IBJNews

Local ordinance could be key in City Market discrimination flap

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A local ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation may give the city the right to take action against a cookie shop operating within Indianapolis City Market that declined to fill an order from a gay-rights group.
 
According to a series of reports from Fox59, the city is investigating whether Just Cookies last week discriminated against a customer when owners declined his request for a special order of rainbow-iced cupcakes for a “National Coming Out Day” event set for Oct. 7 at IUPUI.

Because sexual orientation is one of the categories in which discrimination is forbidden by city ordinance, the city may have the right to penalize the business, which could include a fine, said Michael Blickman, a partner in Indianapolis-based Ice Miller LLP’s employment practice.

However, it's unclear whether the ordinance extends those protections beyond an individual and to a group of people, he said.

“If a person walked up to Just Cookies, say a Latino, and [the business] said, ‘we’re not going to serve you,’ that would clearly violate the ordinance,” Blickman said. “What I don’t know is whether the ordinance extends to a group.”

John Haskin, a local employment discrimination lawyer with Haskin & Larue LLP, said the city ordinance protecting sexual orientation probably doesn't apply at all in this case because it deals only when discrimination is alleged in employment matters, such as the termination of an employee.

“So whether or not the cookie stand violated that ordinance is really questionable,” he said.

The city’s Office of Equal Opportunity is investigating the matter because Just Cookies is a tenant of a city-owned property, and is even considering revoking its lease.

City spokesman Robert Vane said the city was investigating the complaint but had made no decison.

“Our point is that Mayor Ballard wants to make clear that everyone is welcome in the Market,” Vane said. “The city owns the Market and we don’t want there to be a feeling that, because you have a certain belief, you’re not welcome.”

Absent a city ordinance, there would be no basis to argue discrimination, even against a business operating within city-owned property. That’s because neither state nor federal law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, according to attorneys.

“And that is why the spotlight is on the Indianapolis ordinance,” Blickman said. “You might say it is on the cutting edge of anti-discrimination in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Other categories protected by the ordinance are race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability and sex.

Still, most businesses have the right to refuse a customer, said Ken Yerkes, who leads Indianapolis-based Barnes & Thornburg LLP’s employment practice.

“Generally speaking, a private company can decide to whom it will or will not provide services,” he said.

The owners of Just Cookies, David and Lily Stockton, could not be reached for comment Thursday morning.

The Flying Cupcake on Massachusetts Avenue ultimately accommodated the cupcake request of the organizers of the IUPUI gay and lesbian event.
 

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Mr. Haskin Is Wrong
    He should direct some attention to the part of the ordinance about public accommodation, and then get back to us. It's not just about employment, but also about housing and services.
  • Perspective From a Jesus Follower
    For those of you who are not Jesus followers (or Christian if you prefer â?? but the word carries much baggage), know that this is not directed toward you, but you are welcome to peek in on my conversation with my fellow believers. I feel this is a very important topic for us to be discussing, and this story is, in my estimation, a perfect case-study for this discussion.

    First, Iâ??m disappointed in how the owner handled this situation. We do not know the attitudes and words he used with the client, but nonetheless, an obvious mistake was made if he was, indeed, a Jesus follower.

    Look at the example of Jesus and the woman at the well who over time had multiple husbands and was living outside the commitment of marriage with her current lover (John 4). Observe Jesus with the woman who was directly caught in the act of adultery (John 8). Observe Jesus and his interaction with Zacchaeus, an obvious tax-collecting thief and a traitor in the eyes of his countrymen (Luke 19).

    With each of these individuals, Jesus demonstrated love and extended a hand of friendship and fellowship, even though their lifestyle and actions were outside the will of His Father. In other words, their lifestyles did not preclude Jesus from loving and thus serving them. He didnâ??t simply turn his nose up at them and turn his back on them.

    Rather, with all three individuals, it was either implied or explicitly stated that Jesus called each of them to the higher standard of His Father and the Kingdom in the midst of loving and serving them. His act of love and service, at times, was perceived by the populous and even his own disciples, as acceptance of their lifestyles, but in each instance, Jesus ignored and thus dispelled that notion.

    I see this as having direct implications for this man and his cookie company ~ love and serve others and freely call them to the higher standard God has for all humanity.

    By the way, it is important to remember that if the owner of the cookie company chose not to serve those who did not adhere to Godâ??s standards for humanity, then he could not even serve himself. According to our biblical beliefs, we too fall short in differing areas of Godâ??s standard for humanity (Romans 3.23). While it might not be homosexuality, it could be greed, jealousy, bigotry, lust, or any number of areas deemed outside of Godâ??s will. True, the distinction between a Jesus follower and those who have chosen not to follow Him, is that we (hopefully) humbly admit and profess that we donâ??t meet Godâ??s perfect standard for humanity and thus lean on Godâ??s acceptance of Jesusâ?? life in place of our own as the perfect standard; however, even that fact does not change how we love and serve those who have chosen a different faith and life. Rather, it sets the example for us to love and serve others even if they do not return or accept that extended hand of love.


  • Really....
    Mark, the person placing the order was from IUPUI, and she had no "agenda," other than to simply place a custom cookie order, which the store advertises it fills. Cookies have no labels on them, and there was no request for the business to be an official sponsor of any event. A cookie is a common perishable good, and once a cookie goes out the door, a store shouldn't care what happens to it, since the assumption is that it will quickly be consumed. No one called up and said, "Hi, I'm a militant homosexual and you better fill my order." In placing the order, the name of the group came up, that's it. And, no, a store is not free to discriminate based on certain protected traits, including religion, gender, race, veterans status, sexual orientation, etc. It doesn't matter if an owner wants to be "associated with" a group of people, or not. Selling products in general commerce means you have limits on who you can refuse as a customer. This is distinguished from the right to discriminate in ones church, home, or private social or political group. A cookie store is not a church, nor is it a political group. Moreover, it is just a little much for those pretending that had any other group of individuals been discriminated against, they would have just laughed it off. Were a Christian group to ask for an order of a 100 rainbow cookies for their Sunday school as part of teaching the story of the Great Flood from the Bible and a store to refuse to fill the order, the backlash would be incredible. There would be pickets and crowds at the City Market, and people would demand the city terminate the lease of the offending store. Few people would dare to make the dismissive suggestion that the Christian group, "just take their business elsewhere," and those that did would be castigated for being anti-Christian bigots.

    In this particular case, the order should have simply been filled, and that should have been that. There is nothing in any religion or moral system that I have ever heard of that condemns rainbow-colored cookies, nor does selling such cookies reflect any endorsement of homosexuality. Selling cookies is a neutral activity. Finally, whatever a so-called "admitted homosexual" has to say about it is irrelevant. There is a law on the books, and it is set up with a complaint procedure and an enforcement mechanism. Laws exist for a reason, not just to be feel-good measures that sit on the books for no reason. If there is a public policy dispute to engage in concerning the law, then make it by lobbying the City-County Council to repeal the law--and in its entirety, I might add, not just the part concerning sexual orientation, since the claim has been that no group should have "special protections." Or, if the claim is that homosexuality is some reprehensible dangerous trait that society should condemn, then fine, go one step further and take action to make homosexual behavior illegal again. But, don't tell others they cannot request for the law to be enforced when they have experienced the very harm the law seeks to protect them from.
  • More to the story?
    There are a lot of unanswered questions about this situation that would shade whether I believe it is discrimination. Was the person who requested the specialized, gay-pride cookies a representative of an organization openly expressing the organization�s intent with the cookies or was it an individual who just ordered the cookies and the owner questioned their intention? In the former, I can understand the company�s desire to discern with whom they will align themselves. This happens all the time in the business world. If it is the latter, this feels more like discrimination. Is it the cookie company�s practice to refuse service to individuals based on their sexual choice? I would highly doubt this would be the case because it would be obvious discrimination.
    To me, this story feels like an overreaction to a simple issue of a company making a contentious decision not to align itself with another organization that represents tenants with which the cookie company doesn�t want to be associated.
    Just like an earlier post from an admitting homosexual ~ just go find another company who will fulfill the order. Trust me, there are many companies who would want the business. Feel free to tell your friends not to patronize the business, but donââ?¬â?¢t take this to the public like it is some kind of huge injustice. When you do, it just smacks of intolerance and gives the impression that this man and his business has been targeted by a over-reactive group of ââ?¬Å?militantââ?¬Â? homosexuals. That last comment is an obvious stereotype, but it is an honest assessment that only reaffirms the stereotype in the minds of a large portion of the populous whether anyone likes it or not. Perception is reality.
  • Juan, You Must Be Very Confused
    Juan, the issue isn't whether gays are treated better now than in the 1960s. The issue is that there is a law on the city's books prohibiting businesss operating in general commerce in Marion County from refusing service based on a customer's sexual orientation. Whatever the so-called "haters" may or may not think is irrelevant, and if this fuels their fire, so be it. Either the law means something or it doesn't, and if it doesn't mean anything, then it begs the question why do we have the law or ANY law on the books? By your reasoning, we could just ignore all laws because "Gee, there is always something more important to worry about." Moreover, the violation was merely reported, that's all. No one is suing anyone, nor storming the City Market. All the action is being taken by the city itself, as it enforces its own laws. The overreaction has been on the part of those who want to perpetuate discrimination, not on those who were discriminated against. And if the "haters" want to shout, stamp, protest, take arms and bring on a backlash, simply over the city enforcing its own laws, then by all means, they can just go ahead and bring it. At least in the 1960s, people were open about their prejudices.
  • You Missed the Boat
    Again, the issue is not that the store didn't have or wouldn't sell frosted cookies in different colors. They do sell custom cookie orders, and they will decorate them any way a customer so chooses. The issue is the owner objected to gays and didn't want to fill their order. So, your little analogy to Burger King and soy burgers makes no sense, aside from the fact there are no laws protecting vegetarians as a class of people. The correct analogy would be if you went into Burger King and ordered 15 burgers, and the franchise owner said, "Oh, why do you need such a big order?" And you responded, "Oh, I'm taking them to St. John's Church," and the owner replied, "Get out, we don't serve Christians in this store!" That is what happened, except the discrimination was based on sexual orientation.
  • Your Business is Not A Religion
    There are segregationists who have a religious belief that all races should be separate, and if such individuals want to operate a church/religious organization or private social/political club founded on their beliefs, then they have a right to do so. However, when you operate in general commerce, the government can apply regulations which may go against your religious/political/moral beliefs, so long as such regulations are enforced equally. Therefore, a white segregationist who has religious beliefs that African-Americans must be separate from whites cannot refuse to serve African-Americans in his or her place of business. Similarly, the cookie store's owner's beliefs about homosexuality, whether based on his Christian faith or not (and many Christians do not share his views), cannot be a basis to violate the city's anti-discrimination laws. His business is not his religion. Also, aside from the legal obligation not to discriminate, there is nothing logical about refusing to sell cookies to someone because you disagree with them in being in their private life intimate with another consenting adult. The cookies have nothing to do with why they are or not gay, and selling cookies to them doesn't mean you are endorsing their personal life. (I would add that people generally shouldn't even have opinions about what others do in private which has no bearing on them and which involves only consenting adults, but I realize that this sensible bit of advice is wasted on people who think they are on some sort of crusade).
  • Confusion Abounds
    First, the original order was not for cupcakes, it was for cookies. After being turned away, the student group had their order filled by the bakery Flying Cupcake, which apparently is the source of the confusion in some of the news articles about the incident. Second, Just Cookies does fill custom orders, and they advertise that they do so. Third, the original order was for frosted cookies, which is a product Just Cookies sells, and they have all the different colors of icing. Fourth, their refusal to fill an order for rainbow-frosted cookies based on their dislike of the ordering customers' sexual orientation is illegal, regardless of whether one thinks it is or isn't an "indencency."
  • How so?
    How is it an indecency for a cookie shop named "Just Cookies" not to sell cupcakes?
    • Not
      Christians are not being persecuted. That is like saying extremist Muslims are justified to kill infidels because it's their religious belief. Where do you draw the line here? The Christians are persecuting the gay community. It's not like gays and lesbians are picketing the bakery for being religious. If they are picketing it, it's because of discrimination!
    • Constitution
      Folks, if the owners made their decision based on Christian religious beliefs, which clearly teach that homosexuality is immoral and a sin (e.g. Romans 1) then the ordinance is unconstitutional and a facial violation of the First Amendment. Hopefully the owners will call in the Alliance Defense Fund and this case will get to the Supreme Court pronto. Sotomayor and Kagan can't save this one while there are at least 5 votes on the other side. We pray for mercy on the souls of those who persecute Christians and claim discrimination based on how they have sex. May the love of Jesus enter their hearts and turn them from sinful ways.
      • John Haskin was correct!
        Mr. John Haskin, one of the premier employment attorneys in Indiana, was correct in his assertion about the ordinance. Mr. Haskin has been practicing employment law for more than 30 years.
      • Ridiculous comment
        Bionic, you must be very young or have kept your eyes shut for many years to have written "Every act of discrimination, no matter how small, just keeps building into bigger things." The opposite is true today. You should have been around in the 60s.

        If you had, reality would compel you to the incredible gains that homosexuals have experienced over recent years. Every day I see examples of the improvements in the life and life style of gays.

        Is the acceptance of gays as good as it could be, as good as we would like it to be? Of course not.

        But the pretense that THIS kind of controversy will destroy our gains, will REALLY only serve to exacerbate the true "haters" in our world.

        We will win far more acceptance when we use our strength to demonstrate on issues of importance.

        As another has posted, "as long as there are other places I can get the cookies or cupcakes I want, I'll boycott Just Cookies.

        "When Just Cookies has a monopoly, THEN I'll raise holy hell."
        • Never happend to you
          From reading the comments, it sounds like many of the commenters have never been denied service because they are gay, fired from a job because they are gay, taunted and bullied because they are gay, or had friends beaten up because they are gay. Every act of discrimination, no matter how small, just keeps building into bigger things. Its not a religious issue (as some writers have stated) it is a civil rights issue. Deal with it, and get the bakery off of city property.
          • Really?
            So if I go into Burger King and say "I would like a soy burger please", and they tell me no we dont serve your kind, is that discrimination against vegetarians?

            We're talking about what kind of icing is going on a cookie here. If I wanted green frosted cookies and the baker told me, "no I only make pink and white", the I hava choice. Get some pink and white frosted cookies or go elsewhere.

            To make this discrimination it seems you would first have to tie the color of icing directly to a class of people. While the gay community has adopted the rainbow symbolically there is nothing that legally ties those colors to their identity as a class of people. They have no more right to this claim than a black customer insisting that the baker make chocolate chunk or a white person wanting snickerdoodles.
            • Tempest in a teapot. . .or setup?
              Earlier a comment was posted by a gay man who demonstrates common sense when he points out that if this happened to him he'd "buy his cookies or cupcakes elsewhere and move on. If Just Cookies had a monopoly he would raise holy hell."

              How refreshing. I'm with him.

              And I want to compliment IBJ for its excellent coverage of this incident.
            • Why? Why not?
              This is a small infraction of decency------let it go, and it will grow.
              • I agree
                I agree with what you said. I just can't believe that someone would go to the city market to do business with a vendor and get turned down. I am just shocked and very disappointed. When Indy hosts the Super Bowl, is that how we will treat people? What an embarrassment for the city.
                • Open up a can of worms
                  This story leads me to a question on then how can a business sell items at a lower price to some and not others...such as buying a car, or air-time for TV or radio commercials or when a retailer might give someone a "hookup deal" or phone systems for an office...the list is endless. In my business, there are some vendors that won't sell to me period because a competitor of mine already buys from them and they refuse to sell to me. I guess it might be because they aren't refusing service because of civil rights issues, but the line seems blurred. Should I start complaining and bring suit that I am being discriminated against because someone got a lower price on a car or a printer or computer or a service of some sort because I'm female? This just seems way too complicated. I guess I'm just tired of the whining and complaining. If the cookie place said no and that's the real story then that was their loss and not a smart business choice but there could be more to the story that we don't know.
                • Lead Story in Business
                  How does this become the lead story of the business news in Indianapolis?
                  • Strange Comment
                    Irvington, wonderful. Let's go back to the days of segregation. After all, some businesses always would serve African-Americans, just not most of them. But then, according to you, why should they be offended if someone said they wouldn't be served?

                    Yes, it is silly season indeed, when people just don't get that the law restricts the ability of businesses engaged in general commerce to turn people away based on certain characteristics.

                    It's incredible to me that in 2010, we have people who are so blase about (1) breaking the law and (2) a business openly discriminating.

                    Thankfully, what some people think is irrelevant with respect to the enforcement of the law. It's just not that hard for a business to abide by the law, and avoid all this nonesense. But, those that don't can face the consequences.
                    • Clarification
                      This was in response to silly season in the city by CT
                    • Best Posting Yet
                      I'm a gay male and I would not have been offended, I would have just taken my business elsewhere. If it was a monopoly then yeah I would raise hell.

                      I agree with everything in this posting you wrote.
                      • Read the Law Yourself
                        I didn't "hear it somewhere." Here is the link to the law, and perphaps it will end your lunacy: http://library.municode.com/HTML/12016/level3/TIII_C581_AI.html#TIII_C581_AI_s581-103
                      • Am Replying to Your Baseless Accusation
                        Exhausted, nothing in that comment you quoted suggest or implies a threat or that I will commit any act of physical violence. Saying someone will choke on their own bile, which means their own hatred, is a figure of speech, and it certainly dosn't imply I am going to choke anyone. Nor does my comment about cookies imply violence. How would I make someone choke on cookies they ate? It's just nuttiness, and you know it.

                        Also, if you act insane, I will call you insane. Your comments relect either a delusional mind, or a purposeful atttempt on your part to distract from the issue.

                        Again, I stand by every single word I have written.
                      • Federal Preemption Doesn't Apply
                        Exhausted, there are no federal laws which guarantee a business a right to violate local or state anti-discrimination laws. Again, the only exception is for religious groups and private social/political groups, e.g. the Boy Scouts, or even the KKK. Many states have laws on their books banning discrimination based on sexual orientation, and these laws have survived challenge, based on various different grounds.
                      • Think first
                        You stated:
                        "I am not sure whether you will choke on your own bile or on the cookies first. But, in either case, you are well on your way"
                        This sounds like a veiled threat of a hope for a violent end.

                        Don't bother replying unless you can have a discussion without personal attacks or un-researched arguments.
                        Just because you heard it somewhere or you put on line neither makes it accurate or verifiable
                        • Read the Darn Law
                          Exhausted, you ARE exhausting. The law defines public accomodation, as "an establishment which caters to or offers its services, facilities or goods to the general public." That includes a privately owned business like MacDonald's or the cookie store which caters to or offers services, facilities or goods to the general public. You are confusing publicly OWNED with public accomodation. A public accomodation does NOT mean publicly owned, it includes privately owned enterprises.
                        • And You Don't Understand the Constitution
                          Also, Exhausted (and I am feeling exhausted reading your craziness), nothing in the Constitution or the Bill or Rights has been construed to support illegal discrimination. When anti-segregation laws were passed, business owners tried that argument, claiming they had a "right" to refuse service to blacks based on their moral, political or religious beliefs. Guess what? They didn't win. The only time anti-discrimination laws have some First Amendment exemption is with respect to religious organizations and private social/political clubs, like the Boy Scouts. A business catering to the general public, even if owned by a religious or "morally objecting" individual does not fall within these narrow exemptions.
                        • Which law?
                          Chris,
                          Show me the law? The quoted city ordinance simply states access to public areas is guaranteed. A business in not public but private. It sells to the public based on the business model.

                          And as mentioned Federal law preempts local law.
                          • Vitriol
                            Chris,
                            Your comments smack of a physical threat to John. Why is it that people in this day and age can not disagree without resorting to violence? Perhaps it is a lack of education or dearth of language skills?
                            For one I do not condone this lifestyle but if it is your choice then you are free to do so. Lashing out at those that stand opposed simply because you fail to have the oratory ability to argue a persuasive case simply shows you speak before you consider the veracity of your words.

                            Learn the constitution and the bill of rights. Consider that all groups are capable of being infringed upon including the "Straight Coalition".
                            • Yes, They Did Violate the Law
                              Exhausted, there are people with personal beliefs against associating with black people. However, if they run a business catering to the general public, then they must serve them. Similarly, in Indianapolis, whether you personally believe or object to homosexuality, if you operate a business, you must serve and treat your homosexual customers the same as any other customer. A business owner cannot say they won't fill an order because they object to gay people. It is illegal. It's that simple. Stamp your feet all you like, but that is the law. And a smart business owner who wants to make money, shoudn't care. The more people served, the more money one makes.
                              • CT, You Are Silly
                                CT, the issue is not whether people support "tolerance," or not. The issue is that unlike the operation of a church or social or religious group, a business serving the general public has certain constraints and obligations placed on it. The personal beliefs of the owners are irrelevant with respect to these legal constraints and obligations. One legal constraint in Marion County is that a business many not deny service on the basis of sexual orientation. Contrary to your comments, the owner does fill special orders, and while he could refuse special orders on other grounds, his personal objections to homosexuality is not a legally accepted ground to refuse a special order. Being a racist is not a protected trait under the law, so your comment about KKK cookies is irrelevant. However, under the law sexual orientation, whether gay, straight, bisexual, etc, IS a protected trait in Marion County and all businesses located there may not discriminate against customers based on this trait. It is silly season indeed in Indianapolis--it is very silly that in 2010 we still have people engaging in and defending illegal discrimination.
                              • is there only one cookie store?
                                i guess i'm too old to understand why this is news. anyone can walk up to that counter and can buy cookies already baked. someone wanted a special order and were refused. are they required to make penis-shaped cookies if i wanted them? there are other cookie stores. sorry, but i don't get it.
                              • America the downtrodden
                                The business owners did not violate any laws, infringe on any personal rights or operate unethically. If this is their belief then they have the right guaranteed by the constitution to exercise this belief.

                                Many classes of people are treated far worse everyday and instead of inciting this style of quasi reverse political correctness wrapped up in a paper thin charge of discrimination. The gall of any group to attempt to punish someone because they differ in opinion is guilty of heresy and should be prosecuted for slander and harassment.

                                When is this madness going to stop? Your sexual orientation is a personal lifestyle choice not a right guaranteed. Forcing the population at large to accommodate your choices even though the majority feels different is a populist way to be trendy and edgy

                                Live your life; don't force others to live it as well.
                                • silly season in Indy
                                  This is a family-owned company that has stayed in the City Market for over 20 yrs, and the press and some on the left appear to delight at the chance to drive them out of business over political correctness run amok. These are good people who made the "mistake" of not wanting their childen to believe that their parents were allowing their business to be used to celebrate a coming out event. While these aren't my beliefs, and I would have taken the order, it's not my store. These analogies to racism are ludicrous! If they had said no to making cupcakes decorated with burning crosses for the KKK, no one would be attacking them, most of all the GLBT community. I'm a Dem who supports tolerance at all levels, but this is insanity.

                                  I'm certain Dave believed he was rightfully practicing his beliefs. If it turns out that this is a violation of the ordinance, I think they would act differently next time. If not, then the City Market may not be the right place for their business. But let the facts air out, and give all the affected parties the chance to understand what should have happened and prevent it from happening again.
                                  • The city looks ridiculous
                                    I visited Indy many, many years ago, and I have a hard time believing that city officials in America's heartland have nothing better to do than bully some small shop-keeper. It's sickening....SHAME ON YOU,
                                    CITY OF INDIANAPOLIS! Don't you have better things to do...like fix potholes and keep the streets clean? Those worthless scumbags at city hall should all by fired.
                                    • Clarification please, Kelly
                                      I hope you were being sarcastic... if so, I missed it the first time I read your comment!
                                    • Clarification please, Kelly
                                      "Stand by your convictions" That's what you said... Convictions are generally based on one's morals. You also mentioned that at one point in time, certain people weren't allowed in certain establishments or that they weren't allowed to use the same drinking fountains. Are you saying that the owners of those businesses stood by there convictions (ie: thought it was morally correct) and didn't let "certain people" in, and that was OK?
                                      What year is it? 1963?
                                    • Cookies Schmookies
                                      It is a fact that there are far too many people looking for ways to be offended. If the proprietor didn't want to make the cupcakes, you move on elsewhere which is what the customer did. So why is this now a problem that so many people seem to be so knotted up about? A location was found and the cupcake order is being filled. How about moving on???

                                      Goodness.......
                                    • Support business
                                      All I know is I will take every opportunity to give this business my business. I know where to BUY MY COOKIES!
                                      • This is unbelievable!
                                        The group wasn't denied service, they were denied a special order request. What if they asked for penis shaped cookies--would the owners have to do that? This is not refusing service, it was refusing a special order.
                                      • You are state property
                                        The obvious "moral" to this story is that citizens (especially business owners) are property of the state. Citizens aren't free to make decisions on their own...they must obey their masters. How did a nice Midwestern town become so Stalinist?
                                      • You are state property
                                        The obvious "moral" to this story is that citizens (especially business owners) are property of the state. Citizens aren't free to make decisions on their own...they must obey their masters. How did a nice Midwestern town become so Stalinist?
                                      • Refusal of Service
                                        David and Lilly -

                                        I don't know whether or not you violated the law by denying service to the group of gay teens who wanted to purchase cookies decorated with rainbow colors.

                                        I do belive, however, that you were within your rights to do so.

                                        Don't forget, many businesses have made the choice to refuse service based on their personal beliefs throughout the years.

                                        Remember when particular groups of people weren't even allowed to enter the door? They also couldn't drink from the water fountain or use the restroom either.

                                        Stand by your convictions....it's a great lesson for your daughter.

                                      • Freedom
                                        Brian...if you have ever been descriminated against then you would understand and not call them gay activist trouble makers! Why don't you turn the tables and see hoiw you feel...close minded *%&$#@*&%$@
                                      • that's right
                                        Amen. Anyone with a conviction of right and wrong is a bigot. This makes CT and the bakery owners bigots. Unless they agree with MY sense of right and wrong, in which case they should stand their ground.
                                      • Shame on Just Cookies
                                        I agree that if this was an African American group being denied that the uproar would have been deafening. This has been just as much a discriminating act as that would have been. It is when you add up all the "little" discriminating acts that parents do that we find children feeling ok in committing hate crimes. I know I will not be ever buying cookies from Just Cookies ever again and will be telling all I know to also not patronize this establishment either. I do not condone any type of discrimination small or large.
                                      • Sorry - you are wrong
                                        While the IBJ article does not give all the details, the original interview clearly quoted the owner giving reasons other than that they don't make cupcakes for declining to provide service. He reference their reasons as 'family values' and 'impressionable young daughters' who happen to be 17 and 20 and apparently have some issue with rainbow sprinkles.
                                      • It they want to discriminate, then move their location
                                        I agree that a private company retains the rights to refuse service; however, when that refusal takes place on property the public paid for and is owned by the city - then the issue is much bigger. It'd be like denying elephant ears to obese people at the State Fair.
                                      • trouble maker
                                        Well I guess standing up for yourself to have basic human rights now means you are a troublemaker. I myself will never purchase another cookie from them(which is a part of my afternoon routine)& I am not a member of the GLBT community.... I just wouldnâ??t want to influence their impressionable daughters with my crazy troublemaking ways of treating all people equally regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation.
                                      • double standard?
                                        â??Our point is that Mayor Ballard wants to make clear that everyone is welcome in the Market,â?? Vane said. â??The city owns the Market and we donâ??t want there to be a feeling that, because you have a certain belief, youâ??re not welcome.â??

                                        Unless your belief is you dont want to support the Gay community, then I guess you are not welcome.

                                        My text letters to post my comment should be: WTFIUWT?
                                      • It is NOT bigotry
                                        The gay folks have a right to have their event. This is America. The cookie folks have the right to NOT make custom cookies for the event, and according to their perspective, not be at least tacit supporters of the objectives of the event. This is America. You can exist and thrive and flourish. You do NOT have the right to demand that I endorse your activities.
                                        • Thank you
                                          Thank you for being honest...the key to any success is not giving out more info than is required. Why does anyone feel that they have to give an excuse. We cannot accomodate your order at this time...is all that needed to be said.
                                          There was a story last year about a grocery store bakery refusing to write " Happy Birthday Adolf Hitler" for a 3 year old whose parents named him for namesake. The parents are now in jail and this child and the siblings are in state custody. A bar can refuse to serve someone that's drunk, they should not have to cite a reason...it's there own business and personal morals that they choose to live up to.
                                        • BIGOTS
                                          So it's okay for them to teach their children that it's okay to lie. You seem just as biggoted as them, CT. Will I guess bigots stick together.
                                          • BIGOTS
                                            Not only are they teaching their children not to be tolerant, they are also teaching their children it's okay to lie. SHAME
                                          • A little perspective please...
                                            Dave and Lily are two of the nicest people you will ever meet. They did not discriminate against individuals. Rather, they did not want their business to participate in an event of an advocacy group with whom they have different beliefs. When did having a different belief system on a person's public display of their sexual orientation become prejudice or racism? There is no indication whatsoever that they have ever discriminated against individuals. News organizations representing it as such are distorting this story.

                                            I am confident that when Dave spoke with this organization, he did not realize that he may be violating the city's ordinance. The Stocktons are not discrimination attorneys, they bake cookies. Cut them some slack.

                                            Just Cookies has been with the City Market through thin and thin. If it leaves, I will leave with them. Not as a political statement, but because they are the only reason I frequent the Market in the first place.

                                            Let's give the City and Just Cookies some space to resolve this issue in a way that can accommodate everyone satisfactorily. Nobody is perfect.
                                            • Cookies vs cupcakes
                                              Scooter, if they've ever made cupcakes on special order, for ANYONE, or if they make and sell them along with cookies, then it could be reasonably expected that they might be willing to fulfill a large special cupcake order.
                                            • Freedom
                                              Bigots, and parents protecting their children, have a right to speak freely, just like the homosexual activist trouble makers.
                                              • Very interesting...but stupid
                                                Interesting legal questions. Is a private business leasing space on city property considered a "public accommodation"? Does the First Amendment trump a city ordinance, or vice versa, when the intent of both is to allow freedom? Can the idea of a medical "conscience clause" be extended to nonmedical commerce?

                                                And can the owners of businesses who discriminate against people for their perceived sinfulness PLEASE warn the public by posting one of those Jesus fishes prominently in the shop window? That way we know which businesses to avoid.
                                              • Good Job
                                                David and Lily...way to go, here here, I support you 100%...you sell cookies. You should not allow some loud mouth headline seeker to force you into changing the way you do business. Homosexual activism is why the homosexual community get such a bad rap. A few glory seekers are ruining it for them. Say no to cupcakes, and YES to delicious cookies.
                                              • Oh Brother
                                                It's silly that this has gotten so blown out of proportion. If I was Just Cookies, I'd find a new place for the bakery and tell the city SMELL YA LATER. Business is not knocking down the doors to get in that nasty place anyway.
                                              • A gay man's perspective
                                                Okay...what isn't being shared clearly enough is that this is A COOKIE BUSINESS. Where in their name does it say CUPCAKE? They were not refused because of their sexual orientation it was because A COOKIE PLACE DOES NOT MAKE CUPCAKES.
                                              • Except That...
                                                James, you're ignoring the U.S. Constitution which protects free speech and more importantly religious beliefs and practices on government property. A local ordinance doesn't overrule the Constitution.

                                                Angi, yes there is a difference. Sexual orientation is not a protected class under the Constitution or the Civil Rights Act. Plus, the owner has constitutional protections to express ideas and religous viewpoints. In this country we don't discriminate against people because they have unpopular ideas.
                                              • RE:well
                                                Rick....now you're talking. You have just exposed how you "savvy" business people discriminate against people. That a boy, lay it all out there for everybody to see how to get around the laws and discriminate against people!

                                                Good one....lets just hope nobody ever finds out who you are so you can be covertly discriminated against.
                                              • Ordinance seems pretty clear
                                                Upon reading this story about the potential consequences of this obvious discriminatory act, I read up on the current city/county law. It seems pretty clear:

                                                Sec. 581-101. - Findings and purposes.

                                                (a)The council finds that the practice of denying equal opportunities in employment, education, access to and use of public accommodations, and acquisition of real estate based on race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or United States military service veteran status is contrary to the principles of freedom and equality of opportunity and is a burden to the objectives of the policies contained herein and shall be considered discriminatory practices.

                                                (b)It is the purpose of this chapter to carry out the following policies of the city and county:

                                                (1) To provide equal employment opportunity in all city and county jobs without regard to race, color, religion, disability, national origin, ancestry, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or United States military service veteran status;

                                                (2) To encourage the hiring of the persons with disabilities in both the public and the private sectors and to provide persons with disabilities with equal access to public accommodations;

                                                (3) To utilize businesses owned by persons with disabilities;

                                                (4) To protect employers, labor organizations, employment agencies, property owners, real estate brokers, builders, lending institutions, governmental and educational agencies and other persons from unfounded charges of discrimination;

                                                (5) To provide all citizens of the city and county equal opportunity for education, employment, and access to public accommodations without regard to race, religion, color, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, ancestry, age, or United States military service veteran status; and

                                                (6) To provide all citizens of the city and county equal opportunity for acquisition through purchase or rental of real property including, but not limited to, housing without regard to race, religion, color, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, familial status, national origin, ancestry, age or United States military service veteran status.
                                              • Jim Crow in Indy?
                                                Someone made the comment that a privately owned business can choose whom to serve or not; would that be the case if the customer was Asian, African-American or Latino? No: in that case, the business would be sued and put out of business. I see no difference in this instance. Racism is racism, exclusion is exclusion, prejudice is prejudice, no matter which group is seeking service.
                                              • I mean not disrespec to anyone.....
                                                I hope I don't sound ingnorant, but my gut reaction to this story is that the owners of the business have the right to not participate in an event that does not fit into their belief's. From what I read in this story and another published in another newspaper led me to beleive that one of the owners spoke irresponsibly and offended many; but that doesn't negate the owners from their right not to support an orginazation that differs with their beliefs. It was an unfortunate choice of words, and I was in the group of people who were offended. I do support the owners choice not to partiicpate though....and it wouldn't surprise me if their business suffers from the bad taste they left in many mouths as a result of poorly chosen words.
                                              • Cookies not Cupcakes
                                                lso, Mayor Ballard states "The city owns the Market and we donâ??t want there to be a feeling that, because you have a certain belief, youâ??re not welcome.â?? Well Mr. Mayor, what about the beliefs of the business owners. If this had been a Christian organization that wanted cookies with Jesus on them, there would be NO uproar now.
                                              • well
                                                If the owners were smart enough to say "we don't sell cupcakes, just cookies" then we wouldn't be involved in this kerfluffle. Instead, they said it would be a bad example to their daughters to sell rainbow cupcakes. If a bigot wants to be a successful businessperson, they need to be more discrete.
                                                • Not just about cookies or cupcakes
                                                  If you read the entire interviews by Fox - the owners specifically refused to serve the group based on their 'family values' toward gays. They are welcome to their right to refuse service to anyone - and the rest of us have every right to help them close their business. This made national news - and I don't think the city wants to be portrayed as anti-gay. Just cookies made their choice to voice sentiments that were not necessary in order to refuse service. They could simply have stated that they couldn't fulfill the order and left it at that. Having made the choice to voice their bigotry - let them now live with the results of that mean-spirited choice. Remember that when the rights of any group are denied, the liberties of us all are compromised.
                                                  • When was a rainbow a bad thing?
                                                    I was amazed when I first heard about the incident. I can see refusing to decorate the cookies or cupcakes with sexually explicit graphics or language, but a rainbow? Regardless of one's beliefs a rainbow hardly seems threatening.
                                                  • give it a rest
                                                    I don't think the city wants to loose a vendor; and I doubt the vendor will do this again. Can't we all move on.
                                                  • Gimme A Break
                                                    Just because a shop did not accomodate a special order request does not mean they violated the law. You notice is does not say why they declined the order and if they did not indicate then it is all speculation. Just cookies has been one of the very few reliable tenants at the City Dump er Market over the years.
                                                  • Really?
                                                    David and Lily Stockton, you should be ashamed of yourselves and your business.
                                                  • Actuallly
                                                    The City could get in big trouble legally if they try to kick out Just Cookies. The Constitution protects that owner's right to exercise his religious views. Like it or not, the City can't kick someone out because they have unpopular religious views.
                                                  • cupcakes
                                                    If this had been an African-American group, or Senior Citizen group, or Republican group, would there be any hesitation about kicking the bakery out of a city owned property? The refused to sell to a gay group, they are on city property being partially subsidized with my tax $$$. They need to go.
                                                  • This is Crazy
                                                    This is a COOKIE place, not a cupcake place. I bet if I go to a Muslim cookie shop and ask them to make cookies with Ala on them, I bet they wouldn't do it!!
                                                    • cookies
                                                      Regardless of the law, now I know where NOT to buy cookies.

                                                      Post a comment to this story

                                                      COMMENTS POLICY
                                                      We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
                                                       
                                                      You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
                                                       
                                                      Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
                                                       
                                                      No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
                                                       
                                                      We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
                                                       

                                                      Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

                                                      Sponsored by
                                                      ADVERTISEMENT

                                                      facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

                                                      Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
                                                      Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
                                                       
                                                      Subscribe to IBJ
                                                      1. Can your dog sign a marriage license or personally state that he wishes to join you in a legal union? If not then no, you cannot marry him. When you teach him to read, write, and speak a discernible language, then maybe you'll have a reasonable argument. Thanks for playing!

                                                      2. Look no further than Mike Rowe, the former host of dirty jobs, who was also a classically trained singer.

                                                      3. Current law states income taxes are paid to the county of residence not county of income source. The most likely scenario would be some alteration of the income tax distribution formula so money earned in Marion co. would go to Marion Co by residents of other counties would partially be distributed to Marion co. as opposed to now where the entirety is held by the resident's county.

                                                      4. This is more same-old, same-old from a new generation of non-progressive 'progressives and fear mongers. One only needs to look at the economic havoc being experienced in California to understand the effect of drought on economies and people's lives. The same mindset in California turned a blind eye to the growth of population and water needs in California, defeating proposal after proposal to build reservoirs, improve water storage and delivery infrastructure...and the price now being paid for putting the demands of a raucous minority ahead of the needs of many. Some people never, never learn..

                                                      5. I wonder if I can marry him too? Considering we are both males, wouldn't that be a same sex marriage as well? If they don't honor it, I'll scream discrimination just like all these people have....

                                                      ADVERTISEMENT