Valentine’s Day brings thoughts of love and marriage and sweet things to eat. This Valentines Day a business that is all about those things got some very bad news.
Aaron and Melissa Klein own Sweet Cakes Bakery — well, at least they had a bakery. It was located on the edge of downtown Gresham, Oregon. They specialize in wedding cakes — well, at least they did until the gay marriage Gestapo came after them.
The backstory is that Melissa Klein bakes absolutely stunning cakes. (She’s still baking to order out of the couple’s home where their five young children also reside.) She loved baking wedding cakes though. She’d get to know each couple and would use her God-given creativity to fashion a cake that, according to Melissa, “reflected them as a couple.” She tells people, if the couple chose her to provide their cake, “I would just feel so honored to be able to be a part of such an amazing special day.”
The Kleins are godly Christians who consider themselves called to make this unique contribution to celebrations of the God-ordained institution of marriage.
The Kleins’ problems began when two lesbians came into Sweet Cakes bakery to order a wedding cake. (At the time, same sex marriage wasn’t even legal in Oregon.) Having ordered other cakes at the bakery, these young women were satisfied customers. This time, though, the Kleins declined the business, saying baking a cake for a same-sex wedding would violate their religious conviction that marriage is solely the union between one man and one woman. Seven months later — and surely they had found a cake vendor by then — the lesbian couple complained to the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries.
About a year ago the Bureau brought charges against the Kleins for violating an Oregon civil rights law that includes sexual orientation as a protected category. This month the couple was informed they are guilty of violating that ordinance. Their penalty will be monetary. In March, they’ll find out how much, but authorities predict at least $150,000, which the Kleins say will bankrupt them.
It’s been two years since the lesbian couple first walked into Sweet Cakes by Melissa. The women are still upset by the statement Aaron Klein made in defense of his own freedom in this matter. He said, “I’m free to exercise my religion however I see fit. If I’m told to make a wedding cake for a same sex marriage, I feel that I’m violating my beliefs. I don’t think I should have to do that.” At the March hearing, the lesbians will be awarded damages for that.