A bakery that is owned and operated by a lesbian couple in Detroit said it decided to bake a cake requested by a customer who wanted a homophobic message inscribed on the top.
Good Bakes and Cakes said it made the cake but did not include the customer’s requested message, according to the Detroit Free Press. The bakery does not typically write messages on any of its specialty cakes, the paper said.
In a letter the bakery wrote to the customer that it later shared with the paper, owners April and Michelle Anderson said they weren’t sure why the customer requested the message from their bakery but said they offered him “nothing but love” in return.
“We stand against Hate,” the letter read. It identified the customer as David Gordon, who is a writer for Church Militant, a Michigan-based media website. According to Gordon’s Twitter profile, he is also a copyeditor for the website.
The message that Gordon requested Good Bakes and Cakes add to the cake read “Homosexual acts are gravely evil,” and included a reference to Catholic Catechism 2357. “I am ordering this cake to celebrate and have PRIDE in true Christian marriage,” Gordon’s order read, according to the Free Press. Gordon paid for his order when he submitted it online and included a tip, the paper said.
Gordon later called the bakery and said the cake was for an office party, according to a report by Between the Lines. In a statement shared with Newsweek, Church Militant said it was not involved in placing the cake order.
“The incident was an action taken independently of the apostolate by an individual employee; Church Militant had no prior knowledge of it,” Church Militant said in its statement. “The employee has been spoken to and has apologized for unnecessarily involving his fellow workers in a private endeavor.”
The bakery’s resident pastry chef, April Anderson, told the Free Press that she decided to bake the cake due to a concern that Gordon would accuse her of reverse discrimination if she chose not to do so. She placed the bakery’s letter with the cake once it was ready, explaining that the requested message was not included because, “We feel the only ‘grave evil’ is the judgement that good christians, like yourself, impose on folks that don’t meet their vision of what God wants them to be.”
Gordon never picked up the cake, but he later told one of the paper’s reporters on Twitter that he was “denied the services I requested at a place of public accommodation on the basis of the content of my beliefs.”
The bakery said they threw out the cake several days after Gordon’s scheduled pickup time and advised him to place another order if he wanted a new one.
An attorney for the LGBTQ Project of Michigan’s American Civil Liberties Union told the paper that, by baking the cake but sticking to their policy of not writing messages on any specialty cakes, the bakery abided by laws regarding compelled speech.
The bakery thanked its local community members for their support in a Facebook post earlier this week. The bakery included in its post a link to the Between the Lines article.
“We didn’t have any idea of how an order for a cake, with a request for a hateful message, would turn into a show of love and support,” the bakery’s post read. “We pride ourselves on being present for the community, however, we are amazed at the response the community has shown us.”
Updated 8/13 at 4:20 p.m. ET: This article has been updated to include a response from Church Militant.