Published September 29, 2010
Officials in Indianapolis are turning up the heat on a bakery that refused to take an order from a student group seeking rainbow-colored cupcakes for next month's National Coming Out Day.
A spokesman for Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard said city officials are conducting an inquiry into the bakery, Just Cookies, which declined to take the order last week from a diversity group at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), which ordered the cupcakes for Oct. 11.
"The city's position is, it's the city's market, it's a public place," mayoral spokesman Robert Vane told FoxNews.com. "There is no litmus test for buying services or products at the City Market."
Just Cookies owner Lilly Stockon defended her bakery's decision last week, first telling Fox 59 that the shop doesn't make cupcakes, and then telling a reporter that she didn't have sufficient materials to make the rainbow colors.
But her co-owner husband, David Stockton, said he had a different reason for refusing to take the order.
"I explained we're a family-run business, we have two young, impressionable daughters and we thought maybe it was best not to do that," he told Fox 59.
Enter the city officials.
"Whatever this gentleman's personal views are, it cannot interfere with the providing of a service or allowing someone to buy their goods," Vane said.
Calls to the bakery went unanswered on Wednesday. Attempts to reach members of the student group were unsuccessful, but a friend of the customer who placed the order questioned David Stockon's reasoning.
"I don't want to topple anybody at all," Rebecca Scherpelz told Fox 59. "I just think it's important we ask ourselves and Just Cookies asks themselves why they made the statement, why they're making these choices and how it's ultimately affecting their business and the community as a whole."
The controversy has prompted an Indianapolis radio station to hold a "Gay Cupcake Party" on Friday. As of early Wednesday, nearly 400 people had indicated that they planned to attend the event.
Vane, meanwhile, said city officials are working to determine whether the order was refused because the bakery couldn't provide the desired product or because something else was at play.
"It's the other proprietor stating his personal views, that's the problem, because that's not the image of the City Market and the image Mayor Ballard is trying to portray," Vane told FoxNews.com. "That's beyond the pale."
Stevi Stoesz, a spokeswoman for City Market, a nonprofit organization with a 13-member board of directors, said officials there found the bakery's alleged conduct inappropriate.
"As a public marketplace, we find it unacceptable, and this is very much an equal accommodations establishment," Stoesz told FoxNews.com. "We are working with the mayor's office and city [attorneys] to resolve the issue expediently."
Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said the "truly unfortunate" incident should be investigated.
"Rainbow cupcakes are simply a tasty way to celebrate values of diversity and acceptance," Carey said in a statement to FoxNews.com. "That anyone would object to serving them is truly unfortunate. Acts of possible discrimination should always be taken seriously and investigated."