ESCANABA, Mich. — An Upper Peninsula cake decorator is in hot water with several Facebook users as a controversial post slowly catching viral waves makes its way through the social network.
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.”
The post was created on April 7th, presumably by the sole proprietor, business owner, and cake decorator Jennifer Mosse of Gourley Township, Escanaba, MI. It has since been deleted. Several Facebook users created and shared screenshots before it was removed.
Mosse has been decorating cakes for nine years, and, prior to yesterday, has received overwhelmingly positive reviews from customers over the past several years. 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.
As several new negative reviews flock the page, one user has called for a boycott of the cake decorator. Kimberly Ann Pierce writes, “I am shocked at this company’s practices. Not only did they openly discriminate against a client and cancel a previously agreed on order, they then publicized the matter on their businesses Facebook page.”
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?”
The original post created by Bake It U.P. Cakes explains that the couple was able to find a different cake decorator for the wedding.
Same sex marriage is now legal in all 50 states, prompting further debate in the roles businesses will play in the legislative change. Mississippi recently passed legislation following the lead of states like Indiana that allow businesses to deny services to gay couples based on religious belief or moral convictions. In Michigan, legislative agendas are also moving forward to further specify what businesses can and cannot do based on moral conviction.
Bake It U.P. Cakes did not explicitly specify the reason why service was denied. Whether or not it was because of moral conviction is based upon speculation. The post just explains service was denied after learning the couple was gay, and had “nothing to do with the person, or the lifestyle they choose.” Many Facebook users were confused about the unclear explanation of the post.
The post ignited heated debate and fiery exchange from the LGBTQIA community and supporters of gay rights. “I’ve never tried the cakes, and I don’t intend to. I’m bitterly disappointed in this business, as a friend of mine was discriminated against by the owner,” said Eli Mai, regarding the incident. “He was refused service because he’s gay. I can’t believe this kind of blatant and hateful discrimination is legal.”
Another Facebook user ‘Sophia WH’ in a five-star review writes, “While I do support same sex marriage, I support free market/capitalism and your choice as a private company to make your own decisions.”
The couple who was denied services is not known and Jennifer Mosse of Bake It U.P. Cakes was not immediately available for comment.