Free Speech for Some Cakes, Not All
'Bake America Cake Again' controversy highlights liberal hypocrisy
A Louisiana grocery store caused a stir this week for refusing to bake a “Trump 2016” wedding cake for local girl McKenzie Gill’s 18th birthday party.
The Trump-supporting teenager went to Albertsons in Bossier City to request an American flag cake with “Trump 2016” written on it. The employee at the bakery counter refused.
The right to deny service is a fundamental right of any business owner in a free society.
“Just left Albertsons. The woman behind the cake counter just refused to make me a birthday cake because I wanted Trump 2016 on it,” the disappointed girl wrote in a Facebook post. “Did that really just happen.”
The bakery offered an unconvincing apology, blaming the decision on a misunderstanding about copyright law. Connie Yeates, a spokesperson for Albertson’s released the following statement:
“We apologize to our customer in Bossier City for the situation regarding the cake that was requested. Our bakery staff member misunderstood the training provided regarding copyrighted phrases, and incorrectly informed the customer we could not fulfill her request. We would be happy to provide the cake as the customer requested.”
Gill isn’t buying it. “She never mentioned copyrights, and I can almost guarantee that was not on her mind. The copyright situation did not come up until much later.”
Many conservatives have drawn parallels to multiple incidents in which Christian bakers refused to be party to weddings between homosexual couples, noting that while liberals attacked those bakers as hateful bigots who were violating gay rights, they are defending the decision of Albertsons.
While liberal website RawStory has a plethora of articles covering the decisions of Christian bakers and the legislation introduced in some states to protect them, its headline about the Trump cake incident reads “Trump supporter whines about discrimination.”
In an interview with PJ Media’s Tyler O’Neil, Gill herself drew parallels to her experience and those of gay couples who were declined wedding cakes by Christian bakers. “The principle of denial in the situation is exactly the same,” Gill said.
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“I admit that it doesn’t take a cake to have a birthday, but it also doesn’t take a cake to have a gay wedding either. There is no difference in principle. We were both denied service,” she said.
The central premise of those on the Left laughing at the disappointed teen is that there’s some inherent difference between refusing to write a political slogan and refusing to bake a cake for the “wedding” of a homosexual couple.
Some conservatives have even made similar arguments. “The differences are nonetheless important,” writes O’Neil. “In the case of Aaron and Melissa Klein in Oregon, the bakery was run on Christian principles,” O’Neil added. “In that case, the Kleins had a religious objection to serving a cake because they believe marriage is between a man and a woman … In this case, Albertsons acknowledged the mistake and offered to bake the cake,” he writes. “There was no religious objection, and Albertsons is a large company that does not hold a religious objection to Donald Trump.”
But although there are clear distinctions between the motives for refusing service, and the size of the companies that do so, the principle at stake here is not necessarily one of religious liberty — but rather one of property rights.
Christian bakers have a right to refuse to partake in gay weddings not because they’re Christians, but because they’re private business owners and have the inherent right to run their business how they see fit. Likewise, any anti-Trump baker out there is fully within his rights should he refuse to decorate a cake with a pro-Trump message.
The right to deny engaging in an activity they hold a conscionable objection to is a fundamental right of any business owner in a free society.