A gay Texas couple is speaking out after a local bakery rejected their request for a wedding cake because its owners oppose same-sex marriage.
Texas resident Ben Valencia told The Longview News-Journal he felt "dehumanized" after he and his fiancé, Luis Marmolejo, were turned away by the co-owner of Kern's Bakery in Longview, Texas, after seeking a quote on a cake last week.
According to Valencia, the process was going smoothly until Kern's Bakery co-owner Edie Delorme learned that the cake was for him and Marmolejo. The prospective transaction, he said, was quickly nixed thereafter.
Delorme, who co-owns Kern's with her husband, said her decision to turn Marmolejo and Valencia away was mandated by her Christian faith.
"When they said [the cake was for] them, I said, 'Sorry. We don't provide cakes for homosexual marriages,'" she told The Longview News-Journal. "It's not against people or what they choose to be part of."
Valencia said he was "more disheartened" than angered by the interaction, and told the Kilgore News Herald, "I don’t judge people, and I guess I kind of expect not to be judged in return. But I can’t control how other people think or how other people act, so you can’t force somebody to like you or be your friend."
Delorme said she would also refuse to prepare a cake for her nephew, who she said is openly gay, and has turned down offers to prepare "alcohol-related" and "risqué" confections in the past.
"If I went to a baker, a homosexual baker, and they didn't want to provide a cake for an event that maybe celebrated marriage between a man and a woman," she told The Longview News-Journal, "[it] would be OK for them to say, 'That's not in line with our values.'"
In his interview with Journal, Valencia acknowledged that his options for legal recourse were non-existent because Texas does not have a statewide discrimination ban based on sexual orientation in place. But he added, "I just think people should know that that happened."
Meanwhile, another area bakery came forward with an offer to prepare a cake for the Marmolejo-Valencia wedding, which is set for March 27.
Speaking to the Kilgore News Herald, Tee Allen, who owns Mama Tee’s Cakes and Catering in White Oak, Texas, promised the men "the best cake I've ever made."
"I don’t care if you’re pink, purple, polka-dotted, gay or straight," she said. "If you want me to make you a cake, I’m going to make you a cake."
Bakeries and other wedding-related venues continue to be an unlikely battleground for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights, but it's empowering to see businesses step up to the plate when others disappoint.
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