Stephanie Caughell-Fisher, owner of Gimme Some Sugar, recalls watching Tastries Bakery owner Cathy Miller on TV last year attempting to explain her reasoning for refusing to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.
When Miller dropped her name, Fisher knew she would have to speak up. On Friday, in an interview with The Californian, Miller was asked again about sending gay customers to Fisher's store at 19th and D streets.
"I had visited with Stephanie at the Sugar Fest," Miller told The Californian. "I think she is an amazing decorator. Kind of jokingly, the second year I was here, I was in need of a decorator and I said, 'Stephanie I would love to bring you over to Tastries,' and we laughed. I mean I would have loved to hire her. She is that kind of person, just a real sweetheart."
Asked about the relationship between the two sweet shops, Fisher didn't sound quite so thrilled.
"It's great she's saying these nice things about me," Fisher said of Miller, "but that's not at all how it happened. It wasn't that clean and pretty. It wasn't tied in a bow. It was much uglier."
Miller walked into her place of business, "conflicted about serving the gay community," Fisher said. Miller said she didn't want to hurt people, but she couldn't provide wedding cakes to gay customers.
It seemed silly, Fisher said, to be giving advice to her competition, but she decided to treat Miller as a friend.
"I told her, 'You say you don't want to hurt people, but you'll find that's going to happen,'" Fisher recalled. "She said, 'Can I just send them to you?'"
Everyone's money is green, Fisher said. If a competitor wanted to recommend her services to customers, Fisher wasn't about to say no.
But she wasn't about to be some sort of sub-contractor for Miller. If customers — any customers — do her the honor of choosing her, then she will gladly serve them.
"I said, 'Cathy, you're going to get yourself in trouble. It is illegal to turn somebody away because they're gay.'"
On the first client, Fisher said, Miller took the order and expected Fisher to make the cake she had agreed to make for the customer.
"She expected me to do the order that she took," Fisher recalled. "She handed me the invoice."
But that wasn't going to fly.
Fisher just hopes she can ease the hurt for some of those who have been rejected.
"Can you imagine how much that would hurt?" she asked.