Contradictions in Rights, Contradictions in Property for Same Sex Wedding Cake

The solution to much of the anti-homosexual bigotry lies in the abolishment of private property. Unfortunately this is the line that liberals are unwilling to cross because it challenges the power in society that they have.

For instance, you’ll recall the Christian couple who own the bakery shop Sweet Cakes by Melissa which refused to serve a lesbian couple. Bakery owners Aaron and Melissa Klein refused to create a wedding cake for a lesbian couple who were engaged to be married in 2013. They did so because they felt it violated their Christian beliefs to create baked goods for someone else’s homosexuality. In more than a decade of Catholic school education I must have missed that part of the Bible. The lesbian couple proceeded to sue the bakery for discrimination. They won and were awarded $135,000 in damages due to emotional stress and death threats they received.[1]

The bakery couple have rallied against the ruling claiming that their rights as Christians have been violated. They also state that the awarding of damages will ‘ruin’ them. Blame for this has been placed directly on Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian. It is their contention that he is trying to, “silence anyone who opposes his point of view.”[2] They have vowed to fight back claiming that they are going to take a stand for the rights of Christians.

‘For years, we’ve heard same-sex marriage will not affect anybody. I’m here firsthand to tell everyone in America that it has already impacted people. Christians, get ready to take a stand. Get ready for civil disobedience.’

– Aaron Klien

The legal argument here rests on the classification of the business itself. The state’s Bureau of Labor and Industries maintain that the bakery violated the state’s anti-discrimination laws. It is a violation because the business was not registered as a religious institution. The matter falls under the jurisdiction of The Oregon Equality Act of 2007[3] where the matter is unfolding. However, Aaron Klien asserts that it is a matter of free speech: “My First Amendment rights allow me to practice my religion as I see it.”[4] Now we see how the legal battle is going to take place. The question will become, is a business refusing service an act of free speech? The answer to that is yet to be determined by a court ruling.

What we really have here is two sets of contradictions in rights. On the one side we have the right not to be discriminated against. On the other we have the right to freedom of speech. There is a direct conflict between the two. One of these rights has to triumph over the other. In reality not all rights are equal. There is no system or philosophy in which they are. Either one has the free speech right to spew homophobia or people have a right to live without being harassed for being homosexual. In this case we have to make the realization that certain speech is not free, some of it is outright hate speech. We recognise that freedoms are contradictory and make reasonable and enlightened decisions regarding it.

The other contradiction is between property rights and human rights. By the very nature of private property and the corresponding conception of rights; we’re told that we cannot tell a person what to do with said property. In this conception we’re not allowed to force a business not to engage in discrimination because it would violate their right to do whatever they want with their private property. On the other had we have a conception of human rights that says there should be no discrimination on any number of grounds. Clearly these two rights directly conflict with each other. In this case we have to choose a side: human rights, or property rights.

In the Marxist view we acknowledge that property rights come with social antagonisms. They manifest between producer and purchaser, capitalist and worker, and private appropriation of socially generated wealth. During the investigation of private property and the corresponding social system we see that the existence of private property is fundamentally antagonistic to human life and dignity, as well as its relationship with the environment.

If we eliminate private property, we eliminate the a good many of the problems our society faces.

* * *

Sources:

[1] Daily Mail, ‘He’s doing this to the wrong Christian’: Bakers hit out after court rules that they must pay $135k to lesbian couple after they refused to make them a wedding cake
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3148472/Anti-gay-bakers-ordered-pay-135k-lesbian-couple-refused-wedding-cake-say-fine-ruin-financially-despite-raising-100-000-GoFundMe.html

[2] Ibid.

[3] Oregon Equality Act of 2007 summary
https://www.pdx.edu/sls/sites/www.pdx.edu.sls/files/LGBTQ.pdf

[4] Katu.com, Did a baker break the law when he denied service to same-sex couple?
http://www.katu.com/news/business/Did-a-baker-break-the-law-when-denying-service-to-same-sex-couple-189450071.html

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One thought on “Contradictions in Rights, Contradictions in Property for Same Sex Wedding Cake

  1. “If we eliminate private property, we eliminate the a good many of the problems our society faces.”

    That is not what history has shown us. Socialist states were no more liberatory for women and gay people than capitalist or feudalist ones. Look at the incredibly reactionary culture regarding women in the DPRK. Unless progressives are willing to address the root causes of homophobia which is the institution of marriage and the construction of heterosexuality they will never cure society of it.

    Similarly, a socialist state may be better in some ways for women but it will not liberate them because the root cause of patriarchy is male violence against women. In fact, the communist conception of revolution includes this since “people” are blamed equally for MEN’S social system, crapitalism. It will continue to exist unless men are held accountable and their pseudo-right to women’s bodies is fundamentally challenged.

    You have to understand that the right of “culture” and the rights of women are also in contradiction. This includes many indigenous cultures. You accuse of women’s liberationists and gay rights activists of the 60s of being reformist non-revolutionary scum, yet your conception of socialism would be very different if these movements had never existed. Dare I say radically different?

    “Our society” is not what we are talking about when addressing the concerns of an oppressed group like homosexuals either. Society can be just fine as a whole while gays are beaten to death and women are raped into pregnancy. For the latter, that is what “society” is built off of.

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