A Tennessee lesbian couple who were turned away by a Christian baker will get the wedding cake of their dreams for free, thanks to a gay cake designer.

Tennessee couple Brandi Ray and Michele Schmidt spoke out after the owner of cake shop Susie’s Sweets claimed that her “spiritual conviction and beliefs” prevent her from making their wedding cake.



Brandi Ray was informed via text on February 23 that her $550 wedding cake order would be cancelled.

However, the brides-to-be will now have an even more incredible cake at their same-sex wedding, thanks to a local gay cake designer.

Gay cake designer Jay Qualls will make free cake for rejected lesbian couple

Jay Qualls, who has appeared on reality baking show The Next Great Baker, reached out to the couple to offer them a custom cake design for free.

Speaking to the Tenneseean, he revealed the couple could have “anything they want” on the cake.

The issue is emotional for Qualls, who came out later in life and himself experienced discriminatory treatment from a wedding venue when he got married three years ago.

Jay Qualls on TV show The Next Great Baker
Jay Qualls on TV show The Next Great Baker.

Qualls, who has been in the cake industry for more than 30 years, told the newspaper: “This has to stop. It’s discriminatory.

“I can’t sit back and allow this, as a gay man who has a very healthy and meaningful life with two adult children who are loved, and a very meaningful relationship.”

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He added that he has “sat across from thousands of couples over the years” but had not discriminated against anyone. “When you are serving the public, you have to be willing to serve all the public.”

Lesbian couple thankful for flood of support after wedding cake row

Ray said she was “shocked and grateful for all the positive support.”

In her message to Ray, bakery owner Susie Dennison wrote: “I really enjoyed our time together and I truly wish you the best but after realising that your union will be of the same sex, I cannot with my spiritual conviction and beliefs, do your cake!”

She added: “I want you to know in saying that, I do love you in The Lord!

“Had I known before you left, I would have said something then!”

The Tennessee bakery owner’s husband, Paul Dennison, confirmed the details to  Tennessee’s NewsChannel 5.

He explained that it is not the first time that the business has declined to make a cake for a same-sex couple, citing the family’s religious convictions.

Ray has said she is not interested in taking legal action against the baker.

It is unclear if any action could be taken, as there is no state-wide law banning discrimination against LGBT+ people in Tennessee, and no federal law on the issue.




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