Not only are gay choir directors feeling the wrath of bigotry, but another long-standing domain of the workforce seems to be under attack: the world of the gay cake decorator.
Alternative weekly Miami New Times (why are these ridiculous stories so often from Florida?) has reported receiving numerous complaints in the past few weeks from employees of Publix, the state’s largest supermarket chain, with claims of anti-LGBT bias. The investigation unearthed a complaint from 2012, in which the company was fined almost $100,000 for firing a bakery employee, Richard Glisson, for being openly gay.
Seriously? They fired a gay cake decorator?
From Miami New Times:
“We conclude that Mr. Glisson has proven his case of discrimination,” the [Broward County Human Rights Board] decided….”the real motivating factor behind Mr. Glisson’s termination was impermissible discrimination based upon his sexual orientation.”
The board then awarded Glisson $98,408. Publix is appealing the decision, but Glisson’s attorney, Scott Behren, expects a final decision in the next few months.
The New Times investigation suggests that Publix is rampant with antigay prejudice, but that is perhaps stretching things a bit. Yes, Publix has a score of zero on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index, but that is mainly because they haven’t completed the survey. It would be nice if Publix played along, but HRC doesn’t automatically get to say Publix is a bully simply because the supermarket chain won’t come over and play in their Equality sandbox.
Nevertheless, Publix isn’t looking good. Even if all those complaints to the New Times are merely vengeful workers looking to cause some trouble, there really is no excuse for a Fortune 500 company the size of Publix to fail to offer domestic partner benefits — other than simply not wanting to do so. Rude. They also should join the current millennium and include sexual orientation on their anti-discrimination statement, which is noticeably absent.
We are particularly perplexed by Publix apparently trying to change the rules for jobs that are inherently in the gay domain. Who is next? Professional figure skaters? Wedding coordinators? Hairdressers? Will airline passengers begin to feign surprise when flamboyant flight attendants sashay down the aisle offering sacks of nuts? We should all take a moment to check in with our female gym teachers from years gone by, and make sure everything is okay with them. None of us are safe.
And really, why is it that the new battle ground for LGBT equality is being fought, literally, over cakes? First antigay bigot bakers won’t bake cakes for same-sex weddings, and now gays aren’t even allowed to pick up a piping bag with a rosette tip. Why is the world of cake decorating so important to the Christian Right?
We shudder to think what would happen if gay men were pushed out of the cake decorating trade. We’d all end up with cakes that look like this.