We've talked several times here on W4 (though I don't want to take the time to look up the links) about possible responses that conscientious bakers, florists, and photographers could make to the Rainbow Mafia. I've generally recommended ceasing to offer special services for weddings altogether, while recognizing that this will amount to a significant drain on a business.
Enter Colorado baker Jack Phillips, who has done exactly that. Despite the fact that rulings against Phillips are usually headlined in some way such as, "Court Rules that Baker Must Make Cakes for Gay Weddings," it appears from details in various stories that Phillips has been able to avoid further charges while the case wends its way through court by ceasing to make wedding cakes altogether. But that's cold comfort to Phillips, who has lost about 40% of his business because of his decision not to make wedding cakes at all.
I also have not been able to get hold of the original court order to determine if, in fact, it allows (!) Phillips to avoid future discrimination charges if he stops making wedding cakes altogether. That he has stopped for the duration of the case is some evidence to that effect, but a sufficient number of reports state that the order required him actually to make cakes for homosexual "weddings" that I don't want to be dogmatic about it. If anyone can get clearer and more decisive information on the subject, feel free to post it. I may try to make contact with the ADF, which is representing Phillips, for clarification.
And there's more: If Phillips loses his court case, he will be required to document that he has "educated" his employees (who appear to be mostly family members) "comprehensively" (whatever "comprehensively" means) about Colorado's anti-discrimination law. Even more onerous is the requirement to turn in regular compliance reports to the state and to report for a period of two years on orders he refuses and the reasons for the refusal. Those requirements will presumably remain in place even if he can avoid further discrimination charges by continuing to give up the 40% of his business that previously came in from baking wedding cakes.
What this means is that if giving up wedding business is a "way out" at all for the florist, the baker, and the candlestick maker, it won't help you to avoid harassment unless you preemptively give up your wedding business before somebody files a complaint. If that first complaint comes down the pike, and you don't bend, then the state will find a way to make you rue the day you "discriminated." And that's not to mention all the death threats and other nastiness from the tolerant left that Phillips has had to endure. (To be fair, Phillips says he's gotten calls from people self-identifying as homosexual who say that they support him and are concerned that this behavior is making them look like terrorists. No kidding. Maybe y'all should have thought of that before you compared all social conservatives to vile racists and supported anti-discrimination laws.)
Side point: Has anyone else noticed how ho-hum death threats have become in the Internet age? Anti-jihad writers like Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer get them all the time. David Wood of Answering Muslims gets them constantly. An ordinary guy like Jack Phillips, who apparently never set out to be a pundit or public figure of any kind, gets them. And when was the last time you heard of anyone getting arrested for making death threats against a conservative author or figure in the news? I certainly can't remember a time. It used to be that the police investigated death threats, which are in fact a crime. Now, I get the feeling that the system is overwhelmed. Death threats are so numerous that there is no time or manpower to investigate even a tithe of the most horrendous and vicious ones. This is a depressing thought, but I'm not sure what can be done about it.
In any event, the main point is just this: The activists are trying very hard to make a no-loophole world for moral traditionalists. In fact, it's not clear that getting out of the wedding cake business really constitutes a loophole. After all, what this means is that the set of ways in which Christians and other traditionalists can make a productive living is continually shrinking. What we are looking at is institutionalized dhimmitude, and if one can find a way not to be actually forced to celebrate sodomy, that is a rather somber victory if it comes at the cost of being forced into poverty and dependence when one was previously an entrepreneur and contributor to the community.
It is at least worth knowing that, if one plans to take that route in one of these business areas, one should consider doing it preemptively. If one is sued, one will end up having to take that route in the end, and on top of that one may end up having to send one's employees through "comprehensive reeducation" and file paperwork for years. Finding a different business model ahead of time may well be a more prudent route than simply crossing one's fingers and hoping to fly under the radar and avoid (forever) that nuclear-force first discrimination complaint.