Cake debacle drives customers to cupcakes
Bella Cupcake responds to actions by Sweet Cakes by Melissa
A debate sparked by a Gresham bakerys refusal to sell a same-sex couple a wedding cake has resulted in a wave of support for a rival business.
Debbie Phillips, owner of Bella Cupcake, 134 N.W. Third St. in Gresham, said her bakerys Facebook page has received hundreds of likes after she wrote, We appreciate ALL of our customers, without you we wouldnt be here! on Friday, Feb. 1.
The post to her bakerys Facebook and Twitter pages came in response to Sweet Cakes by Melissa, which is being investigated by Oregons Department of Justice for allegedly violating the states anti-discrimination law.
Its a decision Phillips disagrees with, and one thats indirectly brought her business into the discussion.
I think it was a bad business decision, and it reflects badly on Gresham, said Phillips, who moved her business from her home to downtown Gresham in 2010. I dont want anything to do with all that drama, but I think its a black eye on Gresham.
People need to know that were not all like that.
People have come out in droves to voice each side of the debate.
A line of customers stretched out the door of Sweet Cakes by Melissa on Saturday, Feb. 2. Aaron Klein, who co-owns the bakery with his wife, sold out well before closing. People showed up to support his Christian belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman.
Phillips said there was a steady stream of customers coming into her shop that day as well.
Saturday was really busy, she said. Some people came in and said, Thanks for not being discriminatory.
On Bella Cupcakes Facebook page, people have shown their appreciation for the bakerys equal-rights stance.
One person wrote: Next time Im in Gresham Ill have to swing by and try a cupcake. Thanks for supporting equal rights!
Another person wrote: Yet another shining candle winning against the darkness that is bigotry.
Beth Gatchell, a regular customer at Bella Cupcake, said she wouldnt support a business that refuses service based on age, race, sexual orientation or other classifications. Gatchell added that she wants to teach her four children to be tolerant of all types of people.
I would rather support a business thats more forward thinking and a business whos more community supportive, said Gatchell, of Sandy. Its important to model more inclusive type situations than exclusive.
Even before the incident last month, the owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa havent tried to hide their Christian beliefs.
Their website is filled with Bible verses. It also reads, Remember we do cakes for any occasion with one exception, of course.
Phillips is a Christian, too. But she doesnt believe a business should have the right to select its customers.
We have certain beliefs, she said. But politics and our faith and all those things are personal to us. And our customers are our customers. I think if someone came in and asked Jesus to make a cake, hed make the cake. I just dont get it.
Neither does Lillian Negron, owner of Lillians Natural Foods, 283 N.W. Miller Ave.
Negron, a homosexual Christian, said she understands both sides of the argument and thinks the owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa believe theyre being obedient to their religion.
As a business person, I dont think they should discriminate, Negron said. As a human being... you felt convicted and you felt obedient to God, you better listen to that.
Sweet Cakes by Melissa could face a large backlash this weekend. Gay rights activists created a Facebook page called Boycott Sweet Cakes by Melissa, Gresham, OR.
The group also organized a protest, which will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9. The demonstration will start at Sweet Cakes by Melissa, and at 4 p.m, protesters will march to Bella Cupcake to support a business, they feel, is tolerant.