Why shouldn't a gay couple be able to have their cake and eat it too?

Bigots need to realise they can't pick and choose who they do business with

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The Independent Online

I love the Muppets. I love cake. For me, it’s a no-brainer to put the two together. A cake adorned with Sesame Street stalwarts Bert and Ernie sounds just delightful.

That’s unless you happen to be Christian-run bakery Ashers Baking Co, who are based in Northern Ireland. The bakery is facing a court case after refusing to make said cake, which was also to carry the slogan “support gay marriage”.

The bakery felt that making the cake would be tantamount to supporting gay marriage – which is still outlawed in Northern Ireland. Making the cake, they felt, might open the floodgates for gay marriage in the country. What an over-reaction. Wonderful as it is to think that a Muppet cake might instigate a change to the law, it’s not hugely likely.

Of course, the bakery’s response isn’t just an over-reaction. It’s discrimination, based on fear and lacking sense. You just can’t turn away someone’s custom because the fabric of their life is knitted differently from yours. From the customer perspective, it’s offensive and ridiculous. From the business perspective, it’s also spurious. Where’s the actual, objective proof that you’re in the right and they’re in the wrong? This is not good business sense.

We’ve seen it happen time and time again over the years, with businesses refusing to serve those whose lifestyles, sexuality, gender, religion or colour offend them. No blacks, no Jews, no gays, no hippies. You can’t stay here or play here and it’s your fault for being different. If you thought this kind of open hatred was relegated to the last century, this bakery proves otherwise. When are we finally going to put this bigotry to bed?

Of course, you can argue an allowance for extreme cases. I’d hope that this bakery would also refuse to make a swastika cake if a neo-Nazi customer wanted some fascist fondant. If someone wants you to help promote hatred, you’ve got a responsibility to say no. But if you’re asked to serve someone whose lifestyle choice is entirely their own and harms nobody, you have no right to refuse. Especially, when like this cute cake, it’s something that promotes love.

By the way - if anybody else would like to make this cake, do raise your hand. I’ll be first in line for a slice, wielding a fork and wearing my wedding hat.