An Oregon couple who refused to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple have been found guilty of violating the women’s rights and face thousands of dollars in fines, but won’t back down. Melissa and Aaron Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, were subject to a state investigation after refusing to serve Portland residents Rachel Cryer and Laurel Bowman for their big day. The state investigation determined that the Kleins had discriminated against the women because the state policy is that businesses may not deny service to customers because of sexual orientation. Ironically, Oregon doesn’t even permit gay marriage.
The Kleins will now participate in settlement talks with Cryer and Bowman in order to avoid the state pressing discrimination changes in an administrative law court. However, the business owners say that baking a cake for the couple is not on the table due to their religious beliefs. “We will stand by what we believe from the beginning,” said Aaron. “I’m not sure what the future holds, but as far as where we’re at now … it’s almost as if the state is hostile towards Christian businesses.”
The Kleins acknowledged that the lesbian couple had been customers before, but said they refused to bake the cake due to their religious beliefs and not because of discrimination. The couple also said they have received hate-filled messages and threatening e-mails from gay activists since the incident took place a year ago, while canceled contracts due to bad press forced them to close the bakery and work out of their home.
Their attorney, Herbert Grey, wrote on their Facebook page that “they’re being punished by the state of Oregon for refusing to participate in an event that the state of Oregon does not recognize.”