PORTLAND — The Christian owners of a bakery in Oregon state 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.
As previously reported, Aaron and Melissa Klein operate Sweet Cakes by Melissa in Gresham, which is now operated from the couple’s home after the Kleins’ shut their doors due to harassment. 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.
“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 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,” Klein explained.
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 Klein’s 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.”
But Klein states that he regularly serves homosexuals. He 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.
“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. … This was not the first time we’ve served these girls.”
“We were being asked to participate in something that we could not participate in,” Klein’s wife, Melissa, noted.
“For me personally, when I would sit down with [a customer], I just would want to know everything about her wedding,” she also tearfully stated at last weekend’s Values Voters Summit about the intimate involvement she would have in the matter if she accepted the order. “I’d want to know about the flowers, her dress, the centerpieces, her colors, the way her hair is going to be. I would even want to talk about ‘where are you going on your honeymoon?'”
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,” it wrote in a press release.
This past weekend, the Kleins told reporters that it they are indeed forced to pay a fine for declining the cake over their Christian convictions, the over $150,000 penalty would “definitely” bankrupt the family. The couple is currently appealing the decision.
“It’s horrible to see your own government doing this to you,” Aaron Klein said.
As previously reported, 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.
“You stupid Bible-thumping, hypocritical [expletive],” one email read. “I hope your kids get really, really sick and you go out of business.”
“Here’s hoping you go out of business, you bigot,” wrote another. “Enjoy Hell.”
But the Klein’s vowed to continue to stand, 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.
“This fight is not over. We will continue to stand strong,” it read. “The Lord is good and we will continue to serve Him with all our heart.”
Editor’s Note: Those who wish to support Sweet Cakes by Melissa by ordering from their business may do so by visiting their website here.