Discrimination | Gay Marriage | Oregon

Oregon Bakery Says No To Gay Wedding Cakes

A bakery in Oregon has refused to sell a cake to a lesbian after finding out it would be used for her wedding. Aaron Klein, one of the owners of the husband and wife-run Sweet Cakes by Melissa says he does not believe in same-sex marriage.

AaronkleinVia King 5 News, Klein recounts the episode when one of the brides-to-be came in to order the cake with her mother:

"My first question is what's the wedding date," said owner Aaron Klein. "My next question is bride and groom's name ... the girl giggled a little bit and said it's two brides." Klein apologized to the women and told them he and his wife do not make cakes for same-sex marriages. Klein said the women were disgusted and walked out. "I believe that marriage is a religious institution ordained by God," said Klein. "A man should leave his mother and father and cling to his wife ... that to me is the beginning of marriage."

Klein says he does not hate gays and sells them items from his store everyday - just not wedding cakes.

"They can buy my stuff," said Klein. "I'll sell them stuff ... I'll talk to them, it's fine." What is not fine, according to Klein, is a marriage between people of the same sex. He will always stand by that conviction. "I'd rather have my kids see their dad stand up for what he believes in then to see him bow down because one person complained."

Since this violates one of Oregon's anti-discrimination laws, the Oregon Department of Justice is currently investigating the incident.

Watch news segment from King 5, AFTER THE JUMP.

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  1. will; you can't be discriminate at a busines for your race or your sexual orientation. It's as simple as that.

    This guy seems unable to understand that he needs to put his beliefs out of his business because not all the people going to his business share his beliefs.

    If he goes to another business and they refuse to serve him because he is a christian he would be angry for being discriminated, and he will be right. This is exactly the same case

    Posted by: jjose712 | Feb 3, 2013 5:33:36 PM

  2. The "public accommodations" provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, is very specific. Title II prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion or national origin in hotels, motels, restaurants, theaters, and all other public accommodations. A baker (seller of food) may not refuse to sell to anyone on the basis of those classifications.

    Unfortunately, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is not (yet) prohibited. Unless there is a state or local statute, the baker is within his rights to refuse to sell the cake.

    One step at a time. First, we get the right to get married. Then, we work on getting the right to buy a wedding case.

    Posted by: Steve | Feb 3, 2013 6:03:09 PM

  3. By most of the logic here, every church in America should be sued in states that have gay marriage if they refuse to perform services. We are not so vindictive as to demand by law that every single Christian church marry us. Or do some of you believe that?

    This baker, no matter how you personally feel about his faith, is the church that will not perform a gay wedding. Exemptions in law should apply to conscientious objectors, so to speak.

    I personally believe that the Book of Leviticus, in certain verses, is a horrible anti-gay tract. But I do not believe I have the right to stop publishers by law from publishing it and sue them for discriminatory language. We simply can't steamroll our deepest beliefs over others' deepest beliefs. Some anti-gay evangelical Christians just want us to meet them halfway.

    Posted by: will | Feb 3, 2013 6:05:09 PM

  4. @Steve: you are correct that it is not a violation of federal law, but that's not the issue here. What is being investigated is whether they have violated Oregon state law.

    Posted by: Lars | Feb 3, 2013 6:11:03 PM

  5. Well, that's disgusting. The great thing though is people can protest with their wallets. If he gets less customers as a result of this and it hurts his business, then great. Other bakeries that don't discriminate would love the business.

    I wonder what happens when you violate a discrimination law like that. Do they get fined or something?

    Posted by: daws | Feb 3, 2013 6:20:55 PM

  6. Good for him! Hooray for someone that has the courage to stand up for what is morally right! It's not his fault that these 2 women have chosen to live an immoral lifestylke (and yes, it IS a choice).

    Posted by: hyperviper | Feb 3, 2013 6:32:28 PM

  7. We should respect his rights to express his views (just don't give him our gay dollars) I'm sure the lesbians can find another bakery.

    Posted by: jaragon | Feb 3, 2013 6:33:13 PM

  8. Where in the bible does it say a cake part of a wedding?

    Posted by: Travis | Feb 3, 2013 6:42:12 PM

  9. I don't understand in this economy how anyone can afford to turn away any business

    Posted by: ShadowChaser | Feb 3, 2013 6:51:01 PM

  10. You can not compare this situation to the operation of a church. A church is a religious entity by definition. A business is licensed by the state, and therefore is subject to state laws. No religious exemptions apply. You can not discriminate against a minority class recognized by law. Oregon state law includes sexual orientation. So if you serve a 5-time divorced father of 6 illegitimate children because he is a xtian, you have to serve everyone.

    Posted by: PDX Guy | Feb 3, 2013 7:01:21 PM

  11. . "I believe that marriage is a religious institution ordained by God," said Klein."

    And yet, he had to get a license from the State of Oregon for his marriage to mean anything at all. It just shows how little religion actually has to do with the institution. Hypocrite!

    Posted by: RWG | Feb 3, 2013 7:01:43 PM

  12. I don't mind these religious bigots makng cakes but I just wish they would keep their beliefs to themselves and stop trying to cram it down our throats. I mean, I'll talk to them and I'll even buy something from them, but do I really need to know about their delusional thinking? Keep that to yourself! It's disgusting!

    Posted by: TooBoot | Feb 3, 2013 7:11:05 PM

  13. It's a sign of how my thinking has changed on gay rights issues that I no longer have much sympathy for people like this baker. However, I'll still caution equality advocates to not legally hound people like him. It is going to take time for everyone in the culture to get used to gay equality -s lawsuit against people for refusing to help provide services for gay weddings is rubbing salt in the wound. My concern is pragmatic - we don't want the equality cause to suffer a backlash for what ordinary Americans who are lukewarm about gay rights may view as "going too far." We have seen from the past year that momentum is quickly shifting to the pro-gay side. People on the losing side can often inspire sympathy since we all know what its like to lose a political cause.

    However, philosophically, this baker has no case - and shouldn't have one. The law is the law. If sexual orientation is protected from discrimination in Oregon law then he has to serve gay customers and can't refuse to because he dislikes where social policy is going on gay issues. Religious freedom is important, but it can't extend to claiming religious exemptions for every law you don't want to obey. Otherwise law has no meaning. In time most bakers like this will either come around to the pro-equality position or find another line of work. Already there are many who are quietly joining the 21st century on this issue and preparing for the day when they have to deal with the reality of gay weddings (reception hall owners, hotel owners, bakers, dress seller,etc...) Ideally, we want this transition to be as smooth as possible

    Posted by: Mary | Feb 3, 2013 7:57:35 PM

  14. If he is telling the truth when he says he sells item from his store to gay people every day, the way to deal with this bible believing bigot is simple: All the LGBT people and their relatives and friends should stop buying any "items" from his bakery. Show him that bigotry has consequences.

    Posted by: andrew | Feb 3, 2013 8:26:54 PM

  15. Nice comment by steve. Oregon does not recognize same-sex marriages nor civil unions. Their state Constitution reads marriage is between one man and one woman via a 2004 voter referendum (2004 is a lifetime ago re: marriage equality). It does recognize domestic partnerships with no ceremonial requirement. A lesbian couple demanding a gay wedding cake from an anti-gay baker in a state that denies legal recognition of civil marriage is a bit of an anomaly. I'm fairly sure Oregon has the votes to pass a gay marriage bill now. Get the right to get married now and THEN worry about the right to the cake and the bringing of a lawsuit afterward. In the meantime, find a gay-friendly baker and stop giving yourself headaches.

    Posted by: will | Feb 3, 2013 8:39:29 PM

  16. Oh Mary, shove a few cupcakes in your mouth and just shut the f**k up. I don't care "how (your) thinking has changed on gay rights" when all you ever do is Tut-Tut about going easy on "ordinary Americans" and be gentle with them as they supposedly slowly warm to the idea of full gay equality. Every one of your comments comes with a condescending wag or your finger and an extra large dose of your obvious hetero-centric sense of entitlement. Some of us have been fighting for decades for LGBTQ rights and don't need to hear your noise every chance you get.

    Posted by: RMR | Feb 3, 2013 8:41:05 PM

  17. there's a difference between churches and businesses and anyone who doesn't understand that needs to get off the internet and go back to school.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Feb 3, 2013 8:51:07 PM

  18. This baker's position is no different from the Boys Scouts' nor from any employer who fires an employee because they're gay. There is no biblical prohibition against gay wedding cakes just like there is none for gays learning how to start a campfire or for gay employees doing the work assigned to them.

    The issue here may seem symbolic or inconsequential but it's representative of a broader issue, arising from various religious sects and cults demanding sweeping religious protections: is the USA going to be a nation of civil laws or a nation of contradictory religious fiat?

    Posted by: Hue-Man | Feb 3, 2013 8:59:18 PM

  19. I don't believe in bakers, at least not those who hope their kids will respect their dad for refusing to bake a frikkin CAKE for two people in love. Suppose this guy ever donates blood? Teaches the illiterate? Comforts the poor? Feeds the starving? Oh, but it's OK for him to be self-righteous about someone else's FROSTING, sure. You couldn't make it up.

    Posted by: Avery St.Clair | Feb 3, 2013 9:08:01 PM

  20. Actually, Oregon does not include sexual orientation in anti discrimination law. I live in Oregon and remember what happened a few years back when the legislature tried to pass that. What happened was the overwhelming majority democrats in the legislature wanted to add gays to the anti discrimination laws mostly to promote hate crimes law. But you must remember that 90% of Oregon is practically empty, the Portland metro is 90% of the population and it is democratic. The rest of Oregon is as red state as Arkansas.

    So when they tried to get this passed the GOP blocked it and threatened all kinds of problems as usual. The compromise was that the democrats could have their anti discrimination clause based on sexual orientation as long as they dropped the word orientation. So, the law actually reads that you cannot discriminate based on sex. It is legally meaningless. Add to that the hate crimes legislation which was signed has NEVER been invoked except for one black guy that was harmed because he was black.

    In this county, the largest outside of Portland metro and as red state as they come, there was a double murder of two lesbian community activists and the cops got the guy, and it has since come out over the years that the women were targeted because of their sexuality, but the cops called it a burglary gone bad.

    I think when we talk about getting equality in law and rights in public accommodations we just are too late, America is going down like the Titanic and gay marriage is just rearranging the deck chairs while the staterooms fill with cold seawater.

    Posted by: Markus | Feb 3, 2013 9:12:01 PM

  21. I agree that, like discrimination in the past, business will punish this appropriately. As will those embarassed children he thinks he's impressing.

    Posted by: Chevytexas | Feb 3, 2013 9:12:29 PM

  22. Them?

    Posted by: greenfuzz | Feb 3, 2013 9:13:52 PM

  23. There is snot in the frosting.

    Posted by: Markus | Feb 3, 2013 9:18:56 PM

  24. Ohhhhh, he lets gay people buy things! How very big of him!

    Anyone who shops there is a fool. Get the word out and see how well his little hate-cakes sell then.

    Posted by: Caliban | Feb 3, 2013 9:20:31 PM

  25. so far, the business is being flooded with bad reviews. now all that needs to happen is for a competitive company to go out of its way to be "Inclusive to All" and thus take all the business!


    boycotts work, folks.

    won't bake a cake for a gay couple? enjoy a future on foodstamps. just kidding. his anti-gay @ss probably doesn't want to contribute to nanny-state welfare living. so he can anticipate dumpster diving instead.

    and can explain to his kids that they had to (re)mortgage the house and sell the business because "Daddy would rather we all starve than bake a cake for lesbians"

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Feb 3, 2013 9:24:41 PM

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