Enchanting Creations is a small cake shop located at 210 NE 98th St. in Miami Shores, a middle-class Miami suburb that's best known for its well-manicured lawns and numerous churches. The village of about 10,000 residents also has a thriving gay population and, according to the Huffington Post, is one of the most gay-friendly cities in which to retire (among more populated and well-known destinations like Atlanta and Fort Lauderdale).
The bakery, which is open Tuesday - Saturday from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. offers coffee, pastelitos, cupcakes, and treats, mostly to Miami Shores neighbors who crave a local alternative to the Starbucks down the street. But the mainstay of the shop are its custom cupcakes and wedding cakes, lovingly baked and hand decorated by owner Karen Matamoros. Since opening in 2007, the small bakery has garnered quite a following for its creative and delicious work.
Matamoros, however, has unwittingly been dragged into a same sex wedding cake battle. About a month ago, the baker, who advertises her services on EnGAYgedWeddings.com and GayWeddings.com, received an inquiry about a cake. The cake, however, wasn't the usual birthday party or wedding confection. In the emailed, inquiry, a man named Doug asked the baker if she would bake a cake that says, "Straight is how our God designed us".
Matamoros replied in the affirmative, saying, "We will make you any cake you desire, our object as a bakery is to serve our customers independent of dogmatic, philosophical or political distinctions. It is our fundamental belief that all humanity should be embraced." This led to another email by the same man, who upped the ante with the following question, "Karen, how about a cake that said “Men have the right to rape”. Would that be ok? or wait, how about “No age is too young for sex”. Could I get a cake made for a pedophilia parade? I am being serious, would you think this is ok?" At that point, the cake shop owner ended the conversation, writing, "These inquiries are turning into harassment. Please, only email me with a serious order.
Christian-owned bakeries refusing to bake a wedding cake for same sex marriages have made the news. The epicenter of these battles is Indiana, where the state voted in a controversial bill that could protect religious business owners from legal retaliation if they choose to refuse services for same-sex couples. That bill, of course, put Indiana-based Memories Pizza in the hot seat, after owners Kevin O'Connor and daughter Crystal said that if a gay couple wanted pizza at their wedding, they would say no, adding, ""We are a Christian establishment." The pizza shop closed for several days amidst backlash, then reopened. A GoFundMe page, started by The Blaze, raised over $800,000 for the pizza shop. Last year, Indiana's 111 Cakery owners Randy and Trich McGath refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding and, most recently, closed the shop.
But, Matamoros didn't think she would fall into the debate. According to RiseMiami.com, this wasn't a lone incident and the shop owner has been harassed over the past few months by anti-gay activists who have called numerous times asking to place orders for cakes with anti-gay messages in an attempt to "trap" the bakers into a moral corner.
With that in mind, Matamoros decided to be proactive. She asked her good friend, and co-worker, Romina Hartman, to post a statement on the Enchanting Creations website in response to anti-gay activists. Hartman, who updates the site, penned a missive entitled, "Hate Cakes, Human Rights, and Where we Stand". In it, she states the bakery's policy that it would, indeed, indeed make a cake for anyone at any time, regardless of who the cake is for:
Unfortunately, we haven’t been the only targets; the idea of “setting a trap” for small bakeries to catch them in the act of discrimination has become increasingly more common, and we feel it’s time to clarify our stance on this issue.
The fact of the matter is that we are an American business. As such, it is our responsibility to uphold the law and to refrain from discriminating against our customers, no matter how hurtful or personally offensive we might find their particular beliefs.
We believe that no one should ever be refused service – opposing discrimination by practicing it is not the answer. The only way to uphold our integrity as a company, and to maintain any hope of an eventual triumph over bigotry and discrimination is to act in accordance with this belief. We will not discriminate against potential customers, not even against those whose beliefs directly contradict our own – if the request is protected by the First Amendment we will honor it. This issue isn’t about approval; it’s about respect.
That said, so far these inquiries have amounted to nothing more than trolling; we have yet to receive a serious order. However, should the day come when an actual order is placed and paid for, we will not profit from discrimination.
Today we pledge that any profits we generate from the sale of a cake intended to discriminate against same-sex couples will be donated to the Human Rights Campaign, an organization who continues to fight for LGBT Equality.
We are extremely honored to be featured as an LGBT-Friendly vendor on both EnGAYgedWeddings.com and GayWeddings.com, and we will continue to proudly serve South Florida’s gay community. We sincerely hope that others will join us in finding ways to derive something positive from this ongoing negativity, because in the end we truly do believe that love conquers hate.
The owner of Enchanting Creations explained their stance, saying that, although they "could not discriminate against someone who walked through the door by refusing service based on race, color, creed, gender, sexual orientation, etc., we would not discriminate against someone strictly on the basis of disagreeing with the sentiments he or she wished to have represented on his or her cake", they would also not "reproduce any sentiments which would fall under the categories of obscenity, threats, hate speech, etc., and not just with specific regard to the LGBT community, but with regard to the community at large".
"So, in short, if we were approached and asked to make a cake with threatening or obscene language or images on it (regardless of its target), we would certainly exercise the right to refuse service. However, if, for instance, we were asked to bake a cake with “We Do Not Support Gay Marriage” written on top, or one depicting a big red “X” over a silhouette of two grooms, then:
Yes, our company policy asserts that we will make that cake;
Yes, we will indeed make that cake; and, finally,
Yes, we will take that money and donate it to an LGBT cause."
In conclusion, the statement wrapped up sweetly, saying:
We’re a bakery; we’re in the business of helping people celebrate their happiest moments: birthdays, anniversaries, weddings. We find it reprehensible to strip someone of that joy over personal contentions which should play no part in running an American business; but we also acknowledge that this sentiment must apply to both sides of the argument. We would be hypocrites to deny someone service because we do not agree with him – that is the precise dynamic we’re fighting against.
The only notion we could contrive that would honor both the integrity of our business practice and our moral obligation was to take the money from sales that go against our conscience and put it toward something positive, toward something that strives to enlighten and raise awareness, so that through education we will hopefully one day eradicate the fear that divides us.
We want to thank those who have taken the time to reach out to us to show their support for this decision: it means so very much to us. We hope that the community will understand that this was the best solution we could find, and that we will be forgiven if we have fallen short of the ideal. We’re far from being social advocacy experts . . . We’re really more like sugar experts."
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Romina Hartman, who started working for the bakery in January 2014, says that the statement came after months of phone calls that turned into harrassment. "The calls started coming during the Christmas rush. At first there were some bizarre calls from a minister in Florida. After that guy, there was just a flood. The emails from "Doug" were the last straw for the shop owner, who asked Hartman to pen the reply, which is going viral.
Hartman says the message must have resonated with people. "We've had notes from all over the world, A guy from Thailand sent his love and a 70 year-old woman showed her support." The bakery worker says that she doesn't fault anyone — even the people who left the hate message. "People feel frustrated when their world changes and they just don't take the time to think things through." And, Hartman says, something positive has come from all the negative feelings. People are sending their love. We're seeing the best side of humanity. In the end, good wins."