(Robert Lauer) – Recently in the news, a baker was fined $135,000 for not making a gay couple a wedding cake. The business owner made wedding cakes for heterosexual couples. The issue of religious freedom debated for the past year was related to whether a business owner can be forced to provide a product or service that conflict their religious beliefs. And that was a legitimate debate. But that is not what I am arguing here in this piece. I am arguing in favor of the free market and the right of business owners to produce products and services that meet the needs of the market niche they carve out for themselves.
The gay couple argued that the baker was violating their right to the free access to the market and was discriminating them by refusing to make a gay wedding cake for them. If the baker specializes in making cakes for heterosexual couples with Barbie and Ken on top, then the gay couple can and does have the right to walk in and purchase a wedding cake with Barbie and Ken on top. They are free to remove Barbie and Ken, and put Ken and Ken on top of the cake. But that is not what they did. They wanted to force the baker to make a cake especially for them with a Ken and Ken and that violates the baker’s rights. In fact, the gay customers were not discriminated against any more than by a wedding planner who specializes in Big Fat Greek Weddings.
If you go to a wedding planner who specializes in Big Fat Greek Weddings and demand that he plans a Mexican, Italian or Irish wedding, and he says “no, that’s not my specialty”, that is not discrimination. A restaurant that specializes in pizza refuses to make tacos is not discriminating against Mexicans. Pizza is their niche market. Now, if a black person walks in and asks to buy a pizza from a pizza shop and is refused because he is black, that is discrimination. And BTW, there are barbers shops that specialize in cutting only Afros. Google it.
The gay couple was demanding that the business owner make them a special product they do not make. And the government has no right to compel a business owner to produce a product especially for a “protected class” of people. That would be “Affirmative Market Action”.
The free market is a wondrous thing. If there is sufficient demand, someone will make cakes for gay weddings and fill the niche. The free market will meet the demand without the government compelling private businesses to supply products that the market doesn’t already demand.