CakeGate: Bakery Found Guilty for Gay Discrimination

Not a piece of cake

CakeGate: Bakery Found Guilty for Gay Discrimination


Big news in Belfast, Ireland today. The bakery that refused to make the Bert and Ernie "Support Gay Marriage" cake for gay rights activist Gareth Lee has been found guilty of "unlawful discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation."

Even though Lee's order (and payment) were initially accepted by Ashers, the bakery owned by the McArthur family later refused the order on the basis that it went against its religious beliefs.

"This is direct discrimination for which there is no justification," said the presiding judge, Isobel Brownlie. "As much as I acknowledge their religious beliefs this is a business to provide service to all. The law says they must do that." Fulfilling a business obligation is not tantamount to endorsing or supporting the product.

Mr Lee will be awarded damages of £500 ($950), which he plans to donate to charity.

The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, acting on behalf of Mr Lee, won the precedent-making case, yet it is not all cut and dry. The family plans to appeal, hoping for an exception clause that would allow businesses to decline certain jobs as a matter of conscience.

"... in a deeply disturbing development, businesses will now be compelled to produce materials or messages, even if they are incompatible with their owners’ deeply and reasonably held beliefs," said DUP Lagan Valley MLA Paul Givan. “Such levels of state control are surely contrary to the freedoms and liberties that we should seek to uphold out of respect for the worth of every person and for the common good of society."

Business is business. As such, the expectation that it will serve any and all customers. Though to most of us it seems perfectly reasonable to expect equality for same-sex couples, I wonder what would happen if a customer wanted Satanic material on the cake or something vaguely pornographic or misogynistic... 

Are there express guidelines when it comes to a company's right to refuse material it finds objectionable? Should there be? 
Is it possible to hate the product while still respecting the consumer? Though I don't dispute this particular case, businesses certainly have rights, too.

This ruling will no doubt fuel the same-sex marriage debate in Ireland, even as supporters rally to have it legalized after four prior rejections. Ashers has no plans to close its business.
You tell me: What do you think of this verdict?

Brace Yourself: It's Raining Spiders in Australia

A Plague of Arachnids

Brace Yourself: It's Raining Spiders in Australia


Australia is a beautiful land. There are cuddly koala bears and gorgeous beaches populated with gorgeous surfers. And yet Australia is also home to a long list of creatures that can kill you. From salt water crocs to Great Whites to spiders... and now a plague of spiders has descended on the town of Goulburn, making the movie Arachnophobia look like child's play.

The freak incident saw the entire town covered in silky spider webs, as spiders "rained" down from above.

“Anyone else experiencing … millions of spiders falling from the sky right now?” wrote resident Ian Watson on a community website after his house was shrouded in webs. “I’m 10 minutes out of town and you can clearly see hundreds of little spiders floating along with their webs and my home is covered in them. Someone call a scientist!” Fumigator, more like. 
Apparently it's not the first time or place that the weird and downright terrifying phenomenon has taken place. Reports have also come in from another Aussie town, Wagga Wagga, as well as Texas and Brazil. 

Of course the fact that science has a clear explanation for "spider rain" hasn't got me hurrying to hop on the first plane to Sydney.
Apparently, for the curious, arachnids migrate using a "ballooning" technique that involves using webs to parachute on the breeze to a new territory. Typically the webs evaporate before we even see them, so says Rick Vetter, an entomologist at the University of California Riverside.

Ballooning is the reason we have spiders in every single continent. Yay.

On some level, I'm willing to concede that the webs look quite beautiful; mystical even. And the tiny, rational part of my brain is reminding me that I didn't see a single solitary spider the entire two-and-a-bit weeks I spent in Australia eight years ago.
Still, the larger, more dominant part of my brain is telling me to hide my face in a pillow and SCREAM. Anyone else? On the count of three... 

Image Source: WikiCommons

Woman Makes This Terrifying Discovery on Supermarket Fruit


Engaged Couple Gets Sneak Peek of Old Age

What will you look like at 50, 70, 90...

Engaged Couple Gets Sneak Peek of Old Age


Ever wonder what you or your significant other will look like 20 or even 40 years from now? Well, one couple, set to marry in a month, got an opportunity to get up close and personal with their future selves in this touching video by Field Day.

In "100 Years of Beauty: Aging," Kristie and Tavis put themselves in the eerily capable hands of makeup artists who transformed the pair into their older versions of themselves through various decades.

So many internet experiments feel gimmicky. And what saves this one from a similar fate is the couple themselves and the tender way they react to each other at every stage.

Tavis tells 50 year-old Kristie, "I hope you look like this." Often the footage is playful, with the pair imagining themselves sitting on the PTA and raising teenagers. And Kristie gets a good giggle at 70 year-old Tavis's unruly eyebrows.

But progressively, with more years added on their faces, the experiment takes on an emotional edge, as the couple wonders what they might have gone through together over the course of their years together.

The final frame is a powerful look at what it means to share your life with the same person. Kristie describes the "comfort" that comes from seeing Tavis as an old man, at the very start of their lives together.

"I couldn't be more sure that this is what I want."

Hubby and I - 16 years in - still find it amazing to look at our early photos together (yes, held in actual albums). Back then our skin seemed to glow. There were no wrinkles, no greys. But our smiles are the one constant, the one thing that stays the same... 

I think all couples should probably undergo this sort of makeover before they say "I do." Saying vows while in 90-year-old makeup would certainly makes the long-haul commitment seem more real. 

You tell me: Care to steal a glimpse of your older self, or would you rather not know what the future holds?

Some Other Things They Don't Tell You About Aging