Lesbian baker shocks homophobic customer by delivering service with a smile

An openly queer baker who co-owns a bakery with her wife has detailed her experience of handling a challenging cake order from a homophobic customer.

Queer baker, Anderson, smiling and wearing a shirt with a rainbow cake
Image: Mandi Wright, Detroit Free Press

A Detroit based lesbian baker has opened up about her experience of handling a vile homophobic cake order from a customer. 

When openly lesbian baker, April Anderson, received a cake order requesting a vile homophobic message as decoration, she was left in shock and uncertain how to proceed in fear of a lawsuit. Anderson co-owns the Good Cakes and Bakes bakery in Detroit’s Avenue of Fashion commercial corridor with her wife and business partner, Michella. 

Speaking with Detroit Free Press, Anderson shared, “We are so used to being Black lesbian women. You are used to people discriminating against you and saying mean things to you.”

On July 19, an online order came in for one of the bakery’s red velvet dessert cakes, which is Anderson’s speciality. The request was labelled with ‘Pride’, leading her to believe it was meant for June. 

However, upon reading the customer’s request, Anderson was left stunned. The order stated, “I am ordering this cake to celebrate and have PRIDE in true Christian marriage. I’d like you to write on the cake, in icing, ‘Homosexual acts are gravely evil. (Catholic Catechism 2357).'”

Anderson further expressed, “Why would somebody order this from us? They know our bakery. It’s not like it’s a secret. It says it on our ‘about’ page and social media pages and it’s very clear that this bakery is owned by two lesbian women.”

Reaching out to her wife, Michella, and their friend, Eli Majid, owner of Eli’s Tea Bar in Birmingham, they managed to identify the customer as David Gordon, who works for Church Militant, a Ferndale-based Catholic fringe group.

In response to Free Press questioning him, he said, “I was denied the services I requested at a place of public accommodation on the basis of the content of my beliefs —  this is gleefully acknowledged by the owners of the bakery in the relevant Pridesource article.

“Imagine the umbrage if a homosexual couple arrived at their ‘wedding’ reception to find a Christian baker had made them a ‘straight’ cake. This is about fairness, not ideology.”

Though it appears Gordon believed the bakery denied his request, Anderson actually went ahead with baking the cake while omitting the message, acting in accordance with the bakery’s long-standing policy, which stipulates on their website that written messages are not permitted on speciality dessert cakes ordered online.

Majid stated, “That hatefulness is not a coincidence. They were trying to get her not to make the cake and she caught them on her bluff.”

Following the requested order, Gordon rang the bakery inquiring about the cake and was told it would be ready by the weekend. Anderson described his reaction as “shocked”. 

Anderson and Michella also included a letter in the cake order to highlight that they firmly stand against hate. It reads, “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.”

When Gordon failed to collect his order, the cake was discarded after waiting days in the fridge. Staff attorney for the LGBTQ Project, ACLU of Michigan, Jay Kaplan has stated that Anderson was working within the laws throughout this process.

Kaplan said, “She wasn’t turning the customer away. We provide cakes, but we are not going to put that kind of message on the cake. Especially if it’s offensive.”

In a written statement, founder and president of St Michael’s Media/ Church Militant, Michael Voris, stated, “The incident was an action taken independently of the apostolate by an individual employee; Church Militant had no prior knowledge of it. The employee has been spoken to and has apologised for unnecessarily involving his fellow workers in a private endeavour.”

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