Are You Gay? Take our Simple Cake Test

Doubtless you will by now have heard about the gay cake which was the centre of a controversy recently in Northern Ireland.  If you haven’t, the story goes like this: gay couple ask Christian bakers to make cake.  Bakers refuse on the grounds of their beliefs.  Gay couple take bakers to court.  Bakers lose.

Now, without in any way supporting the contention of the bakers that gay marriage is un-Christian, I’m still a tad uneasy about the result.  Let’s first of all consider the cake that they were going to bake.  There’s an image of it here:

What strikes me about it is that the slogan is not, say, ‘Congratulations Bert and Ernie’ (or whatever their names were) but ‘Support Gay Marriage.’  That seems a slightly odd, not to say provocative, thing to put on a cake.  OK I know it’s not the same but on our wedding cake we didn’t have ‘Support the Right of Older Women to Marry Younger Men’.  So one wonders whether they were trying to provoke a response with that statement.  And then, why choose that particular bakers?  Were there no other bakers in Belfast?  If I was getting a wedding-cake made I’d want it to be done by someone supportive; someone who was happy for me and wanted to share in my joy.

The case hinged on the right of the baker to refuse custom to anyone based on their sexual orientation – and it was decided that they couldn’t.  In one sense, that seems fair enough: you wouldn’t support a bar, say, which refused to serve a gay couple.  Then again, the bakers could easily have made some excuse.  But perhaps they were as bloody-minded as the couple seem to have been, determined to make a stand.

It’s hard to think of an equivalent situation.  But I think if I were a bakers and I were asked to do a cake that said – oh, I don’t know – Support Nuclear Weapons or Support the State of Israel, I’d almost certainly refuse.  But that’s not the same thing as discriminating against staff in nuclear facilities or being anti-semitic (and let’s not go there just now).

Peter Tatchell, it seems, agrees with me:

And here’s a link to Brian’s blog which got me started on this:

Kirk out

3 thoughts on “Are You Gay? Take our Simple Cake Test

  1. I think it’s a weird one this. It definitely isn’t a case of who is right or wrong. I sometimes wonder whether the principle is worth all the fuss, not to mention time and money, in cases like this. Is it going to change any opinions. I thought, earlier in the day that it was a good advert for gay rights, now I’m not so sure. I just wish they’d gone to a different bakers who didn’t mind 😦

  2. I agree. I hadn’t realised till now that gay marriage is illegal in NI still. That gives it an extra resonance I think

  3. baker was interviewed on radio. They have baked cakes for this couple before and are happy to do so in the future. All they objected to was the slogan, which is fair enough if it goes against their beliefs. Does anyone think that Jews in Hitlers Germany would have happily baked a cake that said, “jews are vermin”……….nope, didnt think so. This couple, if all they wanted was a cake, could have gone to asda and bought one, and then iced a slogan on themselves, but instead they chose to use this innocent baker as a springboard to making same sex marriage legal in NI. shame on them

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