The Supreme Court in Britain has solved the conundrum of our age and we can all go back to watching the Block or the Bachelorette without the nagging worry about bakers and gay cakes: what a relief!
A judge of Britain’s Supreme Court has upheld an Appeal from a baker who refused to incorporate the message “Support Gay Marriage” on a cake he was making for a gay couple.
The judgement stated inter alia that: “Nobody should be forced to have or express a political opinion in which he does not believe.”
Simple really, isn’t it?
It was never in dispute that it remains unlawful to discriminate against a customer based on that customer’s sexual, religious, political or any other personal belief or attribute: you just can’t do that. But, if the customer wants you to incorporate a message on the cake that is personally objectionable to the baker based on a well-founded and conscientious belief he or she holds, then it is absolutely the right of the baker to refuse to lift his or her piping-bag to comply with your wishes.
So, let’s assume for the sake of argument that you are a left-handed, lesbian, line-dancer with a fetish for little men with odd moustaches and snappy salutes and you request that your lamington slice be fashioned in the shape of a swastika with the legend ‘Heil Hitler’ etched across it in hundreds and thousands. The baker is well within his or her rights to refuse to do so if he or she is not a fan of the main proponent of an Aryan master-race. However, that is the only basis on which you can be denied service. If you select the default lamington slice with no adornments, your personal characteristics and attributes cannot stand between you and your chosen chocolate and coconut treat.
Now, it can get complicated. If for instance you go into your local bakery and ask for a three-tiered, iced wedding cake with two little men (or two little ladies) on top. The baker may stop you right there and is justified, on this British Supreme Court ruling, to say to you: ‘no problems with the cake, sport, no problems with the three tiers and the icing but I will not, for religious and reasons of conscience place two blokes on the top: one bloke or one bloke and a lady or one bloke and a dog, at a pinch, but not two blokes’. So, we have a problem but not one that is insoluble.
A progressive baker with his eye on the bottom-line could, for instance, place a cardboard box near the front door to the shop with an assortment of little Lego type people and he could look the other way or get on with fashioning the swiss-rolls while you select your chosen adornments: who’s to say what you may choose and it’s got nothing to do with the baker or anybody but you!
Bakers are not the gatekeepers of our society, you may well say but they have the right at law to discriminate when it comes to promulgating a belief which they do not share. There are however degrees of what is acceptable to the reasonable baker and his conscience. For instance, if you order an apple-crumble and ask for the message ‘Peter Dutton Rocks !‘ piped across it, it is quite reasonable for the baker to refuse to do so. Not because apple crumbles don’t lend themselves to icing but because the statement is patently untrue and misleading.
Now that we’ve sorted that one we can get back to the Bachelorette and ask the question that is troubling the nation: why do these blokes all have tight little suits? Did their Mum throw them in the washing machine and have they shrunk? And what happened to their socks, could they still be lurking in the washer?
A conundrum for another day, perhaps?