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. OK,RMR, let's just give NOM exactly what it wants - a new focus. Once it gives up on fighting marriage equality it will switch to being, in essence, The National Organization for Traditional Marriage. It then aims to protect everyone who it claims is being forced to "condone" gay weddings by being a part of them. This is when public opinion starts to slow down and gay progress comes to a halt. Want to risk this? I still claim it's foolish to risk it. Don't we have dozens of states with state constitutions that still have to be overturned before SSM can become legal everywhere? All I'm saying is think about priorites. Hate my guts all you want. But don't do what will harm gay couples whose lives are still vulnerable.

    Posted by: Mary | Feb 3, 2013 9:33:28 PM

  2. Damn. I never realized how conservative Oregon state law is for a west coast state. Sexual orientation not covered under the anti-discrimination statute? No civil unions? The gay community there has MUCH bigger problems than getting a gay baker to decorate a cake. That's a luxury compared to the freaking basics. This is 2013! Vote on marriage equality again and get the damn thing passed. At least change laws before you start harrassing a baker for refusing you a cake in a state denying your basic rights. Laws first. Go a sympathetic baker for your symbolic cake. Change the freaking laws. The time is ripe.

    Posted by: will | Feb 3, 2013 9:39:19 PM

  3. as an actual gay person who's actually been Out for years and has actually lived and breathed and seen and BEEN the change that needs to happen, here's the deal: progress and change don't come when you let people walk all over you.

    this case has nothing whatsoever to do with "legalized gay marriage"

    because making a cake has no religious rites tied to it whatsoever, unless they sprinkle some of Jesus' mutherf***ing blood into the batter, or some ritualistic nonsense.

    they have a business. of making cakes. and just decided that they have a religious obligation (despite their being nothing in any translation of the bible to back it up) to making a cake that will be consumed by the guests at a wedding between two lesbians.

    what will continue to harm gay couples and gay individuals is a culture that refuses to stand up against bigotry and discrimination.

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

  4. @HYPOCRITE SAYS WHAT: If he has to talk to the DA first for violating non-discrimination laws, his "I'll talk to them" will be "Mister, can you spare some change?"

    Posted by: Bill | Feb 3, 2013 9:50:18 PM

  5. @jaragon: we can "respect his rights to express his views," by recognizing that he has a right to write a letter to the editor expressing those views. When he obtained a business license, however, he assumed along with it an obligation to follow the business laws of the state he is in, and in Oregon, those laws forbid discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. If his views are not compatible with the law, he can either keep his views out of his place of business or choose some other line of work where the issue will not come up.

    Posted by: Bill | Feb 3, 2013 10:09:59 PM

  6. Kiwi is right that the lesbian couple is harmed (to an extent) by the baker's refusal to make their cake. However, if incidents like this become widespread and the public starts to see gays as pushy and demanding of validation by everyone rather than equality, gay couples of the future are MORE harmed.

    The analogies between racist and sexist laws of yesteryear ARE valid, and prove my point. Yes, those laws needed to be changed. And no, we wouldn't tolerate a bakery that refused to serve a woman or an Afrian-American. But both the feminist movement and the civil rights movement made operational mistakes that they paid dearly for over a long period of time. Mistakes that made their goals harder to achieve. The gay rights movement should learn from these mistakes.

    Short version of the argument!

    Posted by: Mary | Feb 3, 2013 10:11:26 PM

  7. @Markus: you must be out of date on Oregon law. http://www.leg.state.or.us/ors/659a.html contains the relevant laws and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is clearly forbidden. There is an oversight - it does not forbid discrimination on the basis of perceived sexual orientation: you might be able to discriminate against a guy for thinking he is gay when he is actually straight.

    The version I cited is from 2011, so it may be more recent than what you remember.

    Posted by: Bill | Feb 3, 2013 10:14:54 PM

  8. I used to hate the idea that voters could go to the voting booth and, essentially, vote on a persons life (by either denying or approving gay marriage). Now that the momentum had finally shifted in our favor, I do not want the SCOTUS to vote marriage equality in everywhere. I hope they keep a narrow focus on California. It feels great to change hearts and minds and have that reflected at the ballot box. We have problems to this day because SCOTUS made a sweeping judgement in "Roe v. Wade", and we never hear the end about judicial activism and illegitimate law. The voters in Maryland, Washington, and Maine have legitimized our cause and because of that conservative views have shifted. We should let the states continue to vote via public referendum. If SCOTUS votes to legalize gay marriages in all states this June, I will not be disappointed, but the backlash against us will continue for decades, just like "Roe". If voters continue to approve marraige equality -- and they will -- then it's really US doing the work and taking deserved credit instead of a Court mandate.

    Posted by: will | Feb 3, 2013 10:35:43 PM

  9. I'm reminded of the movie about Harvey Milk, and how he dealt with a homophobic shop owner. He had lots of gay people crowd the bigot's shop, to make a point about how gays have money too, and he'd be a fool to say no to the business.

    I have no idea how close that was to the reality, but it would be fun if it was done to this a-hole.

    Posted by: Tanoka | Feb 3, 2013 11:01:47 PM

  10. @Will, in what century do you foresee all this goodwill being applied to the lives of gay citizens? Equal protection under the law has been a promise for more than 140 years. Do we have to wait for another 140 years for public opinion to catch up with the Supreme Law of the Land?

    Posted by: ***** | Feb 3, 2013 11:55:02 PM

  11. Unfortunately I think the Oregon authorities are weak and they won't do anything about it. Nothing will happen to this evil pair.

    Posted by: Icebloo | Feb 4, 2013 12:08:40 AM

  12. @Tanoka: in the Milk film, the homophobic shop owner was in the Castro, at a point when a lot of gays were moving in there. Apparently they set up a list of gay-friendly shops and just patronized those, which forced the others out of business or got them to change their ways as they saw the guy next door getting all the business.

    Posted by: Bill | Feb 4, 2013 12:20:03 AM

  13. They have been erasing all negative postings on their FB page. They are only keeping the supportive comments from their religious friends.

    The hypocrisy of this guy. Picking and choosing what bible quotes to live by. I hope Mr. Tattoo and piercings knows he is in violation of his book:

    Leviticus 19:28 "Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD."

    Posted by: DALE | Feb 4, 2013 12:33:35 AM

  14. It's discouraging that so many of you have so little respect for the basic civil rights of all people. One of the big ones is the right to Freedom Of Association and Freedom Of Speech. If I own a sign business, I should not have to print the signs for an anti-gay group. And it's truly sad that an anti-gay group is more likely to respect my freedom of association than the so-called "progressives" and gay people.

    The extension of your position is that these people should be forced to make a cake that they don't want to make. That's slavery. The fact that they would be paid doesn't alter the fact that it's slavery, even slaves got payment in kind and many got allowances. They were still slaves.

    Grow up people. And read the god damned Constitution.

    Posted by: David Hearne | Feb 4, 2013 12:44:06 AM

  15. Take it down a notch David. It is not slavery. The problem here is hypocrisy. If you are going to claim it is against your bible or your religion then be consistent:

    Do not sell to people who have been divorced and are on their second or third wedding.

    Do not sell to people who eat pork and shellfish.

    Do not sell to those who have lived together in sin before getting married.

    Do not sell to those who wear garments of mixed fabrics.

    Do not sell to those who have are knocked up before getting married.

    Do not sell to those who don't honor their mother of father.

    Don't say you will sell to a gay person a cake or a cupcake any other time, but just not a cake for a wedding. If your convicitions are so strong then why sell them anything at all?

    Does he sell to people who do not subscribe to his bible or faith? What about people with interracial marriages or marriages of different faiths?

    Finally, Don't be strutting around saying you are "Mr. Bible" when you have tattoos and piercings which is forbidden in YOUR bible.

    Bottom line: it is against Oregon law for a business to discriminate. You guys are all about your rules and laws when it works to discriminate against others, but when the shoe is on the other foot...suddenly big government is out to get you. He is in the wrong.

    Posted by: BETTY | Feb 4, 2013 1:16:40 AM

  16. I totally support this baker. Business owners should have the right to reject business -- for any reason. It's their business and if they're willing to take the loss, then so be it. Instead of trying to fight someone who doesn't want your money, take it elsewhere.

    Posted by: Matt Kuksa | Feb 4, 2013 1:35:23 AM

  17. It's interesting to see that no one is suggesting that Oregon secede from the union. No one thinks "all those people" are a bunch of hillbilly morons who should just be blown off the map? An Oregonian baker and half a San Francisco football team speak for themselves, but 1 dumbass in Alabama speaks for an entire region of the country? The ignorance is astounding.

    Posted by: Bill | Feb 4, 2013 1:42:41 AM

  18. Bill, if you go to that very same web address you posted you will see this: 659A.029 “Because of sex” defined for ORS 659A.030

    The intention of the law was to add "sexual orientation" to the law as forbidden in housing and employment discrimination, but the GOP got "sexual orientation" changed to "sex." This reders the law meaningless since "sex" means in law GENDER which is already a protected class.

    If you are just damned sure you are right and I am wrong then I beg you to return and cite a single case since that abortion of a compromise was passed in which even one gay person in Oregon has won a discrimination case based upon that law. You can't because we are not protected under Oregon law.

    Posted by: Markus | Feb 4, 2013 1:52:54 AM

  19. I want to add one more item to this specific to Oregon and gay rights, where I live in Medford there are a lot of militant anti gay christians, this is a very red county. There is a store here called AS SEEN ON TV. They sell gewgaws and doodads and junk you only see on infomercial type TV spots. They have two stores, the main one next to Harry and David's flagship corporate store, and one in the mall.

    One day I was feeling very Town and Country and went to H&D and passing the as seen on tv store I noticed that they had a small chalkboard in the window that said HELP WANTED with a cross and a christian fish drawn on it.

    Have you any idea how illegal that is? And I am not talking state law here but federal law, you cannot advertise for employees based upon religious affiliations and moreover you cannot even hint at such a desire. I took a photo of the sign in the window and sent it to the EEOC with a complaint of discrimination based on religion. Guess what, two years later they are still posting the same signs.

    We can gain the law on our side, but without enforcement it is MEANINGLESS. I guess we have to start breaking windows or something. But the point is that hate is out there and we all have had to live with it. The fact that we are winning great victories in the law does not mean we won. This crap about religious freedom allowing landlords and employers and vendors to discriminate is just the next battle we will win, and they will find another way to hate us and fight us.

    I have said and I still believe the ONLY way to win is to hit them in the wallet. They don't believe in christianity any more than I have lunch with leprechauns, they use it to channel hate in a way they think the government cannot interfere with. And they are right, the government could but will not enforce anti discrimination laws. You have to hit them where it hurts. $$$$

    Break their windows, key their cars, poison their dogs, what ever, and if it sounds cruel and you think it will backfire I have this to say, our young gay people are DYING! They do not care if they even know about it they applaud. Our property has been vandalized, our wallets have been hit by firings, lack of promotions, failure to hire us to start with. Even if we can get laws passed we can't get them enforced. We do not have 100 years for civil society to evolve. One of the great truths is that the victor carries a CARROT and a STICK. But there is no use having a stick if you do not show you are willing to use it.

    I don't really care that much anyway, I am getting ready to leave America. I am 54 and fought since I was 17, I am tired of it, I am going to go live where hate is not a way of life. To a place where christians are deluded but sincere about faith, not using it as a weapon to cover their own homosexual desires they deny and hate in themselves. Because that is the most painful part, almost all who hate us are just as gay as you and me themselves and cannot bring themselves to admit it. Not I or you will ever get them to, the more we win the more they feel pushed, the more they feel pushed the more they push back, like the baker who hates us so much, I would bet everything I own he is as queer as I am.

    Posted by: Markus | Feb 4, 2013 2:38:16 AM

  20. If the law forced him to bake a lesbian's cake he'd probably spit in it anyway. Once he's been battered by bad publicity, felt the yolk of the law, he'll realize he butter be sugary sweet to every layer of society or his blooming business will be de-floured; and that will be the icing on the cake.

    Posted by: Tom | Feb 4, 2013 2:59:15 AM

  21. "Break their windows, key their cars, poison their dogs, what ever, and if it sounds cruel and you think it will backfire I have this to say, our young gay people are DYING! They do not care if they even know about it they applaud."

    Come on Markus are you serious? Yes, the best way to convince people that we want equal protection under the law is to break the law. The religious right have been portraying gay people as sick, awful people for years and do you think acting just like that and resorting to violence is going to help the cause? We don't need to give them any more ammunition to use against us.

    We are better than that. If anybody advocates that strategy, well, they are no better than the relgious whackos. Give your head a shake.

    Btw when you find a place to live that is free from hate, let us know where this imaginary uptopia is located.

    Posted by: BETTY | Feb 4, 2013 2:59:52 AM

  22. the new portlandia episode starts with a gay marriage commentary, that great kind of comedy that holds up a mirror in a very subtle way..... how ironic...

    Posted by: V-8 | Feb 4, 2013 8:04:23 AM

  23. I bet he watches lesbian porn, though.

    Posted by: Jack M | Feb 4, 2013 8:20:44 AM

  24. Next time I am in Oregon, I will make a dpecial trip to his bakery.......people who stand by their principles....we need more of them these days....society is in the gutter with our culture in this country

    Posted by: Brenda | Feb 4, 2013 10:17:04 AM

  25. I hope this insufferable reprobate will appreciate the social safety net that still exists in this country once his business goes under from lack of patronage because of his ill-advised public display of bigotry.

    Self-righteousness will always destroy the deserving bigot.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Feb 4, 2013 11:45:24 AM

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