The owner of Susie’s Sweets, Susie Dennison, declined to sell a wedding cake to a couple after discovering they were gay, sparking a debate on social media. Dennison’s husband confirmed with NewsChannel 5 that the owner had refused service based on their religious beliefs. Here’s what you need to know about the bakery and what happened.
1. Brandi Ray Said Dennison Wrote Her & Said She Couldn’t Do Her Cake Because of Her Spiritual Conviction
The story broke when Brandi Ray shared what happened on the Hip Dickson page, a local group for people in the Dickson County region of Tennessee, NewsChannel 5 shared. Ray shared a screenshot of her conversation with the group and wrote, “Well cake tasting didn’t go as planned.” She also posted the conversation publicly on her Facebook page.
The conversation shows an unnamed person, whom Ray said was Dennison, writing: “Brandi! I really enjoyed our time together and I truly wish you the best but after realizing that your union will be of the same sex, I cannot with my spiritual conviction and beliefs, do your cake! 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!”
Ray just wrote back, “I’m sorry you feel that way. Have a good night.”
Friends were quick to support Ray and suggest alternative locations. Ray said that she was clear that the cake was for Brandi Ray and Michele, and isn’t sure how the business owner didn’t know that right away.
2. Susie Dennison’s Husband Said They Felt that Making the Cake Would Be Seen as Endorsing the Wedding
Susie’s husband Paul Dennison confirmed what happened with NewsChannel 5 and said yes, the text message posted was accurate. He said that Brandi came over with a bridesmaid and it wasn’t until later, when they read the paperwork, that he realized the order was from a same-sex couple. He said they didn’t wish any ill will on the couple, but were concerned that making the wedding cake would be seen as endorsing same-sex marriage. He said they have strong religious beliefs against same-sex marriages.
The Business Owners Said This Wasn’t the First Time They Had Decided Not To Sell a Cake to a Same-Sex Couple
3. Paul Dennison Said This Wasn’t the First Time They Had Denied Service to a Same-Sex Couple
Paul Dennison told NewsChannel 5 that this wasn’t the first time they had declined to make a cake for a same-sex wedding. He didn’t elaborate on when it had happened before.
4. Friends & Supporters of the Couple Left Negative Reviews Online & Paul Dennison Said That Was Hurting Their Reputation. The Bakery Has Positive Reviews on Wedding Websites.
Friends and supporters of the couple began leaving negative reviews online about Susie’s Sweets. Paul Dennison said those reviews were hurting the business’s reputation. Some friends shared screenshots of their reviews on Brandi Ray’s post. Here are samples of what they wrote:
Both negative comments and comments supporting the bakery have been left as responses to the bakery’s Facebook posts. One person wrote, ” I love that you stand behind your personal beliefs. I will be calling to order a birthday cake in May. I have a friend who will also be ordering from you soon.”
Someone else inquired: “So, you won’t make wedding cakes for couples where one has been divorced, or had children out of wedlock either, right? Because all sin is sin, right?”
Despite the negative reviews on Facebook and Yelp, the bakery has mostly positive reviews on wedding websites like Wedding Wire. They have a 4.8 out of 5.0 rating out of 19 reviews with comments like “Best Cake Ever!” and “Honest, tasty and beautiful.”
5. Susie Dennison Said She Started Susie Sweet’s When She Felt God Leading Her in that Direction
Susie Dennison wrote on Wedding Wire that she has designed wedding cakes for more than 25 years and started when she felt God leading her into the career. She wrote on Wedding Wire, “I had put my whole life into God, family and the church. Then, the empty nest was soon to be! I asked the Lord,”what am I to do”? The answer came to me that day! I have always love cooking. I started Susie’s Sweets, the rest is history.”
She said the most enjoyable part is meeting the brides. She wrote: “The most enjoyable part is meeting with the brides, and getting to know them. It is so much fun for me to see the happiness on their faces. What a happy time…why wouldn’t I want to be a part.”
She continued: “I want every bride to know, I do every cake as though I am doing it unto the Lord! This is their special day and should be treated with expertise and genuine care. Looking forward to serving Middle TN. brides for several more years!”
On her website, Susie said that she started out making desserts and became known in the area for her pies, cakes, candies and cookies. When her daughters left home, she knew she needed to do something to bless others. That’s when she decided to start the bakery.