You'll make a cake topper where Batman marries Princess Leia, but this is right out? Yeah, go away.
Apparently the notion presented by Indiana Pastor Tim Overton (Yes, his name is Overton, which is mildly amusing for reasons that only political wonks will understand) is going to be a thing. "Cake is speech
I think most Americans would agree that a pastor like myself should not be compelled by the government to use my speech to support someone else’s perspective. I think that has parallels to the cake maker. The cake maker is using his or her artistic ability to make a cake and that cake communicates something. I think that cake is speech, that says ‘we celebrate this union.’ I just don’t think they should be forced by the government to use their speech to support someone else’s perspective….I would like the line to be drawn in services that involve speech.
This argument has been taken up at least in part by presumptive Republican presidential nominee Jeb Bush. Joan Walsh notes that Bush's attempt at threading whatever needle he's trying to thread is pretty much unworkable, but Jeb for his part seems to draw the line at "do you have to show up."
"I do think if you’re a florist and you don’t want to participate in the arrangement of a wedding, you shouldn’t have to be obliged to do that if it goes against your faith because you believe in traditional marriage. Likewise if someone walked into a flower shop as a gay couple and said I want to buy all these off the rack, these flowers, they should have every right to do it. That would be discrimination. But forcing someone to participate in a wedding is not discrimination; it is I think protecting the first amendment right."
The theory here is presumably that the arrangement
part is the speech that needs protecting. For example, if a Jewish family came into your restaurant you could not
refuse to serve them, but if they asked you to cater their son's bar mitzvah you could tell them to go to hell because they haven't accepted your Lord and Savior. (Just kidding—all of this only applies to the sex stuff. Only
the sex stuff.)
While I think we can be suitably understanding of the notion that artistic expression is indeed speech, there's still the question of commercial artistic expression. If you regularly take instruction to say happy birthday to someone you've never met and might not actually want to wish a happy birthday, or create custom cakes adorned with sorry about the syphilis in big blue letters when you in fact have no particular feelings either way about the syphilis or whether the person paying for the cake is sufficiently sorry, you have already crossed the line in which you are using your art to express things you don't agree with for money. Many true artists do this every day, which is why we have so very many large paintings of 17th and 18th and 19th century nobles in which they are portrayed as far more dashing and less inbred than they really were. If you have a public business in which you sell your commissioned services for money, you're no longer "expressing" yourself artistically, you're "expressing" whatever your clients have asked you to express. That ship has sailed.
So again ... suck it up. Sometimes you have to arrange flowers for money. Life's tough all over.