INDIANAPOLIS (March 13, 2014) — A same-sex couple sparked a social media controversy after being turned down by a bakery that refused to make them a cake.
For Mike Stephens and Shane Laney, it was a love story 14 years in the making. Their relationship was rekindled recently after a message on Facebook. Shane had just moved back to Indiana from Tennessee.
“It all started with a birthday wish,” Stephens chuckled.
The couple wanted to celebrate their love with a commitment ceremony in April. Mike called 111 Cakery downtown to order a cake.
“[The owner] said, ‘We don’t do that. If I can help you with anything else, but we don’t discriminate.’ That was the end of it,” he said. “It’s disappointing.”
The phone conversation sparked a debate on the bakery’s Facebook page. Dozens have voiced their opinions to either attack or defend the business.
Owners Randy and Trish McGath tell FOX59 they had no intention of hurting anyone. They have never denied anyone through their doors based on who they are or what they believe.
The family, however, has always done business based on their Christian faith.
“As artists, we have to find inspiration to create something special for our clients,” said Randy. “When asked to do a cake for an occasion or with a theme that’s in opposition with our faith? It’s just hard for us. We struggle with that.”
Under 111 Cakery policy, the business also does not make custom cakes with messages related to alcohol, drugs and violence.
“There is zero hate here,” said Randy. “This causes us to do a lot of soul searching. Why are we doing what we do? We want to show the love of Christ. We want to be right with our God, but we also want to show kindness and respect to other people.”
The City-County Council adopted a Human Rights Ordinance, which “prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, education and public accommodations on the basis of a person’s race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, ancestry, age, disability, or United States military service veteran status, or retaliation.” Legal experts told Fox 59 private business do have the legal right to serve whoever they want, others said it depends on the facts of the case.
Mike and Shane are ready to move on.
“We found someone that will do it for us so we’re going to focus on the good,” said Mike.