Tags: Gay Marriage | Oregon | baker | same-sex | cake

Bias Case Over Gay-Wedding Cake May Bankrupt Baker

By    |   Monday, 29 Sep 2014 08:00 PM

An Oregon baker accused of discriminating against a same-sex couple by refusing to make their wedding cake broke down in tears as she talked about the repercussions of the faith-based decision.

"For me personally, when I would sit down with [a customer], I just would want to know everything about her wedding," Melissa Klein said at last week's Values Voter Summit.

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"I'd want to know about the flowers, her dress, the centerpieces, her colors, the way her hair is going to be. I would even want to talk about "where are you going on your honeymoon?'

At that point, Klein began to sob.

The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries earlier this year found "substantial evidence" that Klein and her husband, Aaron, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, discriminated against the lesbian couple. The Kleins now face a fine in excess of $150,000.

Aaron Klein told the Daily Signal the fee would "definitely" be enough to bankrupt the couple and their five children.

"It's horrible to see your own government doing this to you," he added.

The Daily Signal notes that Rachel Cryer and Laurel Bowman asked the bakery owners to design a wedding cake for their same-sex commitment ceremony in February 2013 —  at a time when Oregon defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

Aaron Klein said he thought he was "well within" his legal rights to decline the service, and cited his own belief that a marriage is between a man and a woman.

Oregon voters decided in 2004 to amend the state constitution to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

Still, last January, the Kleins were charged with violating Oregon's Equality Act of 2007, which protects the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

It wasn't until May, however, that a federal judge declared the 2004 amendment unconstitutional, paving the way for same-sex marriages.

"Ironically, the state was in violation of its own anti-discrimination laws," Aaron Klein told the Daily Signal.

The Kleins are appealing the bureau's ruling, but they had to close their business in the face of protests and boycotts.

Melissa Klein told the Daily Signal the charges against the couple "definitely impacted us pretty hard financially."

"This was not the first time we've served these girls," Aaron Klein told the Daily Signal, insisting the refusal about the wedding cake was not about the couple's sexual orientation, but rather about the Kleins' religious convictions.

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An Oregon baker accused of discriminating against a same-sex couple by refusing to make their wedding cake broke down in tears as he talked about the repercussions of the faith-based decision.
Oregon, baker, same-sex, cake
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2014-00-29
Monday, 29 Sep 2014 08:00 PM
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