Apple, other tech firms join LGBT cause in U.S. Supreme Court wedding cake case

“A handful of tech companies have signed onto a friend of the court brief in the case of the Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same sex couple,” Taylor Hatmaker reports for TechCrunch.

“TechCrunch has confirmed that so far the list includes Apple, Yelp, PayPal, Salesforce and Affirm,” Hatmaker reports. “The brief is being circulated by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) which expects more companies to be announced by next week.”

Hatmaker reports, “While more tech companies generally voice their support in these LGBTQ-friendly cases, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission is a tinder box of particularly volatile social issues, particularly when it comes to interpreting the religious rights secured by the First Amendment.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’ll be interesting to see what the Supremes do with this one.

We stay out of politics, but we do engage on policy discussion.Apple CEO Tim Cook, October 2017

MacDailyNews Note: Please keep the discussion civil and on-topic. Off-topic posts and ad hominem attacks will be deleted and those who post such comments will be moderated/blocked. Permanent loss of screen name could also result.

SEE ALSO:
Apple unveils over 100 new ‘gender diverse’ emojis, including rainbow flag for LGBT pride – August 2, 2016
Tim Cook is still America’s biggest LGBT power player – April 15, 2016
Apple objects to North Carolina law company says discriminates against LGBTs – March 28, 2016
Apple CEO challenges home state of Alabama on LGBT rights – October 27, 2014
Apple joins Gay Pride parade in Austin, Texas – September 21, 2014
Apple releases video highlighting employee participation in San Francisco’s LGBT Pride Parade – July 8, 2014
Tim Cook, Apple employees march in LGBT Pride Parade in San Francisco – June 30, 2014
Apple inviting employees to march in annual San Francisco LGBT Pride Parade – May 7, 2014

123 Comments

  1. Apple has also asked the SEC to exempt it’s Diversity Program from the Shareholders Proxy. We have voted it down and they want to push it through without the consent of the owners.

    Tim, the shareholders own the company- not you.

    1. The gay wedding cake case has more to do with Donald Trump being president than any other single action by the left. This over-reach and thuggary in the guise of “rights” is the “jump the shark” moment where the left has simply pushed too far, too fast, and over-reached to the point that the blow back was inevitable.

      1. Now that you mention it, your absolutely right.

        This never happened under eight years of Obama. The leftist cowards only pick fights when a Republican is in the office. Which NEGATES the whole “rights” argument and reduces it to petty POLITICS …

  2. How about Timmy and company actually worry about their product line and not the latest SJW cause? How does forcing a Christian baker bake a cake actually impact any Apple product? What next, those companies that don’t follow the latest SJW cause will have their Apple Pay turned off?

    1. “How does this impact an Apple product?”

      The products do not drop from the sky. As many of the packages state, they are designed by Apple employees in California, specifically in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area. Apple’s second-largest concentration of workers is in Austin.

      Most college-educated people from those areas, even those who are straight white males, are overwhelmingly supportive of LGBT, minority, and women’s rights. It is the judgement of Apple management that the best qualified candidates would refuse to work for any company that was not perceived to be equally supportive. You may disagree, but that is why Apple has promoted diversity since long before Tim Cook even joined the company.

      The conpany believes that there are simply not enough qualified high-tech people who hold Bible Belt values to replace those who would refuse to work for a non-inclusive Apple.

      Again, you may disagree, but Apple management sees this as very much a pocketbook issue for the company and not just politics.

      1. Thank you for assuming a lot about me from my post and thanks for attacking “the Bible Belt”. Both points show your total lack of understanding my point. The point was Timmy and company need to stop worrying about SJW cause of the month and focus on delivering products on time, in sufficient quantities and at a high quality level. Then was the last one they released an upgrade to iOS that did not need quick update the day after it was released? This kind of stuff would not happen if Apple was focused on quality instead of politics. If they keep taking their eyes of the ball then no amount of virtue signaling will bring back customers. I don’t care what a person does in their private life but I do care when that private life impacts the quality of the products that I pay a premium to purchase.

        1. I didn’t attack the Bible Belt. I live in one of the most conservative counties in Texas.

          Nor did I attack you. You suggested that there was no legitimate business reason for Apple’s policy. I responded by describing the reason that Apple itself gives. Clearly, Apple can find more trained electrical engineers in Santa Clara County, California than in Harlan County, Kentucky, and must accommodate the values held in one place rather than the other.

          That isn’t SJW stuff; it is a business fact. It isn’t a cause of the month; it has been a conspicuous and consistent Apple policy since at least the late 1980s.

          I think you have the causality backwards. The policy made it possible for Cook to become CEO; Cook being CEO did not affect the policy.

          1. I did not say you attacked me. I said you assumed much about me implying that I assumed you knew where I stood on the political issue. That may have been a poor word choice from me since I also assumed you attacked the Bible Belt. So again poor choice of words on my part. Now back to the main issue. If I accept your argument that this is a good choice for Apple because it allows them to recruit the best talent then their product should be getting better but every release of iOS is buggier than the previous version and how is that great Apple TV interface and don’t forget the very timely updates to the Mac hardware. So no this is not a business decision at all. Now I am not a person who boycotts anything because they are a stupid idea. Half the people that bake the bread I buy at the grocery probably don’t agree with me on many issues but I buy the bread because I like it. My allegiance to Apple only lasts until their products fail. I am just saying that Apple should focus i their core mission which is not diversity policeman.

          2. “I didn’t attack the Bible Belt.”

            Then why did you bring it up? It has absolutely nothing to do with the Colorado case.

            I know why you brought it up.

            It is ALL about left wing activism every time you post. You cleverly, but underhandedly, reminded fellow liberals in a RIDICULOUS hypothetical that the Bible Belt is the last bastion and largest religious region in the U.S.

            In other words, the intolerant and bigoted religious right. I believe you will find these gentle people to be the exact opposite of the left wing stereotypical caricature. But hey, don’t let facts get in the way of leftist identity activism …

        2. Oh dear.
          “no amount of virtue signaling will bring back…”
          Time to retire this overused pejorative dumb_last_resort argument to the #irony_desert™ fail bin.
          Is the Pope ‘virtue signaling’ when he exhorts people to return to religeous principles and to fight evil and bigotry while supporting the Paris Agreement on climate change?
          Are ‘you’ virtue signaling when you state “…Timmy and company need to stop worrying about SJW cause of the month and focus on delivering products on time, in sufficient quantities and at a high quality level.”? As if ‘your’ way is superior to Apple’s?
          Of course not…it’s just opinion from a basementCEO with added entitlement.

          1. Interesting debate style. Call me names without addressing either of my main points. One is that this issue has a valid religious freedom argument and that Apple needs to focus on their product line because these kinds of social issues distract them. Have a very nice day and I hope you feel better soon because you seem way too angry.

        3. And it appears, Mr. or Ms. NotaHappyAppleFan, as if you TOTALLY missed TXuser’s point. How do you expect Tim to be single-minded about getting you your precious products on time if he can’t attract and retain the talent he needs to do so? Just because you never made a decision about where you would or wouldn’t work based on the company’s values doesn’t mean others don’t. Additionally, nobody is attacking the Bible Belt – Bible Belt values are Bible Belt values. Calling them such is not an insult – they are what they are, and certainly the Colorado baker’s attitude is a manifestation of those values.

      2. One last point. The subject case is not a black and white easything to consider. It puts legitimate first amendment protections of religions vs civil rights. Most Americans could care less what 2 people want to do (get married or not) but most American also are not too likely to support just tossing aside legitimate religious concerns. Think I am wrong? How did that Obamacare requirement for nuns to pay for abortions work out? Not too good for Obamacare.

        1. TxUser answered your question quite rationally and logically. I would go a step further than TxUser and say that dollars and cents are not the only reason that Apple is engaging in this issue. Apple management also feels that it is the right thing to do. I happen to agree.

          We need to have this debate – what are permissible business-related actions informed by religious preference, and what are prohibited. Every freedom has limits, even freedom of speech and assembly and press and the right to bear arms.

          The right to exercise your freedoms is impacted when their exercise impacts others. For instance, it has been determined to be unlawful to go into a theater and yell “fire.” The risk of injury and inconvenience to the people and the business outweighs your freedom of speech in this instance. But that is a very simple case. The exercise of religious freedom is nuanced for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that it can be difficult to define religion and people have sought to abuse its nature. For instance, Scientology was recognized as a religion in the early 1990s, I believe.

          It has already been firmly established, after many decades of terrible injustices, that it is unlawful to discriminate on the basis of race, disability, etc. So, it strikes me as a bit twisted that there is now a movement to exclude LGTBQ from similar protections.

          Chik-fil-a chooses to shut down its stores on Sunday to honor the Sabbath. That is fine – there is no discrimination. But allowing individual businesses the right to pick and choose who they will serve and who is excluded based on religious preferences? That does not seem right to me, or many others in this country.

          I could almost be persuaded in this case that market forces would tend to punish businesses like this bakery. In more densely populated areas where people have access to more choices, than might, indeed, be true. But, in more rural areas, there might only be one bakery nearby. If that bakery refuses to serve an LGTBQ person, then is that fair? Could a Christian-affiliated refuse to help an LGTBQ person, or a Muslim? How would these businesses determine if you are part of a group that they do not wish to serve? Can they just assume that a person is gay?

          If this LGTBQ exclusion is somehow upheld by the SCOTUS (which would be a travesty exceeding those of “corporations are people” and “money is speech”), then what if a person obtains services under false pretenses? What if a straight person ordered a wedding cake for a gay wedding? What is a gay person gave the pretense of being straight to obtain services? Would the business have any recourse under the law?

          This is a very tricky subject, and I am not convinced that the current SCOTUS is equipped to render a quality judgment, given the recent travesties noted above.

          Corporations are NOT people. Money is NOT speech. And freedom of religion is NOT a blank check for discrimination against others.

          1. Perhaps the baker is more concerned with alienating his core christian customers, who most likely have the same beliefs as he does, rather than refusing to bake the cake, because then he might lose the majority of his business to them (his core customers)? Just an alternate thought on this….

          2. I’m still wondering, probably naively, on you a baker of a cake at all relevant to the event. They are not condoning, blessing, or enabling the event. They are baking a friggin cake! If this were a “protected group” they would be compelled to comply. Frankly, I thing all legal activity should be a “protected group”.

            Don’t worry, separation of Church and State rightly protects both. This cannot apply to Churches.

          3. These bakers were targeted by the gay couple simply because they were Christian. Like it or not, all three major religions teach the same thing about marriage. The civil rights issue is not a simple as you make it and the references to race based discrimination is a straw man argument. There are no major Christian churches that support racism so please give that part a rest. So because this issue is so decisive as shown in this tech blog is why Apple should just focus on their core mission and not politicos. If Timmy keeps fumbling the ball, the iPhone gravy train will end and then he will be fired. History will show that his firing really began when he became a SJW instead of CEO.

            1. You don’t know that about the couple. However it is true that the couple was targeted by the baker simply because they were gay. What all three (or any) religions say about marriage is irrelevant to civil marriage and to civil rights in general. This whole case is not about religion. It is about discrimination.

            2. I respectfully disagree. The facts are clear. The owner of the shop was well known to be a Christian. They offered to make any other product besides a wedding cake for the couple. The couple refused that and brought suit. And the first amendment reads “Congress shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion nor prohibiting the free excerciser thereof..”. So clearly this case is about religious rights vs civil rights.

            3. In the end take away all religious and LGBT arguments. The Baker simply does not want to bake the cake. That is the core here. The baker offered to sell the couple any number of other baked goods so it’s not discrimination of LGBT for selling products. The couple is trying to use the law to force an establishment that has clearly not excluded purchases from the store of any existing baked product to produce something they do not want to produce.

            4. Thanks for pointing that out. I never got that through the media. Gee, what a surprise!

              Bakers win hands down then. NO BUSINESS in the U.S. in history should EVER be coerced by ANY customer and told what to do. That is un-American …

            5. I have enjoyed many of your posts today that are spot on and to the point.

              As you have no doubt noticed, the left posters are intolerant of religious freedoms, stereotyping their beliefs and acting like they are the ONLY ones ENTITLED TO RIGHTS.

              Sadder still, is when leftist activists specifically target religious groups and the CEO of the only supporting major tech company strays from his fiduciary duties to entangle the Apple community in polarizing politics. Yes, sad indeed …

            6. Thanks. I don’t usually post but this issue has me fired up. The fact that Apple products don’t “just work” as in days past I believe is directly related to Tim Cook worrying about his pet social issues and not the quality of Apple products.

            7. Thank you for your very thoughtful remarks. I am always happy so your hope is realized. Man it is so hard for me being right all the time. I mean it gets boring winning arguments all the time. But such is life for me. I can’t help it. I just know that I am way smarter than anyone else…have a wonderful weekend. My suggestion is to get outside. Meet some friends and maybe do a little less commenting on sites like MDN. But to each his own.

          4. “Apple management also feels that it is the right thing to do. I happen to agree.”

            So you are totally okay with LGBT “rights” becoming forced compulsary labor (slavery) at the point of a gun and in direct violation of other people’s rights and religious views?

            Got it. I will know to ignore all the rest of your posts. Thanks for clarifying.

            1. “So you are totally okay with LGBT “rights” becoming forced compulsary labor (slavery) at the point of a gun and in direct violation of other people’s rights and religious views?”

              Very succinct and well said description of the whole case.

              I’m sure you have noticed Melvin, TXuser and the rest of their ilk NEVER mention religious rights. Never mention religion in a good light. Never mention religion raises strong families and are some of the most gentle and salt of the earth people.

              Religious lives matter is anathema to liberals as they can’t reason beyond the ugly FAKE stereotypes they created for themselves and remain relentless in peddling false narratives. TXuser went so far as to what many interpreted as an INSULT to the “Bible Belt” for no good reason in a ridiculous concocted leftist hypothetical. A LOW blow to put it mildly.

              The GOOD bakers should be respected and admired for defending their religious rights and protecting their beliefs. Particularly in the modern age where decency and civil decorum are under attack like we have never seen before.

              The way this case was setup by militant activists TARGETING good religious business owners is disturbing and unseemly to say the least. And the most despicable part is one side believes rights are exclusive ONLY to them, and standing up for your religious beliefs means NOTHING.

              Truly sad we have come to this and worse Cook dragging Apple and its customers into this polarizing fight …

            2. Of course Apple has no real problem with slave labor and selective outrage at human rights violators. They build iPhones in China and sell their products to many places where gay people are killed for being gay. But damn itthe real human rights violation is that I cannot get my wedding cake for my gay wedding. The hypocrisy is so funny it is sad.

      3. TXUser, your argument is based on majority wins…that’s not how our country operates. You realize don’t you, taking the side of one in effect, diminishes the opinion of the other? Isn’t that a little ironic when equality is what is being pursued?
        More importantly, this is a public company, not a platform to be used for a person’s private opinion. Admittedly, CEOs have a difficult job of walking a fine line in these areas, but Tim is hardly walking a fine line– he’s waving a flag.

      4. “How does this impact an Apple product?”

        You really don’t know the potential impact from the religious, moderate or conservative communities or heard of boycotts? Oh that’s right, any boycott that does not come from the elitist left blessed by CNN and NYT has ZERO merit.

        “The conpany believes that there are simply not enough qualified high-tech people who hold Bible Belt values to replace those who would refuse to work for a non-inclusive Apple.”

        All companies are inclusive. Discrimination ended decades ago and many laws have been passed to protect rights. You know that.

        Are you saying Apple if they could hire enough Bible Belt techs, then would be a different company and break the law by being non-exclusive? Never mind, what an absolutely ridiculous hypothetical I’ve come to expect from the far left.

        Obvious is what you didn’t say regarding the rights and religious freedoms of American citizens. Your SILENCE is NOTED. This case originated in the liberal state of always HIGH Colorado — NOT in the Bible Belt.

        And newsflash, religion is not confined to the Bible Belt. It is in every city, state and country in the world.

        Apple should keep its nose out of hot button issue politics, period …

        1. If you really believe that discrimination ended years ago, it’s no wonder that you’re mystified why Apple might have trouble hiring people in San Jose, San Francisco, and Austin without demonstrating its commitment to the core American value of equal rights for everybody.

          Whether an American citizen receives equal protection of the laws should not depend on the religious preferences of some other person. A law that allows opt-out for any person who disagrees with it is not enforceable against anybody and provides protection for nobody.

          If Apple bought into that cop-out, it would anger tens of thousands of its existing employees. When (not if) they left for an employer that shared their values, it would be impossible to replace them. You may think that there is an inexhaustible supply of qualified high-tech workers who aren’t concerned whether Apple opposes discrimination against themselves or their coworkers, but Apple management disagrees.

      5. “Most college-educated people from those areas, even those who are straight white males, are overwhelmingly supportive of LGBT, minority, and women’s rights.”

        I also live in California, and have no problem with LGBT people having relationships, but I don’t approve of bullying people who don’t agree with them into making cakes, or taking photos. I am essentially a libarian and I consider this a case of fascism on the part of LGBT who have no respect for anyone else’s rights.

    2. and joined the baker in supporting his cause, would there be an outcry? Outcry? There’d be a revolution.
      Who’s rights are best to support? That’s a real question in this matter and siding with one side as unequivocally “correct” shows the culture’s thinking in this realm is bent. More “interestingly,” it’s hardly as stretch to think Tim’s identity makes him unduly biased…hardly a position to take as the CEO of the richest company in the world.

    3. The players have the freedom and right to act as they do, but it appears their actions and the CEOs supporting, is having a negative effect on the business. Consumers are tuning in less and buying fewer tickets, not necessarily because they don’t believe in equal rights in general, or even the specifics the players’s advocate, but because they paid for a ticket/streaming to watch football. The CEOs are free to advocate as they are, but they are jeopardizing the business. This will happen only for so long. Why? It’s a sporting business and not a rights campaign. The parallels to TC’s SJW-ism are present. The fans dispersing is the only element missing.

  3. Yup, this is what we pay Tim hundreds of millions to fight. Not Samsung’s or Google’s blatant theft of our IP.

    In the name of equality, I can’t wait to see Apple stand up for these Christians “rights”…

    1. I watched the video. The religious people were soliciting with pamphlets which is not allowed in a public commercial business. Civil rights act protects against discrimination in sex, religion, gender, disability in public businesses, if he wanted to solicit he needed to ask permission from the owner you had the perfect right to tell them to leave.

  4. How is this any different from Apple taking down an app that is pro life? If a cake baker can refuse service on this basis, how can Apple refuse service to a pro life group?

    1. As usual for your type, you are oversimplifying the situation and irrationally seeking to conflate two different issues.

      If you want to have a thorough, reasoned debate of the issues, then fine. But the hit and run tactics used by Fwhatever and botty and their small gang of anonymous supporters is ridiculous.

      I am glad that this debate is begin held at the national level. It will force people to truly examine their beliefs and how they fit in with the founding principles of this country. Democracy is hard, particularly when you have groups of people hide-bound to their interpretations of everything.

      1. If you have directed your comments to me, I asked a question that you did not answer. As far as oversimplifying, it is a simple question. It may require a complicated answer, but you didn’t provide any answer.

      2. KingMel: the forum for debate is best if not done from the position of a CEO…that’s simply the essence. There’s a presumptuousness when Cook parades his views with stockholder’s money. Stockholders devote money & take risks with a company for financial posterity’s sake, not for political advocacy (unless one might be uber rich). There are truly cultural issues to be solved/discussed, but a wise CEO acknowledges his true responsibility to all–knowing that doing otherwise can/will alienate some.

        1. Forumn for Debate is exactly right.

          Unfortunately, Melvin knows NOTHING about debate. Read his posts and plain to see. King fanboy and Apple apologist denigrating and insulting everyone that has a particle of constructive criticism for Apple.

          Good effort with your post you hit all the right notes and tone, refreshing. It will probably fall on deaf ears …

  5. And yet….Apple discriminates against iOS app developers all day long. Determining if it gets on the App Storeo based on whether it’s contrary to Apple’s beliefs or not.
    Hypocrites!
    Timmy Boy is also for open borders and against the travel ban.
    Saying that vetting so-called refugees is racist or what have you yet, all apps are vetted extensively to make sure they are not malicious, causing harm or damaging the user or their devices.
    I bet not just anyone can get into Apple HQ without being checked at the “Border” aka the front door.
    All of this I agree with. Apple should have to right to say what app gets into the App Store.
    Their message should be consistent on its substance and not disregard it for the sake of looking good politically.
    Apple has a monopoly with the App Store but, any gay can go find any number of bakeries that will cater to them. Why insist on the one that puts it at conflict with its beliefs.

  6. Back when Ed Murrow ran CBS News he used to take new Correspondents on their first day to a nearby bar for a drink and then he told each one the same thing:
    “Just because your voice now reaches around the world, you are no smarter than when it only reached the end of this bar.”

    That was his way of saying you are important because of who you represent (the organization) not who you personally are. Tim Cook should realize that he is important because he represents Apple- not because he is Tim Cook.

    I personally support a fair workplace and equity for all- de facto equality is not possible or realistic. I will never be able to play guitar like Mark Knopfler or play golf like Arnold Palmer and no law can make that happen. That is why I say equity- not equality.
    For Millennials who do not know of whom I speak:

    Apple has an interest in laws regarding issues related to our GLBT neighbors and friends, but there is a line past that where it becomes using a company for advocacy beyond the interests of the company and it’s shareholders.

      1. I am an Independent Progressive.

        I see the government as capable of doing good things within limits, but understand the private sector cannot do many things well. I also see a need for reasonable consumer protection to give citizens some protection from predation by large corporations. That divides me from Republicans- we need regulations where the private sector has shown itself inefficient or incapable.

        I have little in common with (American) Liberals nor the highly dysfunctional Democratic Party. I do not think White Men are the fount of all evil and do not support quotas in hiring or access to school. A meritocracy will always let the cream rise to the top. I also oppose the cradle to grave welfare state for people capable of work.

        We are a much bigger tribe than most would think and tend to swing elections.

        1. I think most reasonable Republicans recognize the need for regulations but realize there has got to be a limit at some point. When regulations start to choke an industry then it is time to rethink their need.

      2. No, it is not well said. Some of it gives the appearance of sounding good, but then DavGreg destroys any possible merit by attempting to conflate serious social and equality issues with his inability to play guitar like Mark Knopfler or play golf like Arnold Palmer.

        That is not “equality in the workplace,” DavGreg. Are you too stupid to understand that, or (even worse) do you truly believe that these issues are similar, or (the worst) are you intentionally attempting to craft an argument to promote discrimination (e.g., along the lines of “separate, but equal”)?

        Whether or not Apple should actively engage in this debate is separate from the issues of the debate, itself. You need to separate the two things.

    1. OK not related to the primary topic, but it is cultural so can’t help throwing it in:

      “For Millennials who do not know of whom I speak:”

      I work in a high school with millenials and the comments if I showed this video would most likely be “He’s old, old people can’t do that! or ” It’s not FAAIIR that I should have to practice more than 15 minutes to play like that!”

  7. “Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission is a tinder box of particularly volatile social issues, particularly when it comes to interpreting the religious rights secured by the First Amendment.”

    Volatile, GRANDE!

    This lawsuit pits the LGBT community against a religious community and constitutional freedoms hangs in the balance.

    Hypothetical: What if the religion was a Muslim baker, would Tim do the same?

    Cook is taking the SJW role too far and hopefully the board is paying attention. Apple runs the risk of boycotts from ALL religions.

    Obviously Tim does not understand who owns the company. Why are shareholder voices NOT HEARD or CONSIDERED before joining the brief.

    This is too personal for Tim and dragging the Apple company into a political polarizing fight is never a good thing. Noticed Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Amazon and other tech giants did not stick their necks out.

    I would have the same problem with Cook if the roles were reversed and an LGBT baker refused service to a Southern Baptist and Tim was a Southern Baptist defending his own.

    Apple’s overt politics is something new and the average person never had to consider before Cook. Bring back the old Apple business position NEUTRAL to politics …

    1. It is simply untrue that Apple’s support for LGBT issues is new. They have been conspicuously active on this for decades. It has been integral to the company that Steve Jobs built since long before Tim Cook held a leadership position. Try this in your search engine of preference: “Williamson County Apple” to see an episode that got worldwide attention in 1993.

      1. Interesting case but not applicable here. A private company or even a publically traded company offering health benefits to gay employees is not the same as forcing a baker, with deeply held religious beliefs, to make a wedding cake. In the first case there is not first amendment issue because if you have a religious problem then don’t but an Apple product. In the current case you are asking the court to decide whose rights are paramount? Not an easy decision.

        1. I was close to the debate in 1993. The dispute was precisely about whether the Christian majority of county taxpayers who opposed homosexual partnerships should offer tax incentives to a company that subsidized such partnerships. The opponents argued that their 1st Amendment right to the free exercise of religion would be violated if they were forced to pay taxes that indirectly benefited sinful behavior.

          The County Commisioners were therefore forced, just like the Supreme Court in the baker’s case, to balance the deeply held religious beliefs of individual citizens (including themselves) against the uniform enforcement of a policy with general applicability. Like the Supreme Court in validating the Civil Rights Acts, the Commissioners came down against unrestricted religious liberty.

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