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< Back to question #CakeGate: can you refuse service on the basis of faith? Show more Show less

The cake that Colorado baker Jack Phillips refused to bake was the kindling that lit a nation-wide discussion in the USA. Can a business deny service to an individual on the basis of their sexual orientation? As the Supreme Court came to a verdict in favour of the baker, the narrowness of the ruling still left the question unanswered. The baker was quickly followed by others who stood up in solidarity of his beliefs such as the Richland florist and the Kentucky county clerk. The resultant discussion has pitted religious freedom against the civil liberties of same-sex couples and LGBT individuals.

No, service cannot be refused on religious grounds Show more Show less

There is no case in which discrimination based on sexuality is acceptable
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The law is the highest authority

In a secular society with non-discrimination laws, all citizens must abide by those laws
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Most Western liberal democracies organise themselves as secular nations. As such, the laws they write and the protections they assure their citizens are meant to uphold their liberties regardless of, and often in the face of, religious sentiments.

The Argument

The principle of non-discrimination is the building block of many developed nations. Every person, regardless of creed or race or gender, ought to be treated equally. For this purpose we institute laws that make it illegal to fire, hire or refuse service to people on the basis of who they are. Given that we hold this principle of non-discrimination in high regard in both our courts of law and personal lives, it makes sense for these principles to be prioritised when we have such disputes. It is a poor state that watches helplessly as swathes of its population are mistreated. These non-discrimination laws/principles should therefore be respected by everyone - regardless of religious affiliation.

Counter arguments

It could be argued that discrimination on the basis of religious beliefs is an equally important question in this discussion. If a Christian or a Muslim were to be refused service because they were people of faith, that would be unacceptable. It would also be unacceptable to force Christians or Muslims to feel that they are not equal citizens because of their religious beliefs.


P1. The law states that discrimination is unacceptable on any grounds P2. It is legitimate for the law overrides religious teachings that claim discrimination of LGBT couples is necessary C1. Therefore, religiously based discrimination against LGBT couples in unacceptable.

Rejecting the premises


    This page was last edited on Sunday, 2 Sep 2018 at 16:44 UTC


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