Monday, November 14, 2011

Cake Maker Refuses to Make Cake for Lesbian Brides

I read earlier today about a lesbian couple named Trina Vodraska and Janelle Sievers over in Des Moines, IA, who sought to purchase a wedding cake from Victoria Childress at Victoria's Cake Cottage and ultimately got turned away because the cake-maker thinks that same-sex weddings violate her Christian beliefs:
Childress said it's her right to refuse to do the cake. "I didn't do the cake because of my convictions for their lifestyle. It is my right as a business owner. It is my right, and it's not to discriminate against them. It's not so much to do with them, it's to do with me and my walk with God and what I will answer (to) him for," Childress said...

"They thanked me for being honest with them, and they were very pleasant. I did not belittle them, speak rudely to them. There were no condescending remarks made, nothing," Childress said.
Looking at Childress' website, there is no mention of religious litmus tests for customers.  I am also willing to bet that she has never turned away other wedding parties who practiced different religions (or no religion)... assuming that those wedding parties are heterosexual.    I also strongly believe that Childress is splitting hairs when she asserts her right as a business owner to discriminate against certain customers, but that she's not really discriminating against those customers.  I mean, if you're going to stand on your soap-box, then stand proudly on your soap-box.

Personally, I would be very pleased if I were the blushing brides in this story.  They learned pretty quickly that one of their potential wedding vendors didn't have their back.  They could have wasted a lot of time and money on a baker whose religious journey marches against their nuptials.  There are some really great bakers and cake companies out there who would love to support their wedding.  Now they have the opportunity to find one of those great gay-friendly cake-bakers.

The marketplace goes both way.  Business owners, in most cases, do indeed have the ability to decide whether or not they want to work with someone.  But customers also maintain the right to shop around and financially support businesses the reflect their own values and interests.  These lesbians really dodged a bullet.  They could've gotten stuck with a potentially-problematic cake-maker.  Instead, they have the opportunity to find a really spectacular cake-maker.


Best Cakes Boston said...

The very least is you are honest and that makes you a good businesswoman.

Jon said...

I (briefly) joined a discussion about this blog article over at CafeMom ( I joined following several comments that questioned why I bothered to write about this non-story. 1. It's not a non-story to the women involved and 2. It interests me as a married gay dad from Iowa. I responded to a few additional responses until I got bounced from the site for being too XY-ty.

I want to add a couple thoughts. Contrary to others' assertions, I actually support this cake-maker's right to refuse business. I also support the abilty of these women and others like them to find and support other vendors who actually want to work for them. However, just because this vendor has the right to turn away doesn't mean I and others don't have the right to comment about it.

Lastly, I was told that I was condescending in this article. Maybe I was. I agree that I shouldn't have called this business owner a crappy cake-maker. I edited the post to put in something a bit less inflamatory. I was told that the rest was pretty bad, too. But I disagree and will continue to stand by it.

Jon said...

Thinking this over some more, it seems like most people are really fixated on the business owner's right to decline services. My focus here is on empowering customers and reminding them that they too have the right and the freedom to find vendors who have their backs.

Anonymous said...

It's sad that any people think it's okay to behave the way this cake person did. Discrimination isn't okay and it's not choice that is allowed. If she refused a black couple because ,her religion says, black people are bad then everyone would get it. I am glad you some people understand why this is troubling and I am super happy that the State "gets it" . Situations like this one will hopefully help to push things forward so that when my youngest are grown maybe they won't have to deal with these ridiculous prejudices.
(from the women that posted in the other forum)
and Thank You Jon for writing about this couple and their experience attempting to simpy buy a cake.

Jon said...

Is this Tatum2U? Thanks for commenting and for spreading the conversation to your own corner of the Internet -- even if I'm not welcome to join in over there... :(

Truthfully, I do believe that it worked out for the best for these women to not work with that woman. They'll be happier in the long run. But I think that the conversation is a good one to have. :)

Anonymous said...

It's me =) I missed your comments over there because the CM "gods" deleted them all (so sad) I agree that the couple are most likely better off without this women involved .
I still hate that anyone would go through that conversation with business owner.

Also , encase they tossed you from the site before you got my message I wanted to say that I think your cake was gorgeous!!!!
Happy Blogging!!

Jon said...

Re: the cake. Aw shucks.... :)

It would've been nice if the CafeMom moderators could've at least left my explanations there even if I couldn't stay on those boards, but I guess it's their playground and they get to make the rules.

tatum2u - Kim said...

I hate that they deleted everything. I had left and come back so I missed all of it . I'm sure I can read it in cache soon enough though =)

Thanks again for coming over and giving your side.

Anonymous said...

Apparently those of you who do not support this lady do not have strong Christian beliefs. I on the other hand do. She was very courteous and honest. It was very obvious that the two ladies practice homosexuality and the bible speaks against that life style and calls it sin. We do not hate those who choose to live that way but we hate the sin that they or anyone else who sins against the word of God. He is the one we will all have to answer to - those who believe and those who are not believers.

Jon said...

Anonymous: I really don't support Childress. But I support her right to decline employment.

That said, she really needs to update her website. I just checked it again on this date. It does not indicate that she refuses to work with people who do not practice her own faith. For all I know, she is unwittingly being employed by people of other faiths, which is a violation of the 10 Commandments.

The women who attempted to hire her for their wedding didn't seek her out to validate their marriage. They just wanted a cake. She turned away a sale, but got lots of free publicity and she got to preach against the brides in this situation.

I'm just glad the brides in this situation got to seek out a cake-maker who actually wants their business.

Thanks for commenting.