With the Supreme Court ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act last month, you know that ABC’s “What Would You Do?” just had to produce a segment on gay marriage – again. In the July 12 broadcast, the show decided to pick the liberal state of New Jersey -- a blue state for a change -- in order to find these nasty, homophobic Americans. The scenario was simple. Two lesbians walk into a local bakery picking out their future wedding cake. The baker is a homophobe. He hurls insults. What would you do?
To no one’s surprise, the vast majority of the bystanders were appalled by the baker’s remarks. Some offered their apologies, while others coaxed the couple, played by actors, to leave the store for a friendlier baking establishment. Again, save for a few customers, most of the people caught on camera offered empathy and support for the discriminated couple. Then again, in a state where 60% support gay marriage, you’d be hard-pressed to find Westboro Baptist types lingering around a bakery ready to gay-bash at the drop of a hat.
JOHN QUINONES: So, we set up shop at little cake bakery in Park Ridge, NJ to find out how people feel when confronted with gay marriage.
LORRAINE, Actress: Today, we're playing a lesbian couple.
MIA, Actress: And we're getting married.
PETER, ACTOR: I'm playing the homophobic baker, and I'm not going to sell a lesbian wedding cake.
QUINONES: Will people tolerate this kind of intolerance?
LORRAINE: We wanted to set an appointment for cake testing.
PETER: What kind of cake?
LORRAINE: A wedding cake.
PETER: A wedding cake?
LORRAINE: And we like this cake but we wanted to know if it would go with this topper.
PETER: You're having a lesbian wedding?
PETER: I can't serve you. We can't do a lesbian wedding. I won't do a lesbian wedding came. Put it that way.
QUNONES: It quickly catches the attention of these women who spring into action.
FEMALE CUSTOMER: We would like to cancel our appointment. If you're not going to serve them, we're going to go, too.
PETER: Ladies, I'm sorry. What am I supposed to do? I'm supposed to compromise my morals for a price?
FEMALE CUSTOMER: No, we're not saying that you should. But we're saying that we are going to take our business elsewhere and there's no reason why you cannot serve them. So -- that's totally your --
PETER: But she's marrying a man. They're not; they're marrying each other.
FEMALE CUSTOMER: And that's great for them. If they love each other that's great. And they'll go somewhere where they will get served. Unfortunately, you will not do that so we are going to leave actually as well.
QUINONES: As the women walk out, they take our couple with them.
FEMALE CUSTOMER: Come on, ladies.
I'm sorry. I'm so upset, I'm shaking because I'm so pissed off that they wouldn't serve you.
QUINONES: Time to let them in on our little secret. Let's go get them. Outside? What's going on here? I'm John Quinones with the TV show "what would you do?"
FEMALE CUSTOMER: Oh, my god. I've seen this before. Can we go back in and eat some cake?
QUINONES: This happens in life sometimes, in real life. What do you say to that?
FEMALE CUSTOMER: There's no reason why people who are gay cannot be in love and get married.
FEMALE CUSTOMER 2: And everybody deserves the same service. Why should I get different service because I'm going to marry a man?
QUINONES: Like Megan and Lori, most of the people we encountered throughout the day were quick to defend our couple.
FEMALE CUSTOMER 3: It's wrong. It’s wrong. But I can tell you that I won't come here anymore.
QUINONES: Some folks call peter's behavior not only bad, but bad business.
FEMALE CUSTOMER 4: You don't impose your personal opinion on a customer. I'm sorry that he treated you that way. Nobody should ever feel belittled for who they love. And he doesn't represent all of us.
QUINONES: Others used religion to defend the women.
FEMALE CUSTOMER 5: Do you believe in God?
FEMALE CUSTOMER 5: If God didn't want them this way, he wouldn't have made them this way, correct?
FEMALE CUSTOMER 6: When you get to God, he doesn't judge you by your sexuality, he judges you b what type of individual you are.
QUINONES: Throughout the day, emotions run high.
FEMALE CUSTOMER 7: I'm so sorry. I feel like crying for you. I'm sorry. That’s not right.
PETER: I'm sorry?
FEMALE CUSTOMER 7: I'm appalled bid your behavior, actually. They're human becomes, like all of us.
QUINONES: Along comes this couple. He says he doesn't believe in same sex marriage, but he feels the lesbian couple should not be discriminated against.
MALE CUSTOMER: They're entitled to love who they want to, the way they want to, without the judgment of somebody else.
PETER: But they're lesbians, period.
MALE CUSTOMER: But that's just -- that’s them. Back in the day, just because I'm black, they wouldn't allow me to walk in and sit at one of these tables and that was somebody's personal belief, because I'm black, that they didn't have to serve me, so -- that's just how I feel.
QUINONES: How are you doing? Are you okay? Your heart's beating. You were shaken by this.
MALE CUSTOMER: Yeah, yeah.
QUINONES: You were in tears.
MALE CUSTOMER: Yeah.
MALE CUSTOMER: It's just not fair. Making a judgment call just because that person does not believe the way you do is -- is just as the same situation as, you know, not allowing me to sit down at a restaurant because of the color of my skin.
QUINONES: You were pulling him out the door.
FEMALE CUSTOMER 8: I didn't want him to get in trouble or anything. I'm like, "let's just go, let's mind our business and just go." But they should be able to buy whatever they want to buy.
QUINONES: But not everyone agrees with that. These customers seem willing to discriminate, but they refuse to be identified when the cameras come out.
FEMALE CUSTOMER 9: I'm with you. The platform is unbelievable. Just go on with your own life, don't show anybody your topper, and put it on the damn cake yourself.
QUINONES: And she's not the only one that feels that way.
FEMALE CUSTOMER 10: I just don't believe in it. That's the one thing, every time I hear that they legalize it in a state, I'm like shaking my head.
QUINONES: Erin Kristoff is shaking her head too, but for a different reason.
LORRAINE: We're getting married.
PETER: You're having a lesbian wedding?
LORRAINE: Yeah, isn't it exciting?
PETER: You two are getting married?
MIA: Yes. In Riverdale.
PETER: Ladies I'm just going to be clear with you. I won't do a cake for a lesbian wedding so you can take this back.
QUINONES: We tell our actors to push it a little further.
PETER: It's disgusting. Literally, I cannot abide by the lifestyle that you've chosen. It's really appalling to me, so please take that and go.
LORRAINE: We'll go somewhere else.
ERIN KRISTOFF: My aunt just got married in Brooklyn, and they had a beautiful cake.
KRISTOFF: Yeah. I'm kind of like really freaked out, and I kind of feel like I'm on TV right now. Like, this couldn't really have just happened.
PETER: You're still here? You're disturbing my customers? Please leave, okay? Just go. I asked you nicely.
MIA: This has to be fake. I cannot believe this. I cannot believe this.
LORRAINE: Thank you
MIA: Thanks a lot.
PETER: I'm sorry, ma'am, I just can't sell out my beliefs.
KRISTOFF: I don't agree with what you just did. I think it was horrible.
QUINONES: It's time to give Erin her cake. Here's your cake, ma'am.
KRISTOFF: I knew it! Wow. Holy -- am I allowed to curse?
KRISTOFF: Holy -- that was insane!
QUINONES: Turns out she was right with her suspicions about us and the clerk.
KRISTOFF: First of all, I was like; I don't understand how this guy is turning away lesbians.
PETER: I know.
QUINONES: That's right. Our discriminating clerk, Peter, is actually gay.
It feels difficult for you to say these things?
PETER: Yeah, it is. It's very emotional. It's hard.
QUINONES: Throughout the emotional day of filming, the resounding message was that people deserve to be served regardless of personal beliefs – a sentiment that really takes the cake.