Oregon bakery owners miffed they cannot refuse service based on religion

A bakery in Oregon owned by a devoutly religious couple is under fire from local consumers for refusing service to another couple in that state. One of the owners justified her bias with this painfully clueless statement:

HuffPo — “We don’t have anything against lesbians or homosexuals,” she said in August. “It has to do with our morals and beliefs. It’s so frustrating because we went through all of this in January, when it all came out.”

Her remarks echoed sentiments her husband Aaron shared with NBC earlier this year. “I think [the state labor commissioner] is going to have decide what’s more important: The Oregon State Constitution, or the statute that was passed in 2007,” he said at the time. “They dropped the ball by not putting in any exemption for religious beliefs.”

Now substitute ‘blacks or Jews” in there for “lesbians or homosexuals” and this becomes much clearer to anyone outside the rational-verse: it is against the law to refuse service based on race, religion, or sexual orientation in Oregon and in a growing number of other states. As a result of breaking that law this couple has two big problems. One, the local community has voted with their pocketbooks to not shop at their bakery forcing them to scale back their business, and two, having gleefully confessed to practicing discrimination and therefore violating the law, they are being investigated by the state’s enforcement division.

You are free to believe with all your heart that black, or white, or lesbian customers are evil, for any reason, doesn’t matter if the reason is religious or pseudo-scientific or out of pure spite. You are not free to deny them service based on that belief.

There is no religious “exemption” to break that law, anymore than a motorist is exempted from speed limits in a school zone because they believe God thinks it shouldn’t apply to them. There is no exemption giving these business owners in Oregon the “right” to refuse service to blacks or Jews, or Muslims, or gay and lesbian Americans, or people with red hair. And there is certainly no law that says local consumers have to buy from these guys if they choose to refuse service based on unlawful criteria. It really is that simple.


  1. Alverant says

    Don’t you know, it’s christian persecution if you don’t give them special rights and don’t put their religion above secular law.

  2. unbound says

    @Alverant – That’s the kicker. All these xtians are so concerned about sharia law coming to their communities…and completely clueless that they want their own version of sharia law.

  3. kimbeaux says

    @unbound (2)
    “that they want their own version of sharia law” is precisely why they should be referred to as the xtian taliban.

  4. left0ver1under says

    Two thoughts come to my mind:

    Would anyone want to give the bigots their business, knowing how the think? I would no sooner buy from them than I would from a business with an aryan nations banner on its wall.

    Would LGBTQ customers be able to trust the bigots not to do anything inappropriate (e.g. putting a laxative in a cake)? If I were LGBTQ, I wouldn’t buy a cake from them, never mind eat it.

  5. Pieter B, FCD says

    “Talibangelicals” and “Talibangelists” are words I’ve seen on occasion, but I prefer the late great Molly Ivins’s “Shiite Baptists.”

  6. william boyd says

    Of course the right wing line is that they shut down because of gay threats. Couldn’t be because they had to scale back their business after the hefty fine. Those gays are just so powerful! First it was hurricanes, then the World Trade Center, and now a bakery. Maybe one of these days the Christian bigots will learn to quit fucking with them.

  7. magistramarla says

    The bigots have closed their storefront and moved their “bakery” to their home.
    As I mentioned on Pharyngula, I think that a gay couple should rent that storefront, open a bakery and enjoy great profits. They should call it Karma.

  8. timberwoof says

    The fabled invisible hand of the Libertarian free market is fine and dandy until it swats someone who didn’t think they were subject to it.

  9. brucecoppola says

    This is just the icing on the cake. They had the crust to refuse service based on their bigotry, and people spent their dough elsewhere. They couldn’t take the heat so they got out of the kitchen. That’s the way the cookie crumbles.

    (Well, someone had to do it.)

  10. says

    Dang … the pedant in me rises. Being Sunni extremists, the Taliban hate the Shiites for being the wrong sort of Muslims* almost as much as they hate the non-Muslims for not being Muslims at all. So in this analogy, a Talibangelical would hate a Shiite Baptist as much as the usual suspects.

    Maybe ‘Sunni Baptist’ would bridge that gap.

    Or maybe I should just not care about a trifling point of pedantry :-)

    *One of the most deranged-sounding Taliban edicts was that men had to have beards long enough to protrude out of your fist if you wrap your hand around your beard. This sounds merely arbitrary until you learn that Afghanistan’s main Shia religious minority, the Hazara, are also an ethnic minority descended from Mongolian people, who tend to have less facial hair than other Afghans, so this edict looks suspiciously like a cynical “punish the Shia” move, rather than a purely abstract aesthetic requirement.

  11. dean says


    So in this analogy, a Talibangelical would hate a Shiite Baptist as much as the usual suspects.
    Maybe ‘Sunni Baptist’ would bridge that gap.

    reminds me of the following (I’ve heard it attributed to Emo Phillips)

    I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump. I ran over and said: “Stop. Don’t do it.”
    “Why shouldn’t I?” he asked.
    “Well, there’s so much to live for!”
    “Like what?”
    “Are you religious?”
    He said: “Yes.”
    I said: “Me too. Are you Christian or Buddhist?”
    “Me too. Are you Catholic or Protestant?”
    “Me too. Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?”
    “Wow. Me too. Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?”
    “Baptist Church of God.”
    “Me too. Are you original Baptist Church of God, or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?”
    “Reformed Baptist Church of God.”
    “Me too. Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915?”
    He said: “Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915.”

    I said: “Die, heretic scum,” and pushed him off.

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