Last week, I got involved in a discussion about wedding cakes!
As KATU first reported, Sweet Cakes Bakery owner Aaron Klein admitted he denied a lesbian bride-to-be service after she visited his shop on Jan. 17. The woman who filed the complaint tells the station that she had previously purchased a wedding cake from Sweet Cakes for her mother, and was only refused after she specified that this cake was for a same-sex wedding.
Klein, who reportedly owns the bakery with his wife Melissa, told NBC he was simply living in accordance with his religious beliefs by rejecting the lesbian couple's request. Furthermore, he believes his decision to deny the couple service is protected by his Constitutional right to practice his religion as he sees fit.
I believe that marriage is a religious institution ordained by God," Klein is quoted as saying. "A man should leave his mother and father and cling to his wife ... that to me is the beginning of marriage."
Specifying that he does not consider himself to be anti-gay -- "I'll sell [gay people] stuff...I'll talk to them, it's fine" -- Klein went on to note, "I'd rather have my kids see their dad stand up for what he believes in than to see him bow down because one person complained.
The baker was fined $150,000 - for refusing to make a $200-$500 wedding cake. They were also boycotted, had protests outside of their bakery, other vendors turned against them and they eventually had to close the bakery.
So I started thinking... is there a way that a Christian baker, or anyone in the wedding industry could continue in their livelihood while still following their well-formed consciences regarding traditional marriage?
The trick is, to offer the same service to everyone to avoid getting slapped with a discrimination suit - and that definitely is going to take some skill because it seems the judiciary is set on forcing wedding vendors to accept same-sex weddings as being the same as traditional marriage, even if individual business owners personally don't believe that.
Here are some strategies I think might work.
If I were running a bakery, I would have maybe five or six generic but pretty cake designs and about as many flavors. I would have customers pick out their designs and their flavors - no special orders and no cake toppers. No custom cakes. I think I would also limit the places I would deliver too, although customers could certainly come and pick up their purchases. That way you're not selling "wedding cakes" but a standard cake design that anyone could purchase for any reason.
That made me think about other wedding services as well. As a photographer, I guess I would have to give up doing engagement pictures, but for weddings I would only work in certain churches (Catholic, or traditional Christian or Jewish).
I think these venue owners had the right idea about allowing parties and receptions, but not ceremonies. Now that will have to apply to all couples.
It was disturbing to read that other vendors started turning against their colleagues when the bad publicity found them. Maybe it's time for Christian Wedding Vendors to form a society and proudly support one another and refer business to one another exclusively.
Lastly, one of the best suggestions came from a commenter on the Huff Po site. He said that he would gladly serve any and all costumers to the best of his ability, BUT he would have it posted in his shop and on his literature that a portion of all proceeds from wedding business would go to a pro-traditional marriage organization like:
The National Organization for Marriage
Focus on the Family
The local Catholic Diocese
Maybe that's the best idea at all.