Even in its most predictable form, a wedding cake is never just a cake. It’s a symbol (and, might we add, a really old one) that’s stuffed with centuries of well-wishes and superstitions for a newlywed couple. From the days of piling up sweet rolls for couples to kiss over for luck to the fruit cakes that were said to bring fertility, wedding cakes are as much a sign of the start of a life together as they are an ever-evolving treat to cap wedding festivities.
Last night, a senate bill sat on the desk of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer that was, of course, not just a bill. Its contents contained an unprecedented opportunity for a state to write discrimination of LGBT people into public policy rather than alleviate it. If you’ve been watching this case unfold over the last few months, it’s worth noting what has provoked these politicians to the point of drafting and ultimately clearing such a bill.
Wedding cakes—that’s what has gotten us here. Not just any wedding cakes, but “gay” wedding cakes (which is a weird, albeit accurate thing to write). For the past few months, those of us that follow the gay wedding industry closely have watched a mounting debate form with fervor over the right to deny LGBT couples wedding services based on religious freedom. Same-sex couples have sued (and won) against cake companies that have refused their business just for being gay. And this heat has not just stayed in the kitchen.
This has also been a contentious issue for wedding photographers, vendors and plenty of other wedding industry service providers. Ultimately, this confectionary chaos has trickled into our legal system, coinciding unsurprisingly in states left and right (most recently Texas) overturning constitutional bans on same-sex marriage.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has vetoed Senate Bill 1062, which seems like an obvious move both politically and morally. But this is surely not the last public conversation of its kind. It doesn’t actually even stop discrimination from occurring in Arizona since there is no statewide law protecting people on the basis of sexual orientation. Plus, there are others just like SB 1062 floating around senate chambers, with the same real threat to LGBT couples. And though the majority of the public seems to be opposed to such legislation, the rest should consider this:
Marriages evolve, and so do wedding cakes. Oftentimes, they evolve together. Anyone who’s been to a wedding in the last five years can attest to this. Fast dwindling are the days of stuffy cakes topped with a static, formal couple. Some cakes now show off a couple sandwiched between Fido watching Netflix, while others display a wife in her dress—and her husband’s tuxedo pants. Some cakes aren’t even cakes at all, but a cupcake display or a dressed-up cheese wheel.
The point is, stopping same-sex couples from ordering cake is not going to slow progress on marriage equality. Cakes are changing because marriage is changing.
And with that, we hope bakers keep serving up a slice of marriage for all couples, in their infinite flavors and colors. We say, let them eat cake.