The owners of Detroit bakery are speaking out about a homophobic cake order placed in July by a member of a member of a Ferndale-based fringe conservative Catholic group. Baker April Anderson tells Pride Source that on July 19, her shop Good Cakes and Bakes received an online order requesting a rainbow-themed Pride month cake with an anti-gay message written on top.
Anderson is openly gay and owns the shop with her wife, Michelle. Anderson tells the site that at first, she believed it was a rainbow cake order based off a June Pride month promotion, given the fact that the word “PRIDE” was written in all caps. However, on closer inspection, she was startled by the request for a six-layer, red-velvet cake with a hate-filled message:
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”).
The cake was purchased for $40 and included a $10 tip, according to the Detroit Free Press. Anderson wasn’t sure what to do, fearing that she might face a lawsuit if she refused to fill the order. She eventually shared the situation with friend Elias Majid of Eli Tea in Birmingham, who was able to trace the order back to David Gordon, an employee with the Church Militant network.
Church Militant, which is not an actual church, espouses pro-life and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and advocates for conversion therapy, among other ultra-conservative views. It is headquartered in Ferndale, home to many LGBTQ-friendly businesses and an annual Pride celebration.
In an emailed statement to the Free Press, the head of St. Michael’s Media/Church Militant denied any involvement in the order and stated that the organization’s employee acted alone.
Ultimately, Anderson decided to fill the order without the requested writing, noting to the Free Press that her website states that special written message requests must be placed over the phone or in person; Gordon’s order was placed online. Instead, Anderson made a layer cake with white frosting and rainbow decorations with the message “God Is Love and Love Is God” on the inside of the box. She also included a written note:
Hello Mr. David Gordon,
I’m not sure if you did not know or you intentionally chose our bakery because it’s owned by a lesbian couple (I think the latter). But by choosing to place your order at our bakery we offer you nothing but love.
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.
We stand against Hate.
We will always fight for peace, justice, and inclusion.
We will stay our minds on the message Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13.
We wish you PRIDE, rainbows, fairy dust and a good GAY!
While Gordon did call to confirm the order a day ahead, the cake was never picked up. Still, around 40 people gathered at the bakery on the day of the scheduled pickup to show support for Good Cakes and Bakes. The cake landed in the refrigerator, and, eventually, in the garbage. Gordon called a day later about the cake and was told he’d have to place another online order since he failed to pick up his cake the first time.
Gordon responded to the Free Press’s messages on Twitter, claiming that he was “denied the services I requested at a place of public accommodation on the basis of the content of my beliefs.”
The incident sparked a fundraiser in Ferndale to make “We are not Militant” lawn signs and contribute donations to the Corktown Health Center, a health center for the LGBTQ community in Detroit. The GoFundMe raised more than $1,700.
The offensive cake order recalls the widely publicized case involving Colorado bakery Masterpiece Cakeshop, which refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple on religious grounds. The case eventually made its way to the Supreme Court where justices sided with the bakery; however, the case is unlikely to set a legal precedent, because the decision never addressed the underlying question of whether baking a cake is an act of expression protected by the First Amendment,