First Seminar of the 2018-2019 season
Wednesday, 10/3/2018, 3-4:30 PM
Hilton Head Library
New Board Members, Bill Byrne, Betsy Doughtie, Dr. Gordon Haist and Dave
Mortimer were introduced to our attendees.
TOPIC: Varied Ethical Factors Involved in the Case of a Bakery Refusing to
Bake a Wedding Cake for a Gay Couple.
Ingersoll Rand. He was a director of the National Foreign Trade Council. and
retired in 2008, living part time on HHI, where he has often presented at Lifelong
The Masterpiece Cake case raises the issue of when an individual’s
religious beliefs permit the person to discriminate against another individual
because of sexual identity. This grows out of the Supreme Court decision
legalizing gay marriage in all states regardless of prior state laws and makes
same sex marriage a constitutional right equivalent to religious freedom. What is
the right way to resolve this clash of values?
All three elements together conflict each other. Let us look at the definitions of ethics, morals, and law. Ethics involves the moral principles that govern a person's behavior or the conducting of an activity. Morals are concerned with the principles of right and wrong behavior and the goodness or badness of human character. Law is the system of rules that a particular country or community recognizes as regulating the actions of its members and may enforce by the imposition of penalties.
The Cake case dealt with the following issues:
Businesses cannot discriminate when store is open to the public. The displayed cakes were not made specifically for a gay marriage. The baker’s religion did not allow for gay marriage. There were basic issues of free speech and free religion. (This issue is not finished). Justice Roberts deferred the majority position to Justice Kennedy, possibly knowing that Kennedy was planning to leave. The decision was very narrow. In Supreme Court rulings, it is always stronger to have a 9-0, rather than a 5-4 vote on an issue.
How to draw these lines—State religious laws must be respected, eg. Sunday
“blue laws”; employers refusing to pay health benefits for birth control.
This was a most intimate, educational and enlightening presentation and
discussion. Our thanks to Gerry Swimmer for his outstanding and interpersonal
presentation to our HHI Ethics members. Thanks also to Neil Funnell for