Monday, 24 October 2016

Gay cakes

From the BBC...

The Christian owners of a Northern Ireland bakery have lost their appeal against a ruling that their refusal to make a "gay cake" was discriminatory. Appeal court judges said that, under law, the bakers were not allowed to provide a service only to people who agreed with their religious beliefs.

Two years ago, the family-run firm refused to make a cake iced with the slogan: "Support Gay Marriage". The order was placed at its Belfast shop by gay rights activist Gareth Lee.

The firm argued that the cake's message was against the bakers' religious views.

Reacting to the ruling, Daniel McArthur from Ashers said he was "extremely disappointed" adding that it undermined "democratic freedom, religious freedom and free speech".

"If equality law means people can be punished for politely refusing to support other people's causes then equality law needs to change," he said.

I know there are strong view on both sides and that many people celebrating this outcome have the best intentions, but I'm with the bakers.

The government is a lumbering, cowardly bully. When the majority of Britons regarded homosexuality as immoral, irreligious or otherwise socially unacceptable, it was illegal. The lives of many gay men were ruined by imprisonment, blackmail and forced sterilisation. By 1967, attitudes had softened to the extent that homosexual acts were legalised, albeit only for men aged 21 or over, and for the next few decades, they were legally tolerated while continuing to be the subject of widespread but dwindling social disapproval.

Attitudes then swung decisively. Between 1985 and 2012, the proportion of Britons who believed that homosexuality was ‘wrong’ fell from 69 per cent to 28 per cent and it was now homophobia that became socially unacceptable.

Sensing the changing mood of the majority, the cowardly, bullying state swung to the opposite extreme and began prosecuting those who displayed prejudice against homosexuals. In 2011, a Christian couple were fined £3,600 for refusing to allow a gay couple to stay in a double room in their bed and breakfast. Three years later, the bakery involved in this dispute was fined £500 for refusing a request from a customer to bake a cake with the words ‘support gay marriage’ on it. In effect, they were being forced to promote an opinion with which they totally disagreed.

Neither the old attitude to homosexuality nor the current attitude to homophobia is recognisably liberal. Under John Stuart Mill’s harm principle, it would not matter whether it was homosexuality or homophobia that was deemed immoral by the majority. Neither would be a matter for the police.

The government has used the law to persecute first one side and then the other. It never seems to occur to these moral imbeciles that there is a third option of allowing people to voluntarily trade and associate with whomever they want, and to not persecute anybody.

No comments: