Nine days ago, I was on MSNBC discussing a bill that would have created special rights for workers in Kansas to discriminate against people on the basis of sexual orientation, even in violation of an employer’s policies. I used this example:
If you work for a company and that company has a policy against anti-gay discrimination, you’re allowed to say, ‘Well, I’m the bakery guy at the national chain supermarket, but I’m not going to make a cake for this gay couple’s wedding.’
Last week, Jon Stewart poked fun at me, saying:
Let me stop you right there. You thing a gay wedding is gonna have a supermarket cake? That’s what you think? This couple’s been waiting their whole lives for the freedom to marry. They’re not just gonna swing by the Safeway.
Someone turned this into a meme, it connected, and now Reddit glory of a sort is mine.
Let me just get a few things off my chest:
- Stewart’s joke, which has turned into righteous umbrage among some of the people sharing the imgur image, works off the stereotype that gays are aesthetes. Gay weddings are supposed to be fancy and highbrow and artisanal. Gay grooms certainly would not deign to buy their cakes at Safeway. I understand where this “Frasier” stereotype comes from and honestly I’ve done my part to contribute to it — for example, I’ve literally never eaten at a Taco Bell. But in the real world, same-sex couples are diverse in gender, in socioeconomic status, and in attitudes toward supermarket cake. As with opposite-sex couples, there are gays and lesbians who would never buy a wedding cake at the supermarket, and those who would gladly do so.
- In the latter camp is Grant Oberg, who messaged me on Facebook that his husband bought their wedding cake for $US14.99 at a Star Market in Watertown, Massachusetts. (Star, a regional New England supermarket chain, is a subsidiary of Albertson’s.) Grant and his husband were married in a simple ceremony by a justice of the peace, and then came home to a bottle of champagne and the Oreo cake from Star. Here’s what Grant says about it: “Your wedding should be an expression of who you are and who you want to be as a couple. For us, two guys from the Bible Belt who never imagined they’d be able to get married, we went into one wedding expo and came out with hives. We wanted something simple, just for us, and we couldn’t have been happier. Though my husband would like to say that if he could do it again he would have planned in advance and ordered a small something from the place where we buy our doughnuts.”
- Finally, I should note that Whole Foods sells wedding cakes that start at $US3.50 per serving. Filling options include the likes of lemon curd and “swiss meringue buttercream,” which sounds delicious, whatever it is. So even when Niles Crane comes out of the closet, it’s possible he’ll buy his wedding cake at a national chain supermarket, too.
And that’s all I have to say about supermarket cake.
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