Muslim and Jewish Bakers Should Be Allowed to Refuse to Bake Wedding Cakes for Each Other, Says Lawmaker

A baker in an Afghan bakery in the south-western suburb of Lakemba, puts bread out of a claypot oven on May 27, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. Cole Bennetts/Getty

An Australian lawmaker has caused controversy after saying that Jewish and Musim bakers should be allowed to deny the sale of wedding cakes to followers of the other faith.

Keith Andrews, a lawmaker for the conservative Liberal party and former minister, is a staunch opponent of same-sex marriage and on Wednesday made the point that bakers should have the right to oppose the sale of their cakes to anyone they like based on their beliefs.

He said at the heart of his point was that the "conscientious, religious belief" of a baker is what should justify their decision-making.

By his logic, Muslim bakers should be allowed to deny Jewish customers a wedding cake because it would be used in another religious ceremony. He said the same would stand for a Jewish baker who wished to deny service to a Muslim customer for their wedding.

Andrews said that a gay baker should be allowed to deny a straight customer a wedding cake, and vice versa. The host of the Sky News show David Speers then asked Andrews if a Jewish baker should be allowed to deny a Muslim customer, to which he replied: "Yep, why not?"

He added: "And vice versa, it has to be consistent."

He clarified that he was only referring to wedding ceremonies and not the general sale of a baked good to a member of another faith.

"We're not talking about if somebody just comes in and says 'David Speers: I want to buy a cake,' of course there shouldn't be any objection to that," Andrews said.

Conservatives in Australia have proposed the idea that bakers should be able to refuse service to a same-sex wedding.

They have warned that Christian bakers who object to same sex marriage may have to provide a cake for a ceremony between two men or two women. As yet, no bakers appear to have come forward to complain about the latest marriage bill and what it could mean for their businesses.

Their assertions were roundly mocked on social media. One user tweeted: "My heart goes out to all the bakers in Australia who will now be forced to make more money because of weddings."

The Bakers Association of Australia was quick to disavow itself from any debate about religion and delightful, baked goods for those of different sexual and religious persuasions. "What baker in their right mind would not bake someone a cake?" it said.