Oregon Bakery Found To Have Unlawfully Discriminated Against Same-Sex Couple


Aaron and Melissa Klein in their former storefront.

Aaron and Melissa Klein in their former storefront.

Aaron and Melissa Klein in their former storefront.

The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries announced Friday that it found substantial evidence that Sweet Cakes by Melissa broke the law when it refused to sell a wedding cake to a same-sex couple. A conciliation process will now take place between the bakery and the lesbian couple to reach a settlement, but if an agreement cannot be reached, owners Aaron and Melissa Klein may face charges.

According to the decision, the bakery does not constitute a “religious institution” under law, regardless of the Kleins’ beliefs. Thus, they are a business and public accommodation just like any other and are required by law to provide equal service on the basis of sexual orientation.

The discrimination took place last February, when Rachel Cryer and Laurel Bowman sought out a wedding cake from Sweet Cakes for their impending nuptials. Though the Kleins were willing to sell the couple regular baked goods, they insisted that they could not produce a wedding cake for a same-sex marriage because it would violate their religious beliefs. Cryer and Bowman filed a complaint alleging unlawful discrimination.

Since then, Sweet Cakes has closed up its public storefront and the Kleins now run it from home, citing a loss of business due to public scrutiny. Melissa responded to the decision on Facebook:

To all of you that have been praying for Aaron and I, I want to say thank you. I know that your prayers are being heard. I feel such a peace with all of this that is going on. Even though there are days that are hard and times of struggle we still feel that the Lord is in this. It is His fight and our situation is in His hands. We received papers from BOLI yesterday and they have made their decision that we have apparently discriminated. From what we have gathered we now have to wait to find out what the fines will be within 60 days. I can’t say much more but will update when I’m able to. Please continue to pray for our family. God is great, amazing and all powerful. I know He has a plan :)

The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins also weighed in, defending the couple and describing the decision as one that opposes “free speech and free exercise.”

In December, a Colorado judge similarly ruled against a baker who refused to sell any cake to a same-sex couple that might be used for a commitment ceremony.