Discrimination is a two way street

Nick Reagan Columnist

I was reading an article earlier this week concerning a couple who were viciously run out of business by a boycott of homosexual activists. A couple owning a bakery in Washington was forced to shut their doors after a boycott prevented business to take place. The boycott was called after the bakery owners turned away a wedding cake order for a homosexual wedding. The owners are very religious people who have built their life around their religious principles. Now the couple faces a lawsuit for discrimination. What happened to capitalism? What happened to freedom to associate? What happened to America?

There is so much hype about discrimination and everyone’s rights but how far do we need to go one way before we end up going full circle and make the majority the minority? At what point do we start taking rights from one group just to give them to another? I advocate equal rights for everyone regardless of sexuality, skin color, religion, or gender but that means I advocate equal rights for EVERYONE. Minorities need to be protected, but so do the majority. Homosexuals should not have to compromise their beliefs, but neither should heterosexuals. 

My biggest quam with this situation comes from the idea that the ultra-religious bakery owners absolutely must serve any customer that comes through their doors. The baker who creates these cakes spends time and effort in making each one a work of art and therefore is seen as a point of pride for the baker. The baker could not create a cake that goes against something he inherently believes is morally wrong. In this case, he believes homosexual marriage is a sin and therefore it would go against his morality to bake a cake that condones homosexual marriage. 

I do not agree with the couple’s beliefs but I do believe that no one, including mob antics or the government, should force them to act against their morality. Our First Amendment grants us the right to associate with whomever we want. If freedom to associate (or to not associate) and freedom to assemble allows groups with openly harmful agendas, like the Neo Nazis and the KKK, to associate, then too should heterosexuals be allowed to associate with other heterosexuals without the prejudice of discriminating against homosexuals. They simply do not want to associate with them, and as long as they do that peacefully, they should be allowed to do so.  

Capitalism is about variety and individualism, but how can we encourage individualism if the government sues every company that only performs one particular function that excludes a certain segment of the population – in this case a bakery that makes ‘traditional’ wedding cakes? Capitalism’s greatest feat is its ability to change to fit demand. If there is enough demand, then soon enough a business will pop up to fill that demand with the prospect of potential wealth driving business. 

Simply speaking, everyone should be accepting of everyone.  However, since we are all inherently wired differently, it is absurd to think we should be forced to. Allow capitalism and founding American principles to be the foundation on which we build our society, a place where everyone has the right to associate or disassociate with whomever they desire.


Nick Reagan is a sophomore studying political science and economics. He can be emailed at [email protected].