I’ve read about a lot of idiotic things lately. I thought watching people carrying signs that said “stop the Christian Taliban” in San Diego during an anti-Prop 8 protest topped it. I’ve seen something that really one-ups it. The City of Indianapolis is investigating a family-owned business after allegations were made that the owner had discriminated against a customer. How?
They refused an order for rainbow cupcakes for a National Coming-Out Day party.
First of all, I think National Coming-Out Day is not what it was intended to be initially. Once celebrated as a call to be honest and open if it was safe, it is now just another “look at me, I’m different!” campaign designed to pressure those who are living quietly to be more open and celebrate those like Perez Hilton (jackass!) who seem to think it is their mandate to out anybody who has chosen to live the aforementioned quiet life.
This incident began when Shan Parker, a student at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, went to local bakery Just Cookies to place an order for rainbow cupcakes for a campus NCOD party. He was first told that the bakery does not make cupcakes – hence the name “Just Cookies” – and that the bakery didn’t have the materials needed to make such an order. Later, however, co-owner David Stockton clarified another reason. He said, “I explained we’re a family-run business, we have two young, impressionable daughters and we thought maybe it was best not to do that.”
Uh-oh. Now the fight is on. Even Fox59 is headlining the story, “Homophobic Bakery: Local bakery refuses to make rainbow cupcakes for gay customer.” What’s more, the Indianapolis City Council is vowing to investigate the incident – and Republican mayor Gregory Ballard is getting in on the act, too. His spokesman, Robert Vane, said, “The city’s position is, it’s the city’s market, it’s a public place…whatever this gentleman’s personal views are, it cannot interfere with the providing of a service or allowing someone to buy their goods.”
Okay. I’d have a few questions. First of all, they say this bakery is located at the city market. Does the City of Indianapolis own the property? If not, what say does the City government have in any of this? If so, did the City’s representatives require the Stocktons to sign an agreement that they would not discriminate? Does their business license require an agreement to a nondiscrimination clause? If the City doesn’t own the property outright and doesn’t control the leasing options, they don’t have any right to intrude. Whoever owns the property and the leasing options has the final say, and if they didn’t include such requirements in licensing for the business or operation on the property (which I’m guessing they were not given such a requirement), then they don’t get a say, either.
We live in a free country. We have certain rights, yet among those rights are certain things we’re not allowed to do. I’m allowed to practice my religious faith as long as the belief I adhere to does not require harming or killing people and/or animals, using dangerous narcotics or keeping fifteen spouses, half of them being underage. I’m allowed to write as a member of the press as long as I’m not printing calls to violence or certain personally identifying information about other people. I am allowed to get a group of friends together for a gathering or celebration – as long as it is peaceful, meaning no riots, no stealing, no assault, no stopping traffic and no killing. I am allowed to petition the government as long as it’s honest and I’m not signing other people’s names to said petition. I am allowed to speak my mind freely, as long as I’m not issuing threats or inciting others to violence.
If a person believes that their race is superior, they are allowed to express that belief. Not many people will like them (unless they’re in the New Black Panther Party or La Raza, of course, which are acceptable because whitey did them wrong), but anyone is allowed to express racist ideas as long as they’re not violent. I don’t like Fred Phelps or his ilk, but they have a right to express their views. I may not like the fact that the Stocktons refused to serve a gay customer, but regardless of the reason for the refusal, to refuse is their right.
In the same vein, if this had happened to me, it would be my right to tell everyone I knew about what they had done and take my business elsewhere. If I had been the customer they denied service to I would have gotten a word-of-mouth grassfire going so that people knew not to go there. I would never expect the government to step in and tell a private business that they are required to serve me.
Look at it this way: we don’t like it when Christians come to protest and hand out gospel literature outside of gay pride festivals. We ask that police remove them to avoid disrupting the atmosphere and avoid possible violence. If we force businesses like this one to serve us, they will have every right to force us to simply accept their presence, no matter how rude, degrading or insulting their remarks might be.
If it turns out that the business license and/or the property owner required the Stocktons to sign a nondiscrimination agreement then they will be bound by it. If they weren’t, as I suspect, then the issue needs to be dropped. Period. Forcing other people to accept us is a double-edged sword. If we keep up like this, that blade will eventually swing our way.