Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman begged people not to vote for him if they think bakers should not be required to make cakes for same-sex weddings, a position that puts him at odds with many voters in his own party.
In a 2020 interview, Fetterman rattled off a list of political stances on which he refused to waiver, including the release of people serving prison time for marijuana possession, the acceptance of Syrian refugees, and support for same-sex marraige. He also weighed in on the controversy over a Colorado bakery’s refusal on religious grounds to design a cake for a same-sex wedding.
"If you think that two people can’t love who they love…or you think someone should be able to not bake someone a wedding cake," said Fetterman, "I’m begging you, vote for the other person, because it’s not ever going to be me."
Fetterman’s unwavering position would spell bad news for him should voters in swing-state Pennsylvania take his advice at the ballot box next month. According to a Pew Research poll in 2017, Americans were evenly split on whether bakers should be required to make cakes for same-sex weddings. Thirty percent of Democrats and 71 percent of Republicans opposed the mandates, according to the poll. Fetterman’s Republican opponent Mehmet Oz supports same-sex marriage, but has not publicly weighed in on the wedding cake issue.
Fetterman’s views also put him at odds with some of the Supreme Court’s liberal justices. By a 7-2 vote in 2018, the Court sided with Masterpiece Cakeshop in a case against the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The Commission had sued to force shop owner Jack Phillips to design a cake for a same-sex wedding, but he refused to do so on religious grounds. Liberal justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan joined all of the conservative justices in support of Phillips.
Fetterman weighed in on the cake controversy days after his 2020 interview, referring to Phillips as an "asshole" on Twitter. He also said that anyone who refuses to bake a cake for a gay marriage on religious grounds "may need a new religion."
Phillips’s legal drama has not gone away. A Colorado state judge fined Phillips $500 last year for refusing to bake a birthday cake for a woman celebrating the day she came out as transgender. Lawyers for Phillips at the Alliance Defending Freedom said that an "activist attorney" ordered the cake in order to "test" Phillips.
"Radical activists and government officials are targeting artists like Jack because they won’t promote messages on marriage and sexuality that violate their core convictions," his lawyers said.
The Fetterman campaign did not respond to a request for comment.