Gresham, Oregon — An Oregon baker is under investigation by the state for notifying a lesbian woman that he does not make cakes for homosexual ceremonies.
Aaron Klein is the owner of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, a bakery he operates with his wife. Last month, Klein 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.
“My first question was what’s the wedding date,” Klein told television station KTW in Portland. “My next question was [the] bride and groom’s name. … The girl giggled a little bit and said, ‘It’s two brides.’”
He states 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,” Klein explained.
The women then left Sweet Cakes upset about the incident, and later, one of the women filed a complaint with the state.
“I honestly did not mean to hurt anybody. [I] didn’t mean to make anybody upset,” Klein stated. “[It’s] just something I believe in very strongly.”
As a born-again Christian, Klein believes that the Bible clearly outlines that marriage is to be between a man and a woman.
“I believe that marriage is a religious institution ordained by God,” he explained. “The Book of Genesis talks about that: ‘For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife.’ To me, that is the beginning — the basis of marriage.”
At this time, the office of the Attorney General of Oregon is investigating the matter. In the state of Oregon, non-discrimination laws prevent public accommodations from being denied to any individual on the basis of “race, color, religion, sex [or] sexual orientation.” Klein states that he regularly serves homosexuals, but cannot in good conscience accommodate their request for a wedding cake.
“I have customers come in almost on a weekly basis that are homosexual,” he said. “They can buy my stuff. I sell stuff. I talk with them. That’s fine.”
Klein says that he’s willing to accept whatever penalties the government seeks to punish him with for exercising his Christian convictions.
“If I have to be penalized for my beliefs, … that’ll be what it is,” he said, affirming to reporters that he would rather close than compromise his faith.
“I’d rather have my kids see their dad stand up for what he believes in than to see him bow down because one person complained,” Klein stated.
He has two weeks to respond to the complaint filed by the women. Some state that Klein’s case will be particularly interesting as while Oregon’s non-discrimination laws prohibit the denial of public accommodations to homosexuals, the Constitution grants the free exercise of religion.
“My First Amendment rights allow me to practice my religion as I see it,” Klein said.
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