PORTLAND — State investigators in Oregon have concluded that a bakery run by a Christian couple unlawfully discriminated against a lesbian last year when it declined to make a ‘wedding’ cake for her same-sex ceremony.
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 stated 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.”
“We were being asked to participate in something that we could not participate in,” Klein’s wife, Melissa, noted.
However, on Monday, 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.
The case will now move to a conciliation phase to work toward a settlement, but if an agreement cannot be reached, BOLI warns that “the bureau may bring formal charges and move the issue to BOLI’s Administrative Prosecution Unit.”
Attorney Herbert Grey, who is representing the Klein’s, told The Oregonian that the outcome of the investigation was expected, but that the couple will not recant their position nor change their convictions not to personally partake in facilitating a same-sex ceremony.
Aaron Klein echoed these sentiments in an interview with KATU-TV.
“We still stand by what we believe from the beginning,” he said. “I’m not sure what future holds, but as far as where we’re at right now… it’s almost as if the state is hostile toward Christian businesses.”
The Klein’s state that homosexuals used “mafia tactics” to force them to close their doors last year, 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 in September.
“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.”