Sweet Cakes offer a bitter taste of bigotry
A gay cake conniption is dragging on in Portland, Oregon, where the Christian owners of a confectionery store face bankruptcy for flouting equality laws.
Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes in Gresham, allege that they will be forced into bankruptcy if the government stands by its imposition of a fine in excess of $150,000 after the couple declined to make a wedding cake for a lesbian because they viewed it as “a form of personal participation” in the event.
The Kleins’ shut their shop “due to harassment” and are now operating their business from home.
In January 2013, Aaron was approached by a mother and her daughter as the two were interested in a cake for the daughter’s upcoming wedding – to her lesbian partner. Klein told television station KTW in Portland:
My first question was what’s the wedding date? My next question was [the] bride and groom’s name … The girl giggled a little bit and said, ‘It’s two brides’.
He stated that he then informed the women that the bakery does not make cakes for homosexual events.
I apologized for wasting their time and said that unfortunately, we do not do same-sex marriages.
The women then left Sweet Cakes upset about the incident, and later, one of them filed a complaint with the state. The Oregon Attorney General’s office soon launched an investigation against the Kleins as the state’s non-discrimination laws prevent public accommodations from being denied to any individual on the basis of “race, color, religion, sex [or] sexual orientation”.
In January, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) announced that it had concluded that the Klein’s broke the law when they declined to make the cake.
The investigation concludes that the bakery is not a religious institution under law and that the business’ policy of refusing to make same-sex wedding cakes represents unlawful discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Ever since, the couple have been whingeing about “persecution” and this weekend the Kleins told reporters that it they are indeed forced to pay a fine for declining the cake over their Christian convictions. The penalty, totalling more than $150,000, would “definitely” bankrupt the family. The couple is currently appealing the decision. Said Aaron Klein:
It’s horrible to see your own government doing this to you.
The Kleins stated last year that homosexuals used “mafia tactics” to force them to close their doors, sending threatening emails, harassing their vendors and ransacking their bakery truck as they packed to leave.
But the Klein’s vowed to maintain their stance by “giving glory to God”. In a note that they affixed to the bakery as they closed down last September and moved the business to their home, they defiantly declared:
This fight is not over. We will continue to stand strong. The Lord is good and we will continue to serve Him with all our heart.
Klein has states that he regularly serves homosexuals, but believes that there is a difference between serving homosexuals in general, and having to personally facilitate same-sex ceremonies, which is an act of participation.
• Photo shows Melissa Klein with a customer on her shop before it closed (