Sweden: Investigation launched after Christian refuses to make cake for same-sex wedding

28-07-2023

Northern Europe

Lennart Nijenhuis, CNE.news

A wedding cake with a male couple. Photo AFP, Gabriel Bouys

A Swedish bakery has been reported to the Discrimination Ombudsman after refusing to make a wedding cake for a gay couple. But the Christian bakers think it was a set-up all along.

In hindsight, they already suspected something was wrong, say the Christian owners of the bakery in the Swedish capital, Stockholm. They suspected that the customer was "fishing for something" when he requested the wedding cake by email.

The owners explain that most orders are about price, size, appearance and taste. However, the person who sent the email requested whether ordering a wedding cake for a same-sex wedding was possible. "They must have been fully aware that we are believers," the owner states to the Swedish Christian daily Dagen. According to the newspaper, the owners are clear about their Christian faith on the website and at social media.

Story

Nevertheless, the Discriminatory Ombudsman says it is launching an investigation into the affair. The complainant states in a report that the baker came up with a "long, religious story" to explain why they did not want to cooperate. According to the report, the baker said, "We respect you as people, (...), but we do not want to compromise our faith by making such a cake."

Meanwhile, the bakery owners believe that they have not discriminated against anyone at all. "We have many LGBTQ customers who order cakes and bread from us. But when it comes to wedding cakes, it becomes very special, because we believe it is a symbol of a holy sacrament. We don't want to compromise our faith." The owners further state that they are not worried about the outcome of the investigation. "We have God with us."

Cake

This is not the first time a Christian baker has been in the news in this way. One well-known case played out in 2014 in Northern Ireland, where a baker turned down a request to bake a cake with the call "Support Gay Marriage." A court twice convicted this baker for discrimination against homosexuals. Had it been about "Support Marriage," the baker would have made that cake, so he was making a difference because of that homosexuality, the court stated. The British Supreme Court, however, disagreed. According to that court, the problem with the cake was with the message and not the sexual orientation. That caused the opposing party to go to the European court in Strasbourg. However, that court did not take the case.

That vice versa, Christians can be refused as customers was recently demonstrated in Norway. There, a window cleaner refused to wash the windows of a church because they wished to remain neutral.

Chain

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