Christian baker defends turning down lesbian wedding cake order: 'I have to stand true to God'
A Christian bakery owner in Pennsylvania is standing firm in her faith after being asked to provide a cake for a same-sex wedding vow renewal ceremony.
Lorraine Fleming of The Cake Pros said that she talked to God before making the decision to cancel a lesbian couple's cake order.
The Schuylkill Haven couple – Jennifer and Bethany Petrich – said that they were a fan of Fleming's cakes before the controversy.
"I loved the work they did and it tasted great," Jennifer told WFMZ this week. "It's a hometown bakery. I wanted to support my hometown."
Jennifer said that the cake order was initially placed without a problem.
"My mom, who is planning our wedding, called and made the appointment for us," she explained. "It was OK at that time and she was open and honest and said it's for Bethany and Jennifer."
Shortly afterwards, however, her mother received a follow-up phone call stating that The Cake Pros is "a Christian bakery and the owner had talked to Jesus for two weeks". She was informed that "because it was two females getting married she couldn't make our cake."
Fleming said that turning down the order was a difficult decision.
"It was hard to do," she told WFMZ. "We have homosexuality in our family and it was a hard decision to make, but in the end, when I die, and I'm one-on-one with God, I have to stand true to him."
In Pennsylvania, discrimination based on sexual orientation is legal. The state was in the news last month after a venue – Inne of the Abingtons – refused to host a same-sex wedding ceremony.
A Christian bakery in Northern Ireland is facing a lawsuit after refusing to decorate a cake with a message supporting gay marriage.
Gareth Lee of LGBT advocacy group QueerSpace ordered a cake with a photo of Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie in an embrace, and the words "Support Gay Marriage" above them. The cake also included the QueerSpace logo.
The owners of the bakery, Colin and Karen McArthur, are semi-retired, and their eldest son, Daniel, runs the day-to-day operations of the business. Daniel said that despite the lawsuit, the family will not change their stance.
"We pray that God will give us the strength to fight this," he told the Daily Mail last month. "I am sorry for any distress we have caused but we are staying true to our beliefs."