I am the Colorado Baker Who Refused to Sell a Wedding Cake to a Gay Couple, and This is my Artist Statement
Since the dawn of this great nation, America’s best thinkers have wrestled with one defining question: Does the First Amendment protect this chocolate cake from the gays? As a confection artist, I have spent my career contemplating this question. It started when I was six, armed with only a Le Creuset stoneware baking set and a conviction that marriage should be between one man and one woman, and has only become more urgent in an era where anyone with a credit card and an impeccable sense of style can now marry their “roommate.”
Recently, my edible art caused quite a stir in my hometown of Lakewood, Colorado, when I refused to sugarcoat my views on alternative couplings and angered the liberal establishment. Now I am embroiled in an epic legal battle, all to keep censoring mitts off my art and the wrong hands out of the batter bowl! And so I am forced, like so many misunderstood artists before me, to explain my art to the masses.
The main take-home is that my cakes have a message. They speak. And they aren’t saying “Happy Pagan Holiday Involving Costumes!” or “Merry Divorce!” or “Good Luck on Your Commitment Ceremony!” No. They speak of tradition, family values, and a love of country I like to call pastry-a-tism. It is the voice of a dessert buffet crying in the wilderness—if only we have ears to hear.
I also use the ‘paints of the pantry’ to dabble in performance and installation. One of my favorite pieces, Separate But Made With Equal, was inspired by my mother, a humble dessert artist herself, who used to make chocolate chip cookies for the good boys at my birthday parties and reconstituted oatmeal bars from our emergency food supply for those with alternative lifestyles. “If the alternatives do not like reconstituted oatmeal bars,” she said, “they can always go to another party.”
In this performance piece, I follow my mother’s lead, constructing several custom wedding cakes out of natural, Christian ingredients and a few pre-fab cakes made out of flour, water, and Equal Zero-Calorie Sweetener. I then sell the custom cakes to people from my church and the Equal cakes to people whose haircuts don’t conform to their God-given gender and who, let’s face it, would probably use my custom cakes for some sort of shocking bedroom act. When they complain, I remind them very slowly: The cakes are equal. In fact, yours is even more Equal than the others.
In my latest installation piece, Let (Some of) Them Eat Cake, we open on a decadent reception hall. A cake sits mostly eaten on a table. Rainbow napkins are crumpled here and there. On the floor, a Constitution lies in tatters. A wall calendar reads 2018.
It’s a cautionary tale, yes, but also a bold update on Marie Antoinette's famous declaration. Basically, the piece aks the gastronomic question of our times: When everyone wants the sweet stuff, is there really enough to go around?
Answer: Not really.
That’s because (and I think Marie would agree with me here) democracy is a lot like a cake. First of all, it is sweet and desirable and it tastes best if it is 100-percent, no-surprises vanilla. But, more importantly, cakes are not that big. I can tell you from experience that even if I cut one of my desserts into the smallest slices imaginable, there’s still only enough for maybe twenty of us. Twenty-two, tops. And that’s why only some of us can have our cake and eat it, too. Because someone invited way too many people to this democracy party and we are just following the serving sizes dictated by the greatest recipe of all: the Constitution. It’s not discrimination, folks. It’s fractions!
Of course, all great works are collaborations between an artist and his audience, and my work is no exception. I have done what I could to share my message with the world, but the rest is up to my patron, my muse, my critic: America. Only time and courts will tell if my fellow patriots will stand up for freedom of speech and the right to good, old-fashioned matrimony, or if we will defile both conscience and Constitution by telling artists like myself to shut our proverbial cake holes. I only hope I have not baked in vain.