Court Rules Against Anti-Gay “Abomination” FL Cake Customer

Court Rules Against Anti-Gay “Abomination” FL Cake Customer Robert Mannarino and in favor of Cut the Cake

Following harassment induced by former televangelist Joshua Feuerstein against Cut The Cake bakery in Florida in 2015, a man named Robert Mannarino attempted to purchase a cake with an anti-gay message. Mannarino’s request to buy a cake with the message “Homosexuality is an abomination unto the Lord” was seen as a prank by the bakery after Feuerstein published a recording of his interaction that led to relentless harassment and death threats (you can see Mannarino’s copycat video here).

After suing the bakery for discrimination, courts just ruled against Mannarino finding they did not violate the law in treating him in a discriminatory manner.

The Orlando Weekly reported:

A mother-and-daughter bakery did not discriminate against a potential customer when the owners refused to make a cake with an anti-gay slogan, an administrative law judge decided this week.

Administrative Law Judge J. Bruce Culpepper’s recommended order in favor of Cut the Cake comes nearly two years after the Central Florida bakery was targeted by Arizona evangelist Joshua Feuerstein for refusing to make a cake with an anti-gay marriage message.

In the administrative challenge, potential customer Robert Mannarino accused Cut the Cake —- co-owned by Sharon Haller and her daughter, Cyndol Knarr —- of religious discrimination when the women refused to make a cake with the words “Homosexuality is an abomination unto the Lord.”

Mannarino turned to the administrative court after the Florida Commission on Human Relations last summer told the Pinellas Park resident the commission did not have jurisdiction to consider his complaint because the Longwood bakery —- which has since moved to Orlando —- was not a place of “public accommodation,” which means anti-discrimination policies would not apply

Prior to Mannarino’s call, the owners of the bakery were the subject of an ongoing harassment campaign brought on by Feuerstein publishing a call to the bakery for a similar anti-LGBTQ cake followed by a call to action to his viewers to harass the bakery.

Orlando Weekly added:

Believing Mannarino’s request for a cake to be a prank, Knarr sarcastically quoted a price of $150 per letter, bringing the cost of the confection to nearly $6,000. She hung up when Mannarino told her he was recording the call.

During the hearing, Mannarino maintained that he was a devout Christian and “reads the Bible often,” according to the ruling issued Thursday. But, the judge noted, Mannarino was “unable to provide another biblical verse from memory” when pressed at the final hearing in October.

Cut the Cake bakery is owned by Christians, in fact, who advertise many of the Christian-themed cakes they’ve made for previous customers.

The judge took this into account (along with the message and context of the call following Feuerstein’s video the plaintiff was apparently recreating) in his decision.

Mannarino “presented no direct or statistical evidence of religious discrimination,” Judge Culpepper wrote. “Petitioner did not offer evidence or elicit testimony that Cut the Cake refused to provide him a baked good specifically because he was a Christian. (In fact, all Cut the Cake did was quote a price for the cake, then hang up the phone without completing his order).”

The judge also pointed out Mannarino’s inability to quote the Bible and his lack of actually attending any church in proving his claim to be a devout Christian.

Judge Culpepper noted he “displayed questionable knowledge about the Bible” arguing that although Mannarino testified the cake message was a direct biblical quote, “the undersigned finds that it is not.”

The decision closes a two year saga for the business that began when a so-called Christian took it upon himself to encourage his legion of followers to harass and issue death threats.

Not coincidentally, Mannarino is the same man who filed an identical complaint against a Colorado bakery (also in 2015).

RELATED:

Tim Peacock is the Managing Editor and founder of Peacock Panache and has worked as a civil rights advocate for over twenty years. During that time he's worn several hats including leading on campus LGBT advocacy in the University of Missouri campus system, interning with the Colorado Civil Rights Division, and volunteering at advocacy organizations. You can learn more about him at his personal website.

Comments

Loading Disqus Comments ...

Leave a Reply

Loading Facebook Comments ...