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Sweet Cakes offer a bitter taste of bigotry

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 (

14 responses to “Sweet Cakes offer a bitter taste of bigotry”

  1. Matt Westwood says:

    Sorry, but both parties behaved badly. If a business refuses you service in this manner, the civilised approach IMO would be to spread the word about it and so allow people to make up their own mind about it. Getting the gubmint involved is so unnecessary. And the bakery themselves, having got themselves into this pickle, rather than squeaking about persecution, should have just buckled down, apologised and baked the stupid cake, thereby turning the other cheek which they are so bloody proud of doing.

    I am beginning to wonder whether gay activists are deliberately targeting xtian establishments purely in order to make trouble.

  2. L.Long says:

    Yes the story does suggest that the store owners were polite and did not angrily refuse them. BUT…. this type of blatant bigotry has existed too long and too often. And if not caused by their stupid religious BS is at least enabled by it. Making a cake or allowing the hall to be used or whatever is NOT a statement of approval and you can’t catch gay cooties, so there is no real excuse for this behavior.
    There are many laws in place I never voted for nor like but I am not able to use the ‘I don’t like the law’ excuse. So if there is a no discrimination law in place they must comply. Now it is easy to make your business such that you do not have to cater to gays….Make it into a private club that you must join with a statement of faith, put a large sign up stating you are a club and you must be a bigot to use their skills. Problem solved.
    Personally I would like it if businesses were allowed to discriminate but the law was written such that a large sign must be in the window stating ….
    “We are a bigoted business and do not cater to…
    and a list shown.” This would make it easier to know if you want to live there.

  3. barriejohn says:

    L.Long: Some interesting ideas there. Turning your business into a members-only club is the obvious answer!

    It’s horrible to see your own government doing this to you.

    And seeing your fellow citizens treating you like ebola-carriers is equally horrible. I know it’s become a bit of a cliche now, but would they be allowed to say: “Unfortunately, we do not do mixed-race marriages”? I think not.

    Meanwhile, Popey is holding a two-week “landmark” synod all about “Family Life”, and Vince Nichols was warbling on about it on BBC News this morning as if the Second Coming had occurred. What this bunch of superannuated dinosaurs know about family life you could write on the back of a postage stamp with room to spare!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-29495835

  4. Trevor Blake says:

    Oregon began offering marriage licenses for same sex marriage in May 2014. Not January 2013 when the cake was requested and not January 2014 when the fine was placed. The state penalized the bakery for not catering a marriage that it would not recognize.

  5. Broga says:

    @barriejohn: I heard Nichols going on this morning about how the two weeks in Rome” was important for everyone” because we all have families. Meanwhile, Frankie says they should listen to what RCs are saying.

    To interpret that last sentence. People are ignoring what Nichols inventively calls “truth” and the “teaching of the Church.” So Frankie and co want to find some way of twisting their immutable truth to come closer to what their flock will follow. They will struggle.

    The BBC gave Nichols air time to preach at us without as much as a challenging question.

  6. Barry Duke says:

    Trevor, that may be be so, but my reading of this case is that it had more to do with a breach of anti-discrimination legislation in general than gay marriage in particular.

  7. Newspaniard says:

    Surely both sides in this case have nothing to be proud of? The people who ordered the cake might have shrugged and gone to the cake maker 2 doors, (streets or villages) down. I gather that in the USA both the innocent and guilty have to pay their costs so why the hell did they have to go to law and incur that extra expense. Then comes the fine, $150K!! WTF? Why such a draconian measure against a family baker’s shop? Are the courts so filled with hatred, over there, that they would destroy a family business for a 5 minute conversation? Apart from the smirks of those who were “offended”, what good has it done the community, apart from filling the pockets of fat-cat lawyers? Then we have the activities of the mob, attacking the shop. Were the police called? If so, did they attend the scene of the produce being destroyed and the shopkeepers being harassed? Sometimes I despair of the activities of my fellow gays. In the USA, could I sue if a Halal butcher refused to sell me pork chops?

  8. AgentCormac says:

    I know it has been said here a million times before, but religiots are utterly, unnaturally obsessed with the sex lives of others. The best thing that could happen in this case is for the lesbian couple to drop the whole thing, let the cake company bigots off the hook financially and thereby claim the moral high ground.

    Speaking of being obsessed with the sex lives of others, it seems that Frankie and the rest of his RCC mafia are now in lock-down mode discussing the results of the survey he commissioned into what their billion devotees think about sex, contraception and marriage (although if you remember it never really was a survey at all http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/vatican-counters-claims-of-pope-polling-catholics-on-gay-marriage/).

    No doubt they will, as ever, have no problem with changing the immutable word of god if it serves their own ends and swells the coffers of the vatican.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-29493895

  9. Jeffrey Jones says:

    “It’s horrible to see your own government do this to you.!
    Actually you did it to yourselves, no government interference was needed.i

  10. John Coffin says:

    The report does raise questions it doesn’t answer, and the fine seems mighty high.

    BUT.
    Does this bakery demand proof of virginity for brides?
    Do they make cakes for couples with one or more divorced partners?

    In one of these professionally offended/oppressed Xian bakery incidents, it came out that the proprietor had no objection to baking a wedding cake for two dogs…

  11. EJ says:

    @Trevor Blake – It shouldn’t matter if the local city, county, or state government recognizes the marriages of anyone, as it is the discrimination against the individuals based upon their orientation that is the cause for legal action, or so I would guess, as that is how most non-discrimination laws and regulations are written.
    They aren’t about what actions a person may or may not take, they are about how other people treat that person, and so state regulatory approval of some LGBT ceremony isn’t even relevant in finding someone guilty of discriminating against someone who just wanted to buy a cake. What they wanted the cake for isn’t actually an element of the crime, but was only used as an excuse by the bigots when the crime was the refusal itself, not their bullshit reasons for the refusal. Just blathering on here…

  12. Laura Roberts says:

    The store owners broke the law. Period. If the customers choose to prosecute, that is their right. Obviously the court agreed. If you own a business and the law changes, you have to adjust — no excuses (and religion is a terrible excuse). This is an example of a government protecting a minority against the tyranny of a powerful majority. Wedding cakes may seem a small thing, but 50 years ago, people insisted “whites only” water fountains were a small thing, too.

    If supporters of the GLBT community did in fact harrass the shop owners, as the Kleins claim, that needs to be addressed too.

  13. jay says:

    I think there is something to be said for freedom of association. There are plenty of people willing to do business, why not support them?

    While their policy may be ugly, I support their right to make personal choices, just as gay people and others have the right to shop elsewhere.

    Government has become far too intrusive.

  14. […] Melissa Klein is a Christian bakery owner who in 2013, refused to bake a cake for a lesbian couple’s wedding. Now, Klein and her husband face a punitive fine of $150,000 or more from the state of Oregon, which … […]