- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 7, 2016

An Albertsons bakery in Louisiana allegedly refused to bake a birthday cake embroidered with the phrase “Trump 2016.”

McKenzie Gill said in a Facebook post that the grocery in Bossier City refused to make a cake celebrating her birthday because it contained a message supporting the Republican presidential nominee.

“Just left albertsons,” Ms. Gill said in the post Monday. “The woman behind the cake counter just refused to make me a birthday cake because I wanted ‘Trump 2016’ on it…. Did that really just happen?”

After the remark garnered significant attention on social media, she told a local TV station the cake was for her 18th birthday, the theme of which is “Trump 2016.”

“I was just venting on Facebook when I made the status that I made, I didn’t think I was going to get as much attention as it did,” Ms. Gill said in an interview with KSLA.

“Trump is just someone I really look up to,” she said, adding that she plans to cast her ballot for the billionaire businessman as a first-time voter in November.

Ms. Gill said she and her mother were shocked when the bakery refused to fulfill the order.

“We [wanted] an American flag cake with Trump 2016 on it, and right when I said ‘Trump,’ like, the lady kinda just — ‘Trump?’” the 17-year-old Benton resident recounted. “She was like, ‘I definitely — I mean I can make you a flag cake, but I’m not going to write “Trump” on it.’”

Connie Yeates, a spokesperson for Albertsons, apologized to the Gill family, saying the issue was a misunderstanding over company policy regarding copyrighted phrases.

“We apologize to our customer in Bossier City for the situation regarding the cake that was requested,” Ms. Yeates said in a statement to KSLA. “Our Bakery staff member misunderstood the training provided regarding copyrighted phrases, and incorrectly informed the customer we could not fulfill her request. We would be happy to provide the cake as the customer requested.”

Proponents of religious liberty and free speech have often defended the rights of cake bakers and other wedding vendors who refuse to lend their talents to same-sex wedding ceremonies.

Sweet Cakes by Melissa, an Oregon bakery whose owners cited their religious beliefs in their refusal to participate in a lesbian wedding ceremony, was fined $135,000 by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industry in 2013.

The state also imposed a gag order on the evangelical Christian bakers to prevent them from publicly discussing their unwillingness to participate in same-sex weddings.

• Bradford Richardson can be reached at brichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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