I’ve campaigned for LGBT rights my whole life forcing Christians to bake a gay to far

Nov 2008
Washington state
PETER TATCHELL I’ve campaigned for LGBT rights my whole life – but forcing Christians to bake a gay marriage cake is a step too far


Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell argues here that an essential part of freedom is not being forced to spread ideas you disagree with

Judges will rule on whether the Christian bakery acted lawfully when it refused to decorate a cake with the words "support gay marriage" at the request of equality campaigner Gareth Lee.
He was fighting to get gay marriage legalised in Northern Ireland, where same-sex weddings are still banned.

The Christian bakers admit that they would not have refused to decorate a cake with the words "support heterosexual marriage" – and have found themselves at the centre of a four-year legal battle as a result.
Already, the Appeal Court has ruled that Ashers was guilty of illegal sexual orientation discrimination. But in my view, the Appeal Court was wrong.

Dangerous implications

As a lifelong campaigner for LGBT rights, and as someone with gay friends in Northern Ireland who want to marry, I obviously strongly disagree with Ashers’ opposition to marriage equality.
But in a free society neither they, nor anyone else, should be compelled by law to promote an idea they object to.

These bakers didn’t turn away their gay customer – they gladly agreed to make Gareth a cake but declined to decorate it with the pro-gay marriage wording he wanted.
As much as I deplore their opposition to marriage equality, Ashers should not be forced to promote same-sex marriage, given that it goes against their religious beliefs - nor should they be obliged to endorse a LGBT equality movement they do not agree with.

This case doesn’t just affect the LGBT community; it has wider, dangerous implications for the whole of Britain.
If the Supreme Court insists that the bakery should be required to promote a pro-gay rights message that they find objectionable, this would presumably also mean that a Jewish publisher could be obliged to print a book that propagates Holocaust denial.
Likewise, Muslim publishers (who believe that the Islamic prophet must never be depicted in art or drawings) could be legally pressured, against their will, to print the Danish cartoons of Mohammed that Muslims find deeply offensive.
It could also encourage far right extremists to demand that businesses facilitate the promotion of their anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim opinions.

If the law rules against the bakery it will undermine the principle of freedom of expression, which includes the right to not support ideas you disagree with.
Just reverse the roles and imagine that an anti-gay rights campaigner had asked for a cake with a homophobic slogan on it.
I do not believe that a gay baker, or any baker, should be legally forced to decorate a cake with a message against LGBT equality.
Discrimination against people is always wrong and is rightly unlawful.
But in a democracy, it’s vital that people should be free to say "no" when asked to spread an idea they don't agree with.
If they can't, the implications are frankly terrifying.

[FONT=&amp]Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell is the first Gay rights person making sense in this argument. He realizes a win for Gay rights here is a loss of many other rights for others and he's seeing more hurt then help on this issue. He points out limiting peoples rights to object to promoting something they disagree with should not be punished in a free society. Freedom of Speech (even thought this is the UK) is the ability to speak or not to speak. When government starts to force people to speak for something they don't support, that freedom is no longer freedom. Hopefully in the coming ruling on the Colorado Bakers case the Supreme court considers all human rights, not just a select few. [/FONT]
Feb 2010
Sunny Bournemouth, Dorset
So you agree with a gay socialist gay rights champion. The Asher's case is bizarre and British, and involves sloganeering on a cake, none of which applies to the US wedding cake case, where a gay couple were refused service when they wanted to buy a stock wedding cake, because they were gay, and it was for their wedding.
Likes: 6 people
Jul 2014
Border Fence
I wouldn't want someone from the UK or Africa or China to tell the US what our laws should be.

I will not tell the Irish what their laws should be.
Likes: 1 person
Jun 2006
I wouldn't want someone from the UK or Africa or China to tell the US what our laws should be.

I will not tell the Irish what their laws should be.
That’s true of things like zoning bylaws, or voting age, or - say - penalties for theft. But when my government tramples my “fundamental” human rights it is absolutely the responsibility of Brits, Africans and Chinese to speak on my behalf.

Similarly, we have an obligation as human beings to do the same for them.

For free peoples, Human rights trump national rights.


Council Hall
Dec 2007
Pennsylvania, USA
Not gay cakes again! Get over it! What is it with you and this obsession with gays? It's becoming beyond 'sick'.
Maybe he's just obsessed with cake, and is using the controversy as an excuse to discuss cake. :)

Seriously though - the guy's argument is flawed. Bakers are free to endorse whichever events they wish. As long as they treat all customers the same.

If they don't want to make wedding cakes for anyone that's okay.

If they are willing to make wedding cakes for anyone, that's okay.

If they want to make wedding cakes for some people, but not for others, that's bigotry.
Likes: 6 people

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