By Dustin Hurst | Watchdog.org
When is it perfectly acceptable for a business to deny service to potential customers based on moral grounds?
Answer: It just might depend on who’s running your city or state.
Earlier this month, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn announced the start of a campaign that would encourage local businesses to sign up to go gun-free. The city does not require businesses to join the program, but interested companies can place a gun-free sticker in their front windows, a message that gun-carriers just aren’t welcome.
“Businesses have the right to establish condition of entry, including prohibiting guns,” the sticker reads.
It’s much like the dress-code requirement convenience stores post on entry doors: No shirt, no shoes, no service.
“We are here to support businesses that do not wish to have guns on their premises,” McGinn said Aug. 19.
In summary, businesses that morally object to guns have the right to deny service to carriers? Got it.
Except, that’s not always the case.
Drop one state to the south and the left’s hypocrisy on rights and moral objections reveals itself.
The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries announced just two weeks ago it was launching an investigation into Sweet Cakes by Melissa, a Gresham bakery that refused to prepare a wedding cake for a lesbian couple.
The bakery’s owner, Melissa Klein, said she turned away the couple on moral and religious grounds.
“It’s definitely not discrimination at all. We don’t have anything against lesbians or homosexuals,” she told Oregon Live. “It has to do with our morals and beliefs.”
Unfortunately for Klein, she doesn’t have a city official or other bureaucrats encouraging her to stand by her values. In fact, Oregon has a law, passed in 2007 by a Democrat-controlled Assembly, that prevents businesses from turning away customers based on several factors, including sexual orientation.
Standing by her principles could cost Klein: Under the 2007 law, if the state department finds merit in the case, a judge could force the bakery to pay civil damages.
Dave Rowland, a policy analyst at the Seattle-based Freedom Foundation, told Watchdog.org on Friday the contradiction exists among the left, and forcing businesses to accept customers comes close to the ideas of “forced labor” and “involuntary servitude.”
“Why should they be required to provide those services?” Rowland asked.
Rowland’s intellectually honest on the issue, admitting that he’d have a problem with an ordinance forcing owners to allow customers to carry guns in businesses.
The American Family Association rushed to the bakery’s aid, arguing the company is protected under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Update: Over the weekend, Sweet Cakes by Melissa announced that it had closed its doors and is moving its operation in-home. Though the business reported an uptick in sales after the initial incident, business declined in the months following. Here’s a link to the story.