A Brisbane same-sex couple planning to wed in New Zealand have had their request for a wedding cake refused by a baker who told them same-sex ceremonies are against her beliefs.
Moe Barr and Sasha Patrick got engaged last year and had planned a wedding for the small northern New Zealand town of Waipu next January, before marriage equality was legalised in Australia last December.
The couple approached Kath’s Devine Cakes in Warkworth for a wedding cake, but received an email from the business owner telling them New Zealand’s marriage equality was not correct and she would not be supplying the cake.
“I do not wish to offend either of you and I thank you for letting me know that it is a same-sex wedding,” read the email, signed Kath, according to Stuff.co.nz.
“Even though as individuals you are both fabulous and amazing people, I must follow the integrity of my heart and beliefs.
“Our government has legalised same sex marriages, but it is not my belief that it is correct, therefore I will not support it and cannot make your wedding cake for you.”
Ms Patrick said the couple were “really surprised” to get the email.
“We’ve been really open about the fact that it’s a same-sex wedding and had absolutely no problems with any of the other vendors,” she said.
“You just don’t expect to get a response like that these days.”
Barr is from Canada and Patrick, born in New Zealand, will welcome friends and relatives flying in from around the world to their wedding.
“We’re glad we found out at this point because it could have really affected our plans if it had happened closer to the wedding,” Patrick said.
“But ever since we shared the email on Facebook we’ve had other offers to make the cake which we’ll look in to.”
New Zealand’s Human Rights Act states that it is unlawful to discriminate against anyone because of their sexual orientation, but international treaties uphold the right to freedom of religion and belief, Stuff.co.nz reported.
A similar, high-profile case in the US went all the way to the Supreme Court after a gay couple complained of discrimination when Colorado baker Jack Phillips refused to bake them a wedding cake.
Last month, the court sided with Phillips but dodged the larger question of whether a business can invoke religious objections to refuse service to gay and lesbian people.