The Case of the Exploding Wedding Cake

A Michigan TV station is reporting that a local cake decorator is taking some heat after she backed out of a deal to decorate a cake for what she later discovered was a gay wedding.

A recent status update by Bake It U.P. Cakes explains that the business denied services to a same-sex couple after it was commissioned to decorate a cake for an upcoming wedding. The decorator was unaware it was for a same-sex couple, and as soon as she found out, the business backed out of the transaction. The post states, “This has nothing to do with the person, or the lifestyle they choose. This is about me not participating in the event… I have nothing against this person for their choice in lifestyle. If this person had come to me for any other occasion and needed a cake I would have gladly made one for him.”

Public response was immediate and negative.

According to the report, people are flocking to give the business one-star ratings and negative reviews. But not all of the reviews are negative.

Although now in the minority, the page has also been receiving support for the decision with several new five-star reviews. “The owner said she had no problem with the people, she just did not want to be involved in the act on a moral objection,” said Chris Kuzak in a recent five star public review. “That’s very different from ‘discriminating against gays.’ What if a religious extremist walked in to radio shack and asked for parts to build a bomb? If the clerk refused would that be discrimination?”

Ah, yes, a very tricky, very subtle, very delicate moral enigma. Let’s see if we can unravel this just a bit. Terrorist bombs explode, and maim or kill innocent people. Gay weddings don’t.

Understand the difference now?

What I find fascinating about all this is the pains that bigots take to deny that they are treating gays any differently when they treat gays differently. “I have nothing against this person or their choice of lifestyle,” says the decorator (which is pretty bigoted in and of itself). But in fact she’s simply lying, as shown by her actions. She has this against them: she feels that their marriage is so horrible that she cannot “participate” in it, even to the point of just putting some icing on the wedding cake. That’s what she really believes, but she knows how bigoted that kind of narrow-mindedness is, so she tries to say it’s not what she believes. And fails.

Likewise the guy who tries to claim that denying service to gays is no different than denying bomb parts to terrorists. “That’s not discriminating against gays,” he says, while comparing gay marriage to terrorist attacks. Yeah, totally informed and unbiased opinion there guy.

To be fair, though, I think the critics may be going too far too.

After the recent controversial status update, the small business has been flooded with poor reviews and a lot of criticism from Upper Peninsula residents. Many Facebook users commenting on the page haven’t even tried Bake It U.P. Cakes as a customer, but felt the urge to chime in on the debate over a business’ right to refuse services based on moral conviction.

If they’re criticizing the business practice as reported, then that’s fair, but if they’re giving it one-star ratings without ever having used the service, I think that’s misleading. This lady may in fact be a perfectly capable cake decorator, and manipulating the rating system to try and sabotage her business smacks of the heckler’s veto. This is not like LambdaConf, where an organization claims to promote diversity while inviting speakers who are actively working against it. This is strictly a private business making private business decisions. We should be very clear that we are attacking the bigotry of Bake It U.P. Cakes’ business practices, and not the quality of their product.


  1. sonofrojblake says

    This is strictly a private business making private business decisions

    If someone wants to run a “strictly private business” and make “private business decisions”, they’re at liberty to do that. One of the advantages of such a business would be that it would not be possible to sabotage it in this way. This is not that, though.

    This is a public business. She advertises to the public, solicits business from the public, and is therefore obligated to serve that public without discrimination. This really isn’t a complicated concept.

    • Deacon Duncan says

      You’re right, and I failed to make that as clear as I should have. I definitely do believe that businesses that practice illegal discrimination ought to be prosecuted and fined through due process of the law, and I also believe that when they practice prejudice and discrimination they deserve negative publicity for doing so. My only quibble is that I do not support the use of deception and dirty tricks to take revenge on bigots.

      • jh says

        I hope that the state rescinds this woman’s business license. She can continue making cakes… she just can’t sell them.

      • Deacon Duncan says

        She’d be entitled to due process, of course, but if that were the outcome, it would only be fair. Those who work to create divisions in society are working to destroy society. They do not deserve the benefits that come from being a member of the society they are working to undermine by creating unequal classes of citizens.

      • Deacon Duncan says

        Or, of course, she could repent and begin treating all her customers equally, as both law and good morals require. That would be the preferable outcome I think.

  2. sonofrojblake says

    I do not support the use of deception and dirty tricks to take revenge on bigots

    I’m torn on this. On the one hand, it smacks unpleasantly of mob justice, no doubt. On the other – hey, karma’s a bugger. And merely leaving a one-star review is hardly a “dirty trick” – it’s pretty much the epitome of free speech. This sort of thing has been going on for years. Sarah Duncan, the owner of a knitwear shop in Bath, UK, became notorious after a video of her inconsiderate parking and ludicrous reaction to being recorded doing it went viral… that was four years ago. Reviews of her shop online became something of a comedy sport. How much credence people give such reviews is their own affair, but it’s arguable that if people become aware that a business owner is a horrible person and choose to shop elsewhere as a result, that’s fine.

    I’ve so far not heard of a case where someone has been publicly vilified in this manner when they’ve done nothing to deserve it. Every single time it’s been people who’ve stuck their neck out. Counter-examples gratefully received…

    • Holms says

      If the only thing justifying it is the belief that you are trashing the business owner for the greater good, you need to bear in mind that anyone can have that belief. All it takes is for a business owner to be openly atheist, or openly gay or openly [etc. etc.] in a conservative area, and the same tactic could be put to use in service of bigotry.

      Therefore, if there is an element of dishonesty… don’t do it, or accept that the other team can use it with exactly the same legitimacy.

      • sonofrojblake says

        don’t do it, or accept that the other team can use it with exactly the same legitimacy.

        Ultimately, that’s free speech and a free market. And if bigots want to spread the word that my business is inclusive and tolerant, and that means bigots don’t patronise my business… I’m probably fine with that, assuming enough of my SJW friends buy my cakes/grommets/whatever to make up the shortfall. I can think of worse systems.

  3. Vicki says

    The question is, do those one-star reviews say “Don’t hire this person, if she decides you’re marrying the wrong person you’ll be stuck looking for a replacement baker at the last minute” or do they claim that the cakes are ugly or taste bad? That someone will accept a commission and then back out is exactly the kind of thing I would want to know: maybe next month she’ll decide she doesn’t want to bake a cake for a non-Christian or interracial wedding.

    As a side note, while the “lifestyle [this couple] chose” is to be married, I doubt the decorator who said she would make them one for “any other occasion” would be willing to supply a cake for an orgy or even a divorce celebration.

    • Deacon Duncan says

      And of course, if somebody wanted a wedding cake for a couple that was getting re-married, to someone other than their original spouses, she’d take the job no questions asked. And who cares what the Bible says about divorce and re-marriage, eh?

  4. thebookofdave says

    If this person had come to me for any other occasion and needed a cake I would have gladly made one for him.

    I hope she remembers her statement when she’s asked to bake a set piece for a Pride float, or cater a coming-out celebration.

  5. lorn says

    Well … with all due respect … a gay wedding might explode. Explode in happiness and send waves of gay laughter into the community.

    The Christians might be concerned that his might serve to advance the cause of gayness and condemn the participants, and any bystander’s, souls into eternal damnation. So … to them, a bomb might be seen as somewhat less destructive because it destroys bodies but leaves souls untouched.

    Of course, if you of a sort that believes in fairy tales, and souls. and you find yourself with soul with a mess stain on it you can go down to the car wash for souls, confess your sins, and Jesus will detail your soul and make it shine again … good as new.

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