Remember Sweet Cakes by Melissa, the Oregon bakery that refused to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple in 2013 and was later fined $135,000 in damages, for (among other things) publishing the couple’s home address on Facebook?
Well, they sent us a cake.
We’ve been a little busy, so we were surprised to find we were listed as one of ten West Coast LGBTQ organizations that would be receiving special “we really do love you!” cakes from owners Aaron and Melissa Klein.
It’s all part of a PR campaign to demonstrate that the Kleins only discriminate because they love us. To prove their point, the care package arrived with a DVD of Audacity, an anti-LGBTQ film created by televangelist Ray Comfort (we won’t link to the official site, but here’s a review for the curious among you). Comfort has plans to further promote his film in San Francisco by flying a rainbow-colored #LoveWins banner over our skies for two days.
There are many kinds of love—unconditional, healing, romantic, platonic—but the version the Kleins are displaying (eg: “we love you so we have to change you”) is the kind that leads to homelessness and suicide for so many of our youth (40% of homeless youth are LGBTQ and they are more likely than straight youth to attempt suicide). It’s the kind of love that creates a pervasive environment of violence for the transgender community (already, twenty known murders of transgender women of color have occurred this year). These conditional and controlling acts in the name of love make our work to nurture lives and carve out safe community spaces not just necessary, but urgent. Comprehensive health care doesn’t happen in a vacuum; we must also fight racism, sexism, transphobia, and homophobia to transform the lives of the people we serve.
Now, we enjoy sugary treats as much as anyone (and we’re flattered to be in the company of nine other LGBTQ rock star organizations), but this cake comes with a lot of extra, empty calories. The Kleins seem to think that LGBTQ folks need their love and validation, but really, we just want public businesses to stop discriminating against us. This isn’t about individual religious freedom (and there are many Christian denominations that are accepting of LGBTQ people) or even about marriage equality; it’s just about equality.
So what are we going to do with the cake? We aren’t sure yet. Unfortunately, it was a little worse for wear when it arrived but we’ve discussed auctioning it off and using the proceeds to fund our hot meal programs or converting it to a pro-LGBTQ cake and sharing it with our clients and local partner organizations. We’ll let you know if we’re able to have our cake and eat it too.