When Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig went to Masterpiece Cake shop to discuss a cake for their upcoming wedding reception, they weren’t expecting to be shown the door. Jack Phillips, the owner of the bakery, told them he doesn’t make cakes for gay weddings.
“It was the most awkward, surreal, very brief encounter,” Mullins told the Denver Westword. “We got up to leave, and to be totally honest, I said, ‘Fuck you and your homophobic cake shop.’ And I may or may not have flipped him off.”
The story spread like wildfire on Facebook, spawning a Boycott Masterpiece Cakeshop group, hundreds of angry phone calls and emails a day – and even physical protests outside the store.
None of it, says Phillips in an interview with the Westword, is going to change his mind. “If I didn’t have strong convictions about the issue in the first place, it wouldn’t have come up. None of the protests or anything will change that.” He’s even gone so far as to say he’d rather shut down shop than give in to the demands of protestors.
He insists, however, that he’s not a bigot and not discriminating against gay people. Phillips describes himself as against same-sex marriage, but not anti-gay. “If gays come in and want to order birthday cakes or any cakes for any occasion, graduations, or whatever, I have no prejudice against that whatsoever,” Phillips told local CBS affiliate KCNC-TV. “It’s just the wedding cake, not the people, not their lifestyle.”
(Hilariously enough, Phillips did tell one prospective “customer” he’s willing to bake a cake for a “dog wedding.” Apparently this doesn’t violate his conscience or sense of good taste the way a loving union of two committed human adults would. Make of it what you will.)
So he’s happy to take money from the LGBT community as long as he doesn’t have to acknowledge their rights. While the backlash is unlikely to cause a change of heart, it’s pretty easy to understand why the Denver queer community feels the need to publicly call out Phillip’s homophobic attitude.
What do you think? Does protesting a small business like this do more harm than good? Or is it just widening the rift between gay groups and conservatives?
Photo credit: Jennifer Chait via Flickr