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Black-ish Draws Right-Wing Ire for Attacking Antigay Bakers

Black-ish Draws Right-Wing Ire for Attacking Antigay Bakers

Blackish

The ABC comedy series took a stand against anti-LGBT discrimination, angering some "religious freedom" proponents.

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Black-ish does not endorse antigay bakers.

The ABC comedy show, which centers on an African-American family, devoted a segment to the hot-button issue of discrimination against LGBT customers in its Wednesday episode.

In the scene, Dre (Anthony Anderson) and Bow (Tracee Ellis Ross) Johnson visit a bakery to purchase a "gender reveal" cake for an expectant child. The couple fumbles with the wording -- Dre calls it a "sex cake" initially, which sparked this remark from an employee.

"We can bake any kind of cake you want. Oh! Just as long as it's not for a gay wedding."

The statement leads the disturbed Johnsons to take their business elsewhere. At a new bakery, Dre pointedly asks, "You don't discriminate against people based on race, gender, or sexual orientation, do you?" To which the new baker replies, "Do not like French-Canadians."

NewsBusters -- a website launched by the Media Research Center, a conservative media watchdog -- criticized Black-ish for its stance, seeing it as an attack on so-called religious freedom, which liberal activists know to be in reality a license to discriminate against LGBT people.

"Hmmm, so apparently it's ok to discriminate against people for who they are (French-Canadian) but not what they choose to do (go against the biblical form of marriage)," wrote NewsBusters' Lindsay Kornick, who defined Black-ish as a series that "likes to focus on black issues as if it has authority to speak for every single black person in America."

"I wonder if it surprises some liberals to know that rogue Christian bakers aren't just lurking around dark alleys to not sell cakes to gay couples (the horror!), they just want to make a living without the government forcing them to violate their religious beliefs under penalty of lengthy and expensive lawsuits or hefty fines," Kornick continued.

In the real world, bakeries like Sweet Cakes by Melissa, which denied services to a lesbian couple, have ignited a nationwide storm of controversy and litigation over this issue. The owners in this example, Aaron and Melissa Klein, were fined $135,000 by the Oregon Bureau of Labor for violating the state's 2007 Equality Act. They eventually shuttered the store, but not before receiving a wave of donations from the religious right.

This type of "religious freedom" has gained political momentum in some red-leaning states -- but not without backlash. Vice President Mike Pence, when he was governor of Indiana, signed a "license to discriminate" into law in 2015, but it had to be amended after public outcry and business boycotts. Last July, a similiar law in Mississippi was struck down by a U.S. district judge, who found it in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

The debate resurfaced last week, when a draft of a presidential executive order on religious freedom, which included anti-LGBT language, circulated in the media; it was first obtained by The Nation. It would allow U.S. businesses, nonprofits, and even government employees to discriminate, without repercussions, against anyone who offends certain religious beliefs. The beliefs include opposition to same-sex marriage, any sex outside marriage, transgender identity, and abortion. President Trump has yet to sign the order, and administration officials have refused to confirm it's under consideration.

Watch the clip from Black-ish below.

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Daniel Reynolds

Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.
Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.