A prominent religious liberties organization says that Republican presidential candidate John Kasich is confusing the issue that Christian-owned businesses are facing surrounding the matter of same-sex “marriage” by making a false assertion that some are refusing to sell cupcakes to persons who identify as homosexual.
As previously reported, during an event at the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, Republican presidential candidate and Ohio Gov. John Kasich said that he doesn’t believe businesses have the same protections as churches, and that business owners should just “move on” in regard to homosexuality.
“I think frankly, our churches should not be forced to do anything that’s not consistent with them. But if you’re a cupcake maker and somebody wants a cupcake, make them a cupcake,” he stated. “Let’s not have a big lawsuit or argument over all this stuff. Move on. The next thing, you know, they might be saying if you’re divorced you shouldn’t get a cupcake.”
On Thursday, during the Republican presidential debate in Houston, co-moderator Hugh Hewitt asked Kasich about his “cupcake” statement and inquired if he could be trusted to protect religious liberty if elected. Kasich reiterated his sentiments and assertions.
“If you’re in the business of selling things, if you’re not going to sell to somebody you don’t agree with, okay, today I’m not going to sell someone who’s gay, and tomorrow maybe I won’t sell to somebody who’s divorced,” he said. “If you’re in the business of commerce, conduct commerce.”
“That’s my view, and if you don’t agree with their lifestyle, say a prayer for them when they leave and hope they change their behavior,” Kasich said.
But Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) says that Kasich’s statements are confused about the matter as no one is denying homosexuals cupcakes or refusing to serve those in a relationship with those of the same sex.
“[He] seemed to confuse the [issue] with denying service to an entire class of persons based on a protected characteristic,” it wrote in a press release on Friday.
“There’s a crucial difference between declining to serve an entire class of persons regardless of what they request and declining to promote a message you disagree with regardless of who requests it,” said ADF Senior Counsel Jeremy Tedesco.
He explained that not one of the businesses fighting civil rights complaints refuse to serve homosexuals, and in reality, do serve them.
“All of the clients that ADF represents would agree that business owners should not decline service to an entire class of persons based on their sexual orientation, marital status, or any other protected status,” Tedesco. “They have all done business with people who have openly identified as LGBT.”
Tedesco again detailed that there is a difference between refusing to sell any product to an entire class of people, and declining forms of participation in an event or writing certain messages—no matter who makes the request.
“[O]ur clients, like all other people who create or promote messages, have the constitutionally protected freedom to decline to communicate ideas that conflict with their deepest convictions. This is a right we all enjoy, and if it is taken away from our clients, everyone else stands to lose it as well,” he said. “So while none of them would have a problem serving a person of any sexual orientation or marital status, they would have a problem with being forced, for example, to participate in a same-sex ceremony or with making a cake that says, ‘Divorce is great.’”
As previously reported, last April, a Kentucky court sided with a Christian screen printer who had been leveled with a discrimination complaint after he declined to print t-shirts for a “gay pride” event.
The Fayette Circuit Court ruled that Hands on Originals (HOO) was not guilty of discrimination as the company regularly does business with homosexuals, and owner Blaine Adamson’s decision not to print the shirts was not based on malice toward any person, but rather the message that the company would be forced to convey.
“The Commission … says that it is not trying to infringe on the constitutional rights of HOO, but is seeking only to have HOO ‘… treat everyone the same.’ Yet, HOO has demonstrated in this record that it has done just that. It has treated homosexual and heterosexual groups the same,” it declared.
The court noted that from 2010-2012 Hands on Originals declined 13 orders from various groups because of the message that was to be printed.
“Those print orders that were refused by HOO included shirts promoting a strip club, pens promoting a sexually explicit video and shirts containing a violence-related message,” it explained. “There is further evidence in the Commission record that it is standard practice within the promotional printing industry to decline to print materials containing messages that the owners do not want to support.”
“Nonetheless, the Commission punished HOO for declining to print messages advocating sexual activity to which HOO and its owners strongly oppose on sincerely held religious grounds,” the court continued. “The Commission’s order substantially burdens HOO’s and its owners’ free exercise of religion, wherein the government punished HOO and its owners by its order for their sincerely held religious beliefs. This is contrary to established constitutional law.”