Bil Browning

Cupcakegate continues: A heartwarming moment

Filed By Bil Browning | September 30, 2010 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: cupcakegate, GetEqual, Indianapolis, IUPUI, Just Cookies

Want to see one of the most heartwarming moments from Indianapolis' "Cupcakegate" ongoing story? For those of you who haven't been keeping up, Indy's Just Cookies bakery refused to make rainbow colored cupcakes for a local college's diversity group and the city has erupted in outrage - including an investigation called for by the Republican mayor.

After the local GetEqual chapter tried to order chocolate chip cookies with sprinkles and were also turned away, businesses at the City Market where Just Cookies does business have stepped into the breach with their own message.

See one of the most heartwarming pictures ever after the jump.

The business below would asks you to find and like them on Facebook. I highly suggest doing it to reciprocate their show up support for us. They're status message currently is:

Tomorrow at the Indianapolis City Market we will have Hot Spiced Apple Cider. We will proudly serve it with love to everyone no matter what their color, race, religion, political affiliation, or sexual orientation is.


(Photo via longtime activist Kevin Fyffe's Facebook page.)

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Re the juice sign: Wow! ... just ... wow!

I think I know why the GetEqual group followed up with an order of chocolate chip cookies, just to see how they would be treated.

In the original instance, it could be legally argued that the business owner did not discriminate against the customers because they were gay --- instead, it could be argued that the business rejected a particular transaction, not business in general with a particular customer or group of customers. It could be argued that the business did not object to the customer, but to the order that they wanted to place.

Similar to newspapers reserving the right to refuse to publish certain ads. For example, I have been told that a newspaper can reject a rental ad saying "gay landlord looking for gay-friendly housemates" even in an area with an inclusive HRO --- the newspaper successfully argued that the ad implies a form of rental discrimination, even though it does not explicitly say "Gay renters only need apply." As a general rule, you cannot make a newspaper print your ad if they don't want to.

However, with GetEqual going in and ordering the generic chocolate chip cookies, it is clear that the business owner is discriminating against a particular customer becasue they are gay or represent a pro-gay issue, because he would clearly sell chocolate chip cookies to any other generic customer. So I'd say the business owner is indeed digging himself into a deeper hole.

But I'm not a lawyer, I just pretend I am sometimes online.

So, "Just Cookies" won't make rainbow cupcakes? How about Just Cupcakes? Will they? Because that would be really bad.

The store owner doesn't have to accept the business.

It's great this has turned into something positive with "Natural Born Juicers" reaching out to the LGBT Community and not a silly protest against a baker. That would have spoiled the opportunity to educate.

The store owner doesn't have to accept the business.

Yes, I agree --- but I have friends who are livid with me for my opinion, because I draw a distinction between the bakery rejecting a particular order because of its specifications and discriminating against a particular customer because of a protected personal characteristic.

My assumption is that the store owner would have rejected the order for rainbow cupcakes even if the order had been submited by a straight person --- someone representing a GLBT-inclusive church, for example.

Legal or not, the damage to budiness reputation that this store owner will experience is outside the legal questions ... and in the long run, may prove to be the greater punishment.

Richard W. Fitch | October 1, 2010 1:20 AM

Would the Mayor's office have stepped in if there were not some grounds for believing that the Stocktons violated City Code or at the very least the terms of doing business in the City Market?

Of course there is reason for the city to question things, especially in light of the public reaction. What I'm pointing out is that (1) there is a reasonable defensive argument for the first incident involving the rainbow cupcakes (but probably not the second, involving the chocolate chip cookies), and (2) there is the question of whether the HRO will be interpreted and enforced according to the letter of the law, or the spirit of the law.