Sweet Cakes by Melissa — the embattled Gresham, Oregon bakery — has decided to close its doors amid an ongoing LGBT discrimination investigation, but, according to the bakery’s Facebook page, the fight is “not over.”
The bakery left the following message on its door after making the decision: “Closed, but still in business… This fight is not over. We will continue to stand strong. Your Religious Freedom is becoming not Free anymore. This is ridiculous that we can not practice our faith. The LORD is good and we will continue to serve Him with all our heart. ♥”
(The bakery is now a home-based business, KOIN noted.)
Earlier this year, Aaron and Melissa Klein, who owned and operated Sweet Cakes by Melissa, refused to make a same-sex wedding cake on the grounds that they disagreed with gay marriage.
The Kleins noted that they did not refuse service to LGBT individuals, which would have been a clear violation of a law passed by Oregon lawmakers in 2007. But the couple emphasized that it would be against their religion to make a cake endorsing a same-sex marriage.
“Discrimination is really the wrong terminology for what took place,” said Aaron Klein in an interview with KATU. “I didn’t want to be a part of her marriage, which I think is wrong.”
One of the women who was refused service filed a complaint with Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI), and the investigation is ongoing.
“There’s a lot of close-minded people out there that would like to pretend to be very tolerant and just want equal rights,” Aaron said. “But on the other hand, they’ve been very, very mean-spirited. They’ve been militant. The best way I can describe it is they’ve used mafia tactics against the business. Basically, if you do business with Sweet Cakes [by Melissa], we will shut you down.”
The Kleins said their bakery truck was ransacked on Sunday evening and that the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office has yet to make an arrest.
They also stated that vendors were harassed to the point they “would no longer refer customers, which led to their income dropping off dramatically,” according to KATU.
Melissa Klein reiterated what her husband said, adding, “I don’t want to shove it down anyone else’s throat or anything like that… I would hope to have the same respect, you know, that things don’t have to be shoved on me and force me to do something I don’t want to do.”
“I hope that if nothing else, we’ve given people that believe the way we believe the strength to stand up,” Aaron added. “I believe that we’re living in a time that’s very hostile towards Christians. Our First Amendment rights are being stripped away and I’m willing to stand up and take this fight.”
The Kleins said they have appreciated the number of people showing their support in light of the controversy.
“The support the people have sent us means a lot and it’s very encouraging, the things that people send us,” said Melissa. “We really appreciate it, so I would love people to know that — from everywhere — thank you so much.”
As for the couple, who filed the initial complaint against Sweet Cakes by Melissa, they received a generous offer after their experience went viral.
Duff Goldman offered to make the couple a wedding cake for free and ended up doing the bride’s cake in place of a traditional groom’s cake.
Do you think Sweet Cakes by Melissa has been unfairly targeted by same-sex marriage supporters, or is this a clear case of discrimination?
[Image via KOIN 6]