This column contains spoilers for Division 9, Adventure 14 of Will & Grace.
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Will & Grace has consistently been accepted for its amusing commentary, abnormally on gay rights, and the new division — aback afterwards 11 years — is unapologetically political. The latest episode, however, attempts to acknowledge to high-profile cases of bakeries abnegation to serve same-sex couples but gets the facts all wrong. Indeed, the adventure ends up reinforcing the talking credibility acclimated by opponents of LGBTQ adequation instead.
In the episode,”The Beefcake & the Block Beef,” Karen enters a bakery and, afterwards blank the band of customers, attempts to adjustment a block that says “MAGA” (“Make America Great Again”) that she can booty to a altogether affair for President Trump. The chef (played by Saturday Night Live‘s Vanessa Bayer) refuses. “I won’t accomplish a block for that… person,” the ever affable chef says, acknowledging she altar to what the block says.
When Grace learns from her assistant, Tony, that a bakery is abnegation to serve Karen “because it went adjoin their beliefs,” she is incensed. “It’s aloof like that affair in Colorado with the chef who wouldn’t accomplish the gay bells cake,” she says, apropos to the real-life Supreme Court case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civilian Rights Commission, the aftereffect of which is still pending.
When Tony explains it was a MAGA cake, Grace changes her tune, bidding Tony to crowd her furhter.
“It’s air-conditioned for a bakery to debris to accomplish a MAGA cake, but not a gay cake?” Tony asks. Grace insists they’re absolutely different, but admits she doesn’t apperceive why. “How can you accuse about your chargeless accent if you’re not activity to avert addition else’s?” he persists. “If Mrs. Walker can get angry away, anyone can get angry away.”
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Grace eventually active to the bakery to avert Karen. “Even bodies with abhorrent behavior accept rights,” Grace tells the baker. “Refusing her is the aforementioned as abnegation marginalized bodies like an interracial brace or a gay couple.”
A Latina woman, a man with a disability, and a transgender man all advance to accost Grace for arresting Trump, but she stands by her position. Back the chef still refuses, Grace threatens, “You apperceive that I can alarm the ACLU on you, right? I mean, they’ll represent anyone — Westboro Baptist, Illinois Nazis,” Karen interjects, “Fine bodies on both sides!”
The blackmail auspiciously intimidates the chef into complying.
A few added comedic antics ensue, including a block that says “IMAGAY,” but the adventure ends with the chef still authoritative cakes she altar to, including one with a swastika for a Richard Spencer-stand in (who is additionally accessory Karen’s affair for Trump).
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The absolute activity adaptation of this debate, however, is abundant added nuanced and complex. In Masterpiece Cakeshop, Colorado chef Jack Phillips (owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop) argues that he should accept the adapted to debris to advertise a bells block to a same-sex brace in abuse of accompaniment nondiscrimination laws. The Court heard articulate arguments in the case aback in December, and it seems that — like Grace — Justice Anthony Kennedy, the acceptable beat vote, is affectionate to anti-gay bigots and ability alike see them as the victims.
The facts of this real-life case absolutely explain why the fictional Will & Grace chef is not an adapted alongside to Masterpiece Cakeshop.
In 2014, Marjorie Silva, buyer of Azucar Bakery in Denver, was asked to accomplish cakes with letters like “Homosexuality is a abhorred sin” or an angel of two grooms captivation easily with a red X over them. Back she refused, the chump — who attempted this at several added bounded bakeries — filed a complaint arguing that she discriminated adjoin him on the base of his religious identity. The Commission disqualified in Silva’s favor, absolute that her accommodation was based not on the customer’s creed, but on the cake’s “derogatory accent and imagery.”
The standard, then, is not whether a bakery would accomplish any block for any customer. What affairs is whether a bakery will accomplish the aforementioned block for altered customers. Silva, who enjoys abandon of accent protections, doesn’t advertise cakes with abominable accent to anyone. The chump ability accept had a case if Silva was accommodating to advertise an anti-gay block to a Jewish being but aloof not to him as a Christian person. But she refuses to accomplish such cakes for any customer. Anti-gay cakes are not on the menu.
Phillips’ abnegation is different. In Masterpiece Cakeshop, bells cakes were on the card back Charlie Craig and David Mullins entered the abundance attractive to buy one for their charge ceremony. Phillips banned to advertise them a block afore any altercation on the ability of the block could be discussed. The Commission’s analysis begin that Phillips would article to affairs a same-sex brace the actual aforementioned bells block designs he’d ahead awash to different-sex couples. It disqualified adjoin him, because Colorado law does not acquiesce barter to be advised abnormally because of their animal orientation.
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Those who abutment Phillips and accept he should be accustomed to discriminate accomplish the exact aforementioned arguments as the Will & Grace episode. They adduce the Commission’s cardinal for Silva and cardinal adjoin Phillips as affidavit that there’s a bifold accepted adjoin conservatives. They additionally altercate that if he’s affected to advertise bells cakes to same-sex couples, again Black bakers will accept to advertise KKK cakes or Jewish bakers will accept to accomplish swastika cakes — aloof like in the episode. As the ACLU has argued on account of Craig and Mullins, this conflates the “who” and the “what.”
Ria Tabacco Mar, agents advocate with the ACLU LGBT & HIV Project, told ThinkProgress, “Will & Grace got the amusement adapted but the law wrong. Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act isn’t the All-Cakes Act, and neither are agnate laws in added states. Businesses are chargeless to adjudge what articles to advertise to all their customers, so no abundance has to action anyone a block that says ‘MAGA’ if it doesn’t appetite to.” In added words, Grace’s blackmail to alarm in the ACLU was hollow.
“Once a business chooses to action a accurate acceptable for sale, however, it can’t debris to advertise that artefact to a chump because she is Black, or gay, or Christian,” Mar added. “That’s discrimination. And that’s absolutely what happened to ACLU audience Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig, who were banned a bells block — a block the bakery would accept awash to anyone abroad — artlessly because they are gay.”
One added important blemish in the adventure is the actuality that nondiscrimination laws do not assure bodies on the base of their political beliefs. Alike in Washington, D.C., area the nondiscrimination law prohibits bigotry on the base of “political affiliation,” this still alone refers to accord in a specific political affair (e.g. Republicans, Democrats, etc.), not claimed ideology. The irony of the Will & Grace framing is that all of the individuals who advise Grace for arresting Karen advertence identities that are adequate beneath New York City nondiscrimination law (race, ethnicity, nation of origin, disability, and gender identity). Karen, as a Trump supporter, is not.
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It’s cryptic absolutely what message Will & Grace was aggravating to back with the episode, but it bootless to appropriately anatomy the accepted civilian rights attempt faced by the LGBTQ community. Indeed, by suggesting that bakers should be afraid into actionable their own abandon of speech, it may accept done added abuse than good.
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