In a short video clip of a June 22, 2018 interview, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdvS2Re21Og) Jim Jeffries confronted Jordan Peterson with the question,
“[Should we] make people bake a cake for a gay wedding?”
Peterson: “Making them do it?”
Peterson: I don’t think that’s a very good idea.
Jeffries: […] the argument should they be able to deny making a cake for a black couple made by white people?
Peterson: Allowed to? Probably. That doesn’t mean it’s right.
Jeffries: Then you have the civil rights movement where they said white people would have to serve them in your restaurant and things like that and it did work and it did make our society better
Jeffries: ...and you argue that still wasn’t right.
Peterson: No, that was right.
Jeffries: Why is that different to now, if you want to make a cake for black people?
Peterson: Maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s not for them. Maybe I was wrong about that.
Jordan Peterson, you totally missed the point. A restaurant legally belongs to a category called “public accommodation.” As such, it is very limited on the criteria it can apply when denying entry to people, e.g. “no shoes, no shirt, no service.” A public accommodation cannot say “no gays” or “no Blacks.”
A bakery on Main Street is, like a restaurant, a public accommodation. It cannot deny access to gays or Blacks, and in fact it cannot decline to sell something from its inventory – say, a cake – to a customer because of their color or sexual orientation.
But that is not to say that an employee of a public accommodation must do anything a customer might ask for. A restaurateur is entirely free to decline to prepare anything that’s not on the menu.
For the same reasons, a baker may decline to decorate a cake with any special requirements, including a design they find offensive.
It’s about offer and acceptance, the essence of contract. An item on a menu is an offer to sell that item for the listed price. If you tell the waiter you want it, they must provide it. (Yes, practical exceptions kick in when they’re out of an item.)
A cake on display with a price tag is an offer. The bakery must sell it to you if you pay the price. But unless there’s a sign saying “We’ll bake a cake with any message for $50,” that offer has not been made.
If I’m wrong about this, then here’s my cake order for Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cake in Denver:
(I removed the image of my swastika cake design. It made the point that no one should be compelled to decorate an object with a swastika or any other image they find objectionable.)
Please have it (cake decorated with a swastika) ready for tomorrow’s gathering.