongly recommend you do not go into a crowded theater and yell "fire" in order to induce panic or go into a public forum and call for the murder of another citizen. These things, despite being free speech, will land you in jail precisely because the law doesn't recognize that "freedom of speech...trump[s] all." It doesn't, for example, trump your right to life.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    And that is called an invalid analogy.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Just remember that quote from Justice Holmes was him defending the government's prosecution of a sedition case. It is a pernicious, illiberal line of reasoning.

  • A_Spellman||

    Both of those examples are not free speech, those are examples of "incitement to" 1) riot and 2) violence. That is why those actions are illegal.
    But free speech allows a KKK member to stand on a soap box and preach hate of blacks. The same free speech allows the rest of us to stand, point at him, and laugh at his racist idiocy. Or not listen and continue on our way. Or for the ones that are inclined to silliness, agree with him.

  • Nardz||

    And of course free speech can just be scrapped altogether when we consider 'incitement' something that can be inferred by the audience rather than stated explicitly.
    Though I'm fine with the "fighting words" exceptions in theory, as incitement would be directed against the speaker himself, we may be at a point where use of gendered pronouns is considered "fighting words" by some, thus cover for assault.
    I'm sure California courts will get to the bottom of it.

  • A_Spellman||

    Well, in the case of incitement, and why it is not considered free speech, is that the speaker intends his/her words to incite others into violence. A speaker that intended to incite someone to go peacefully protest is protected, as is most media anchors, as they don't intend their words to incite someone into violence, even if we want to strangle someone after watching them.
    It's the intent of the speaker, and why most prosecutors are wary of those sorts of cases. In the case of yelling fire in a theater, for example, a prosecutor must prove that the person knew there was not a fire, and intended to cause a stampede for the exits.
    And that's why most of the Black Lives Matter leadership is not in jail.

  • Tony||

    [Except the services of cops and courts to protect my property rights. I'll send you the bill, thanks.]

  • Mickey Rat||

    Those are government functions.

    Different rules. Different fucking rules!

  • Tony||

    Protecting people from discrimination while shopping is also a government function.

  • Mickey Rat||

    No, it really is not. Again, no one has a right to other people's goods and services eithout their consent. The notion tbst a private can engage in unjust discrimination is a nonsequitor.

  • shawn_dude||

    Licenses to do business are a government function. So the government can trade you the right to do business with the public for your agreement not to be a dick to your customers who happen to be black, or gay, or whatever.

  • Mickey Rat||

    The government cannot compel you to forfeit your constitutional rights as a cost to earning a living. If it can, then the entire notion of rights is a farce.

  • Tony||

    There is no constitutional right involved in this discussion.

    And you just said that you get to take my money to pay for cops and courts "because that's a function of government," as if that's not tautological.

  • MarkLastname||

    Businesses pay taxes to pay for cops too. If you call a black persons a racial slur, then they break into your house, is your right to evacuate them - or ask the police to do so - forfeit because you're a jerk?

    No, no it isn't. It should be no different for businesses.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Association, property rights, etc, are all shoved aside in this.

    What I said was, government functions under more restrictions than private citizens.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "Licenses to do business are a government function"

    Licenses to do business are an unconstitutional violation of pure freedom of contract.

  • Fk_Censorship||

    I support full freedom of contract, but I fail to see where the right is protected in the American Constitution.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "[Except the services of cops and courts to protect my property rights. I'll send you the bill, thanks.]"

    You're paying for your own share of cops protection, not anyone else's

    And people who file lawsuits have to pay court fees.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    What does the Second Amendment have to do with any of this?

  • MarkLastname||

    That's not understanding things better.

    Refusing to bake a cake isn't trying to reverse a law. My refusal to attend your bar mitsvah is not an attempt to outlaw your religion. You're just being a conspiracy theorist.

  • ravenshrike||

    If this were remotely true, they wouldn't have offered to sell the couple a blank sheet cake or any other premade cakes that they had. Instead they solely refused to create the edible piece of art that is a wedding cake.

  • DKWalser||

    Those who argue that the making of a wedding cake is 'not speech' seem to fail to properly appreciate two things: First, they fail to understand the degree of creativity and customization that goes into making a custom wedding cake. These aren't cakes ordered out of a catalog. The artist interviews the bride (and usually the groom) and creates an edible sculpture that represents the couple's hopes and dreams for their life together. The elements chosen work harmoniously within that theme and are unique for that couple. The design, alone, may go through several iterations and typically takes several hours over a few weeks to complete. The baking, and decorating, may involve 40 - 80 hours, depending on the size of the cake.

    Volokh's argument that making a cake isn't speech is based on case law that held that making pastry isn't speech. Since cake is a type of pastry, making a cake isn't speech. In the general case, Volokh is correct. This isn't the general case. This is more like sculpture than pastry -- only the medium is cake rather than stone.

  • DKWalser||

    Continued: Second, they claim that the baker would be protected if the cake had writing or symbols on it. Here what they fail to appreciate is that the cake itself is the symbol. Throughout Western civilization, most people immediately recognize a wedding cake for what it is -- a celebration of the union of a particular couple. That's what the cake symbolizes. Forcing the baker to make such a cake is forcing the baker to provide the means of that symbolic speech.

  • Social Justice is neither||

    If the 'not speech' argument were honest then the couple (or their planner) should be able to stop by the shop on the way to the ceremony and pick it up with little to no prior warning or preparation. 2 cakes of whatever variety was available with a base coat of frosting along with an assortment of figurines to choose from yourself and a few tubes of frosting for coloring and decoration should do the trick. no problem.

    That is nowhere near what they actually expect and would sue if that's what was provided as the 'non speech' wedding cake option.

  • Cloudbuster||

    An argument I'd like to see is that public accommodation laws are unconstitutional. They are a vast overreach of any Constitutionally granted power, such as the commerce clause.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    "Will and Grace botches [fill in the blank]". The show is an ongoing object lesson in why entertainers should just stick to entertaining and leave politics to people who have at least spent time learning about the matter in question

  • DajjaI||

    I just watched the episode and it's a tour-de-force vindication of free speech and Reason should be gloating and instead they are crying. OBVIOUSLY the message is that bakers shouldn't be required to make cakes they don't approve, because of the unintended consequences. And the fact that she 'browbeat' and invoked the ACLU is called satire. (And I'm accused of being a 'troll' for pointing this out. This comment section is like the Twilight Zone. Every other person who watched the show got it, the only people who didn't are right here. Hopefully the writers are laughing at us.)

  • Teddy Pump||

    The issue should not be about free speech, but freedom of religion & conscience & association!

  • Joe_JP||

    I appreciate this discussion because issues of the day are covered in fiction & that is quite appropriate and useful to help the general public think about them. And, since even those who should know better get things wrong repeatedly, at times the fictional accounts confuse things. The level of confusion on this issue has been well shown.

    All the same, on a basic level, as a matter of good policy, bakeries shouldn't micromanage what they put on cakes. This is aside from some right to do so. When you are running a bakery, you are going to get business from a range of people, and you should care about serving the public baked goods. So, e.g., if a person thinks Christianity is grand and all other religions are deluded sinful congregations, they shouldn't refuse to put "Happy Hanukkah" on a cake.

    I realize this is a libertarian publication but I would find it reasonable for bakers to refuse in extreme cases, including really hateful messages ("I hate [insert favorite hate term]") and swastikas and pro-Nazi stuff seems like that might fit there. "MAGA" very well might seem hateful to some but it is still not in that category quite yet.

  • Joe_JP||

    I realize again this is a libertarian publication so such line drawing will be a slippery slope gold mine for some.

    For instance, even if we were dealing with pure hate speech, what about print jobs? I recently picked up a printout from [insert store here]. Can the store refuse to allow me to do so based on content? I gather legally they can as a general matter but it's pretty inane to me at some point. A person might physically have to write the message on a cake, but the rights of the owners in general has been put forth as well.

    At some point, public accommodations refusing this sort of service would interfere with free expression and so forth. And, maybe, the government might stop it -- a few places do have discrimination laws based on political status.

  • Cloudbuster||

    You really think there's nobody with a decent printer who would rather take your money? Let the market sort it out. I'm pretty sure if Kinkos or Staples decided to refuse, there'd be somebody who would eagerly open their doors to the customers those places are turning away.

  • Joe_JP||

    "The market" is a regulated entity, always has been since we had any sort of state-like entity.

    The example is just one. There is going to be numerous others & in each and every case the customer isn't going to be easily able to find alternatives, especially ones the meet their specific needs. Plus, the net burden this puts on commerce is itself a cost. Market regulations are in place to handle such things.

    The "nobody with a decent printer" comment is underwhelming since that isn't what is being offered here. Plus, "decent printer" would have to mean one that might print hundreds of pages and provide collation and binding etc. in various cases.

    There is a place a few minutes away the fixes computers. If the person didn't want to fix mine because it turns out it has pro-Jewish stuff on it or something, there are others to fix it. Might have to lug the thing some place though. Might not be fixed right away if I needed it. If I lived in the suburbs, the next store might actually be 1/2 hour away or something at least. And so on.

    Again, just at an example, for one person, doing one thing, of how far the general logic here might take you.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "The market" is a regulated entity, always has been since we had any sort of state-like entity."

    No it hasn't always been.

  • Eman||

    That's a good point. The idea of a positive right kind of means encroaching on someone else's rights, doesnt it?

  • Joe_JP||

    Rights generally have limits, so it is a matter of details.

  • IceTrey||

    There is only one human right, to not have forced initiated against you. There is no circumstance where it is moral to force another to act against their will.

  • Tony||

    So out of all the rights we've come up with, it turns out only one is allowed. What an amazing and magical fracking turn of events that is.

  • IceTrey||

    It's not that it's allowed it's the only one that exists. Any other "rights" are its corollaries or consequences.

  • Tony||

    It exists where?

  • IceTrey||

    Society.

  • James Pollock||

    "There is no circumstance where it is moral to force another to act against their will."

    Your mom says no more Internet until you clean up your room.

  • James Pollock||

    "The idea of a positive right kind of means encroaching on someone else's rights, doesnt it?"

    Simply existing means encroaching someone else's rights. Because I'm just sitting here on the couch, typing on this laptop, means that somebody else's right to be in exactly this time and place are precluded.

    Talking about rights as absolutes might provide some meaning to "deep thinkers", but it doesn't, and never can, reflect reality.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "At some point, public accommodations refusing this sort of service would interfere with free expression "

    Not all.

    All rights are negative liberties. There is no such thing as an affirmative right to require the cooperation of anyone else in any way to assist you in exercising any of them,

    There is no such thing as affirmative rights - or duties.

  • Cloudbuster||

    Public accommodation laws are among the worst poison to come out of the civil rights era. It takes a restriction on government power and applies it to citizens, which has no Constitutional basis.

  • Joe_JP||

    Public accommodation laws were in place in the 18th and 19th Centuries.

    State public accommodation laws grow out of state police power, power that the Tenth Amendment leaves to them unless otherwise denied by some other constitutional provision. Federal public accommodation laws often rely on the Commerce Clause. To the extent state power is involved, the Fourteenth Amendment provides basis too.

    One can debate the policy benefits but there is clear constitutional basis.

  • IceTrey||

    No. The 13th amendment outlawed slavery in this country except as a punishment for crimes. If you are forced to act you are a slave.

  • James Pollock||

    " If you are forced to act you are a slave."

    Every one of the 50 states has a law regarding "impeding traffic"... if you are on a public roadway, you are required to keep moving or risk citation or even arrest. You are a slave?

  • Eman||

    My favorite part of our government being the size it is is how it can turn the number of people involved in an argument from two to two hundred million.

  • Parsec||

    I watched the last half of the episode snd didn't understand the issue. Reading this articule I realized what the letters MAGA stand for. This used to be a clever and funny show but it seems they run out of ideas. Too bad. And show appropiate for someone like Karen, who lacks values, to be a Trump fan.

  • Echospinner||

    So now we want to talk about a fictional gay wedding cake from a TV show.

    That is because the actual idiot "gay cakes" lawsuits are few. There is not that much to talk about.

    If you look at the total number of bogus civil suites brought this would be a drop in the bucket.

    Libertarians were for gay marriage before anyone. Actually we wanted government out of the marriage business altogether but that never happened.

  • Iheartskeet||

    It's true the cases have been few-ish. It would have been better if even for the few, gays had been full on supporters of tolerance for the baker/pizza parlor/photographer/whoever in the same way they expected tolerance from rest of us.

    Instead these cases have revealed a lot of gays to be a bunch of fucking dictatorial assholes. If the gay position prevails here, I bet we can expect even more lawsuits in various areas of life.

    It gives me pause on other libertarian positions that I am in principle in favor of...now I on guard for the "wats the catch" part.

  • A_Spellman||

    A few gays have been revealed as such. The ones I work with are of the mind that the couple are idiots, and that the whole situation is just going to backlash at them in general. That and they could've gone to another baker. But my buddies are libertarian, so there ya go.

  • James Pollock||

    "Actually we wanted government out of the marriage business altogether but that never happened."

    No, actually, "we" didn't.

  • IceTrey||

    The problem is the public accommodation laws. No one should ever be forced to do anything. That includes requiring a state issued license to operate a business and having to follow the laws as a requirement.

  • Tony||

    Such angst when everyone knows that you think other people should damn well be forced to do things for your sake.

  • IceTrey||

    A simple "You're lying" would have sufficed.

  • Pat001||

    So far, a total of 276 comments have been posted about a sitcom episode. Imagine 276 comments posted about an episode of Bonanza.

  • James Pollock||

    At issue is the fact that some people would like to be dicks, and claim the need to do so is rooted in religion.

    Here is a hypothetical for people who take that side of the argument.

    Suppose that I have a true, honest, religious conviction that any time I meet someone who claims to be religious, but, in my opinion, fails to live up to the proper morals and behavior required by the religion they claim, I should burn their house to the ground. (I don't. But this is a hypothetical, so let's pretend that I do and see where it goes.)

    If I have a true and honest belief as described, then arson laws are an infringement on my religious liberty. If I practice my religion, I can expect to be arrested and prosecuted for doing so. Maybe I'm OK with that, punish me but you can't deter me from the one true path. Maybe I alter my practice... I believe firmly that they SHOULD have their houses burned to the ground, but I take no action to bring about that event. Either way, our society runs smoother... either I stop burning down houses because I chose to forego doing so, or I stop burning down houses because I am in jail.

    Anyone want to defend my right to burn down their house?

  • James Pollock||

    (If you didn't pick it up, I don't think making a wedding cake for someone is compelled speech, if you operate a bakery.. If you don't want to make wedding cakes in exchange for money, don't open a business wherein you take money to bake wedding cakes. If you want to claim that making a cake for a gay wedding violates your religion, cite the Scripture that says "Don't make cakes for gay people"... and be prepared to prove that you don't do any of the other things your Scripture tells you not to do, if you REALLY want to convince me.)

  • IceTrey||

    You have no right to burn down their house. There is only one human right, to not have force initiated against you. Burning down someones house is initiating force.

  • Tony||

    So is discriminating against customers for being gay.

  • James Pollock||

    "There is only one human right, to not have force initiated against you. Burning down someones house is initiating force."

    Houses have human rights?

  • Randomutation||

    More fundamental than the free speech issue is the due process issue; specifically the right to a fair trial, an unbiased judge, and the traditional presumption of innocence unless proven guilty. The Colorado court was tainted by ant-religious bias (as observed by Justice Kennedy during the oral arguments) and reached its discrimination ruling on the basis of "identity" arguments that Justice Kennedy characterized as "too facile". These "identity" arguments are all based on the presumption that opposition to same sex marriage is a surrogate for the targeting of homosexuals. Not only is this presumption a tacit presumption of guilt, but even the liberal justices on the Supreme Court have recognized that there are other "decent and honorable" reasons why one might oppose SSM (Obergefell) other than just some attempt to target gays. So the "identity" arguments are not only "too facile", they are downright contrary to the stated position of the liberal wing of SCOTUS. The bogus arguments plus the anti-religious bias make a strong case for overturning the Colorado court verdict on the basis of due process alone.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online