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  • Judge Jim Gray

Baking the Cake: It's Not Really a Hard Decision

Question regarding governmental compulsion vs. freedom: Shall someone like a baker be compelled by government to create a wedding cake to be used at a gay wedding when the baker’s core values disagree with the concept of gay marriage? Of course life is complicated, but the answer to that issue is straight-forward. If the baker with those values is asked to create such a cake, the answer is no. (Of course, the gay couple will still be able to find another baker who does not share those values who can create the same thing.) But if a wedding cake is already “on the shelf,” then it would be a civil rights violation for the baker not to sell it to any customer who desires it and has the money to pay for it. So this should really not be a hard decision for the courts or anyone else.

This approach also has the benefits of being fairly easy to comprehend and to enforce. For the government to force a baker or anyone else to act in violation of their principles in creating any product is an undue intrusion into people’s private lives and beliefs. But, if the cake or other products have already been created and offered for sale, it would violate all of our principles for the baker/merchant to deprive anyone of the opportunity to purchase them This article is a reprint of an original post published on Judge Jim Gray's site. The views expressed in it are those of the author and not necessarily the views of the Libertarian Party of Orange County.

James P. Gray is a retired judge of the Orange County Superior Court, and presently works as a private mediator and arbitrator for ADR Services, Inc. He was also the 2012 vice presidential nominee for the Libertarian Party, and can be contacted at, or through his website at

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