I’m not sure The Independent got it right here. It’s one thing to force a governmental or corporate entity into complying with equal rights legislation, it’s a bit different forcing a mom and pop operation to tuck away their prejudices, grit their teeth and do what makes them seethe.
Yes, the bakers were unquestionably discriminating against a gay couple. I discriminate against bigots and wouldn’t give them them the time of day. Let alone a cake. At bottom, as individuals, if we do not have the right to discriminate against those who do not share our values, to chose who we associate with, buy from or sell to, we become prisoners of the state imposing those values.
Suppose I were a gay cafe owner, and a bunch of obnoxious Christians wanted to come in and badmouth gays while ordering coffee. Should I not be within my rights to kick their sorry arses out?
I think we are dealing with a matter of scale. Large scale discrimination is bad, small scale is regrettable, but if you bring down the majesty of the law against it, it restricts our individual freedoms.