To Bake or Not To Bake

Coming out of silence because I am disturbed by what the Arizona legislature has done, but I’m also slightly disturbed by some of the reactions to it.

So there’s an uproar over a law that the Arizona legislature passed about businesses not being sued if they choose not to do business with a certain class of people because of their religion. Or something to that effect. I don’t really care exactly what it says because I think it’s misguided, pointless, unnecessary, and probably unconstitutional.

That being said, I believe that a businessperson should be able to refuse to do business with whomever they want to UNLESS it’s because of their gender, race, sexual orientation, or religion. (I think I got them all in there.) HOWEVER, if you choose not to do business with someone because you’re uncomfortable doing the specific event or service, then I have no problem with that. If you don’t want to bake a cake for a gay wedding, you shouldn’t have to. If you don’t want to photograph a bar mitzvah, you shouldn’t have to. If you don’t want to work on a white woman’s hair, you shouldn’t have to. And so on. And honestly, if someone doesn’t want to do business with you, why the heck do you want to do business with them? Just turn around, walk out the door, and FIND SOMEONE ELSE. Sheesh. HOWEVER, if the business accepts the job, signs a contract, or shakes hands, then they should damn well be professional and do the job, whether they are comfortable or not. Not doing so is just flat out unprofessional. If a business breaks the contract, sue them. I don’t care, that’s their problem for breaking their word. If they just tell you they don’t want to do the job in the first place, then walk away. Suing them at that point is just vindictive. (Unless of course, they call you nasty names and it’s obvious they are haters – then you can do what the heck you feel like. But if they’re polite and respectful, just walk away, okay?)

And that’s all I have to say about that.

8 Responses to “To Bake or Not To Bake”

  1. syndromes says:

    The blog, it livessss!!!

    I’m not exactly understanding what you’re saying (keep in mind I’m dumb, lol) — a business shouldn’t be able to refuse business with someone because of gender, race, etc, and then in the following sentence say you have no problem with refusing specific events if it makes you uncomfortable? I don’t understand the distinction you seem to be making between, eg: owning a bakery and baking a cake. I can’t refuse bakery service but I can refuse cake baking?

    Can you clarify? I’m confused and/or dumb :)

  2. Karin says:

    I’m not sure it lives, but it had a gasp of air because I didn’t have anywhere else to vent about it…lol! I’m still transferring posts – don’t seem to have time to get it all done. I wrote a lot of stuff! Sheesh! Anyway…

    I’m kind of making the distinction on two levels. For one thing, you cannot legally refuse service to a protected class simply because they are a member of a protected class, i.e., you can’t refuse service to an JUST Hispanic because they’re Hispanic, or to a Catholic just because they’re a Catholic, etc., etc. I’m not sure whether gay is a protected class, but it probably should be if it isn’t. But, Arizona has a law that says that a business can refuse service to anyone for any reason. My understanding is that federal law regarding protected classes supersedes that, so if someone walked into your bakery and they were black or Jewish or whatever, and they wanted to buy a dozen cupcakes, then they can buy a dozen cupcakes if they can pay for them, unless there are other reasons why you don’t want to serve them (coarse language, harassing the employees, etc.). On the other hand, if someone sets up an appointment with you and says I would like to hire you to bake a cake for my wedding, and oh, by the way, I need the cake to say Ted and Larry, then you should have the right to say, I’m really not comfortable with that and I’d prefer you find someone else to bake your wedding cake. Most reasonable people would say, okay, fine, we’ll hire someone else – because what person in their right mind wants to work with someone who doesn’t want to work for them anyway? (And then go write a nasty review on Yelp or tell all their friends not to do business with that bakery. Fair enough.) I’m also sort of thinking of sole proprietors versus large corporations. Since my husband is a sole proprietor, he should be able to pick and choose which jobs he chooses to take for whatever reason. Now, he would obviously never refuse to take a job because someone was gay or atheist, or whatever, but I think you should have the right to work for whomever you want to work for and not work for whomever you don’t want to work for. I think there’s a distinction between selling a product or products in your store and providing a service. If an African American hairdresser doesn’t want to work on fine blonde hair because she’s not comfortable with that (or vice versa), then they should be able to say no, but if said blonde wants to buy shampoo, then she should be able to. And sure, someone could say that’s discrimination, but I don’t have an issue with stuff like that. Sometimes you just need to find someone else who can better suit your needs and not get all sue happy. Anyway, I’m not sure that explained it better or not.

    But to add to my original post, my issue with the Arizona Legislature is that I do really think that most of them have their hearts sort of in the right place, but the problem is they never frigging think things all the way through. They see something happen somewhere else and say, oh, let’s make sure that never happens here, but they never stop to think of the repercussions of whatever law they decide to write that day. Let me give you an example. A few years back they decided that they would change the law to make it legal to sell fireworks to private citizens in the state of Arizona, which had previously been illegal. BUT, they also left it up to each municipality to decide whether or not it was legal to actually USE said fireworks. So, now you can buy the fireworks anywhere, but it depends on which city you’re in whether you can actually use them, and for the most part, you can’t actually use them. And, of course, people don’t actually read the laws, so they see fireworks for sale and say, oh look! Let’s buy fireworks! And they do and then shoot them off even though it’s not actually legal to do so because they figure if they can buy them it must be okay to use them. A perfect example of them making a law without thinking it all the way through. Stupid stupid stupid. (And quite annoying on holidays when people like to use fireworks.)

    This last law, to me, is the stupid legislature making a mountain out of a nonexistent molehill. As far as I know, no one in Arizona has sued someone for refusing service (since, after all, there’s already a law about that). But, oh my gosh, someone did that somewhere else, so let’s fix it before it happens! But it didn’t need fixing, because theoretically, the law about refusing service should have taken care of any issues in the first place. So yeah, I honestly don’t think MOST of them are racist, sexist, homophobic bigots. I just think they are not smart enough to know how to think things all the way through. Which is not a really good trait for a legislator. *sigh*

  3. syndromes says:

    Thanks for the clarification :)

    My Dad owned his own barbershop for years and refused to cut black people’s hair and it always really bothered me. I doubt it was legal even back then, but either way I think it shaped how I view the whole personal freedoms vs civil rights thing, and then again living in a largely LGBT community now.

    Anyhew, hope Brewer doesn’t sign it! I find it hard to imagine she will at this point.

  4. Karin says:

    I mean I guess it depends on why he refused to cut their hair. Was it because they were black or because he didn’t feel comfortable working on that hair type (which I think is a legitimate reason because it does have its differences), but I can totally understand why it would bother you.

    I am 99% sure she is not going to sign it. She didn’t sign a similar bill once before so I don’t imagine she will sign this one either, especially since it could impact the state monetarily.

  5. syndromes says:

    He was an out-and-out bigot which is why it bothered me so much. He would use the excuse of hair differences whenever a prospective black customer would inquire, but then he’d turn around and start using racial slurs as soon as they left. He was an idiot.

    If you’re in the business sector, including sole proprietorships, I have a difficult time with the argument that you should be able to decide who you choose to do business with based purely on a disagreement with who they innately are or how they otherwise lead their life. It’s irrelevant, impacts you in absolutely no way, and is entirely unjustifiable from my point of view. Sometimes you don’t always have (m)any alternatives, and/or those alternatives place an unfair burden on the person seeking service. I get that not everybody agrees with me, but when you try and seek cover behind “religious freedom”, it particularly annoys me.

    Oh well. As usual I’m ranting :) I appreciate you indulging me and it’s good for me to hear other points of view!

  6. Karin says:

    I just see taking away any religious freedom as a slippery slope whether I agree with it or not. It is very worrisome to me. But really, I think if you are running a business and you don’t want to do something, the easiest thing to do is say you’re already booked or bid it really high. Why even get into that conversation in the first place? And by the sane token, why would you want to do business with someone who doesn’t want to do business with you? There are plenty of people out there who would love to have your business. And another argument is – why go into that type of business in the first place if you’re not open to whatever comes your way? But I do think they suing someone is going a bit overboard. Give them negative reviews all over the internet. But sue them? People are too sue happy and litigious in general. Just walk away!

  7. syndromes says:

    Is it weird that I just tried to “Like” your comment but couldn’t find the button? Haha, habits… Funny, those things.

  8. Karin says:

    I do that all the time…lol!