Baker Denies Gay Couple Wedding Cake, Cites Religious Freedom

no-gay-cakeThe owner of a bakery in Gresham, Oregon is at the center of a state investigation after he refused to make a cake for a same-sex couple.

One of the brides-to-be filed a complaint against Aaron Klein and Sweet Cakes on January 28, claiming that Klein denied them their cake and called them “abominations unto the Lord.”

Klein denied using that particular language but admitted to refusing to serve the couple, citing his Constitutional right to freedom of religion.

“I apologized for wasting their time and said we don’t do same-sex marriages,” Klein told KATU. “I honestly did not mean to hurt anybody, didn’t mean to make anybody upset, (it’s) just something I believe in very strongly.”

His actions, however, violate Oregon’s 2007 Equality Act, which prohibits discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.

“Statutes don’t get to overcome constitutional protections,” said Portland attorney Paula Barran, “so if somebody had a religious-based reason for wanting not to trade with somebody, I think you have a really interesting test case for whether or not a statute like this can apply.”

Ultimately, the case will be decided by a judge, but either way, Klein stands by his decision. “If I have to be… penalized for my beliefs, then I guess, well, that’ll be what it is,” he said.

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  • Eric Auerbach

    This is the contact info of the dickweeds who run this bakery:

    Phone: 503-674-5400
    Address: 44 NE Division St Gresham, OR 97030

    Melissa is Aaron’s husband.

  • PolishBear

    If Aaron and Melissa Klein are such good Christians, would they also refuse to bake a wedding cake for a Muslim or Jewish or Atheist couple? If a court decides that they are entitled to discriminate against whomever they wish because of their personal religious beliefs, we may as well throw out ALL of our civil rights laws (including the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964). Then people can be free to discriminate against Gays, Blacks, Jews, Muslims, Asians, Latinos, etc., and they can justify it because of their “freedom of religion.” In the meantime the best thing for Mr. & Mrs. Klein to do would be to put a big sign in the front window of their building that says, “We do not make wedding cakes for Gay couples.” Then Gay people (plus our friends and family members) wouldn’t have to waste our time going into the place to begin with.

  • Joel

    I live only about a mile from Sweet Cakes and I have purchased from them many times. So I found this story particularly offensive because they have always taken my money with a smiling face. I have no real problem with them choosing to follow their misguided religious beliefs, but in this state they have no protection for discrimination based on sexual orientation. If he had simply declined their business, there would be no problem, but he chose to let these women know, without prevarication, why he was refusing their custom. That’s a huge FAIL. I know that they are getting a lot of support from other religion-based bigots, but I think that, in the long run, their business will fail. They have certainly lost my business and that of my family and everyone we know will also be boycotting their bakery.

  • Chad Hunt

    This guy and his lawyer are ignorant. Yes, you have the right to personal religious freedom. However you do not have the right to infringe on another person’s right to buy a cake from a public company. He can deny as many gay couples he wants to who calls him at home outside of work and asks him to make a cake but sorry, you can’t deny someone a cake in public commerce.

  • Dustolio

    Okay, here’s the thing:
    If you don’t want to sell me a cake because I’m gay, fine. Tha’ts your right. I don’t want to buy a cake from you either, A$$HOLE. And I’m going to tell my friends what a jerk you are and not to go to your bakery and to pass it on. But I AM NOT going to to the media or file a police report and give you free publicity so other a$$holes can support your business. Next thing you know, this guy is gonna be on The 700 Club and Southern Baptists are gonna be lined up around the block to give him business.

    There has to be a quieter way to punish people like this so that they don’t end up getting free press and support.

  • Eric Auerbach

    @Eric Auerbach: Aaron’s wife, rather :-p

  • smithster11

    Religious beliefs = root of all evil.

  • 2eo

    Don’t be afraid to get in touch with them here either.

    Mr Aaron W. Klein
    APT 1365
    West Powell Blvd
    Gresham, OR 97030

    They wish to make discrimination public, it is legally and morally right that we be allowed the facilities to address this in a cordial and correct manner.

  • erikwm

    @Dustolio: Actually, that’s not their right. The State of Oregon has a law that forbids discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in public accommodations.

    Klein will argue in court it is his religious freedom to discriminate against gays and lesbians. But the court is going to focus on the action that promoted the complaint — the refusal to bake a cake. Is baking a cake an expression of Mr. Klein’s religious faith? Is baking a cake a religious ritual to Mr. Klein? I’ll be surprised if any court answers “yes” to either of those questions.

    Simply, a business doesn’t get to discriminate against a protected class because said business doesn’t like what a customer may do with their product once it’s delivered to them.

    Mr. Klein will lose in court.

  • GreatGatsby2011

    *sigh* People like this make me want to facepalm. Your right to religious freedom guarentees your right to pray to whatever god you want and follow your religious tenets without government interference, full stop. Your right to religious freedom does not give you carte blanche to discriminate against any person with whom you disagree theologically.

    For example the government could not institute Homo-Sex Fridays. In which all law-abiding citizens, regardless of sexual orientation, must engage in homosexual activity or else risk imprisonment. THAT would be a violation of your right to religious freedom. The Bible was written for Judeo-Christian followers. It states quite clearly in the Bible that the rules in the Bible pertain to followers of that faith and those followers only. This is why Jewish waiters can serve pork to customers and still maintain their kosher status. They aren’t the one eating the pork, the non-believer is.

    Finally, if your god is too stupid to read his own instruction manual and actually says you can’t get into heaven because you baked a cake for gay people, just bring a laser pointer to distract him while you sneak in. Problem solved.

  • Dustolio

    @erikwm: Okay “that’s you right” was probably a poor choice of words. My larger point was that by publicizing events like this in the larger media, we are not only shedding light on the discrimination, we are giving this guy free advertising to other bigots AT THE SAME TIME.

    I know that there isn’t much else to do, but I sometimes with we could keep this sort of stuff a quieter, word of mouth sort of protest so people we DIDN’T want to get wind of it WOULDN’T.

    Also: Sometimes I wish there was a real ‘Gay Mafia’ to take care of stuff like this for us.

  • Charlie in Charge

    OK I don’t know how well this is going to go over, but don’t most businesses have the right to refuse service to anyone? OK clearly this one doesn’t because of Oregon law but… if the bakery had not signed a contract to provide the cake isn’t the best thing to do to give a bad Yelp review and find a friendlier bakery?

    I occasionally work as event entertainment and I would hate to be told I couldn’t say no to a client who wanted me to work at a Christian Anti-Contraceptives rally.

  • Eric Auerbach

    @Charlie in Charge: No business in the US has the right to refuse service “to anyone.” Federal law makes it illegal to refuse service on the grounds of race, color, religion, nationality or disability. Don’t see why sexual orientation shouldn’t be included on that list.

  • Chad Hunt

    @Charlie in Charge: Actually they do not have that right. The right to refuse service to anyone is reserved for varying circumstances. Public nuisance like drunk customers, vulgar speech, threatening customers, etc

  • erasure25

    That attorney Paula Barran must have graduated last in their class. The relevant action is the baking of the cake. Is that part of his religious expression? Most likely no. Freedom of religion doesn’t mean you can discriminate when it comes to commercial activity that plays no part in your religious expression. But as the saying goes, what do you call a doctor that graduated last in their class? Doctor.

  • deltabadhand

    I wrote them on Saturday and was really polite in my message. At the end I asked them if they passed out a print out of the 10 Commandments to each customer and refused cake to anyone who’d ever broken any of them. So far, no reply. ;^)

  • Katbox

    Why would you want to support a company like this anyways. Fuck them.

  • Kieran

    Now that we know how the Kleins feel about gay people, why would any gay person trust them to cook ANYTHING for them?

  • Dana

    Discrimination is a “value”. lol. whew, what a crazy world we live in.

  • nowliveit

    I think they should put up this sign on their front door:
    Straight people only

    Then let’s remember history with signs that said:
    Whites Only

    How did that turn out???

    He might as well start the SSS, Su Sux Slan, the straight version of the KKK. Then they could join Rev. Phelps so-called church.

  • Brad

    Totally just sent them an email saying bravo on using their faith as an excuse to discriminate, I’m sure God would be really proud of you.

  • Dakotahgeo

    I can about tell, to the day, how long this disaster of a bakery business will be in business. Less time than it takes their cakes to fall!

  • Joel J

    @Eric Auerbach: Sexual orientation is not a protected class under the federal Civil Rights Act of 1965 or the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause–yet. After the Supreme Court hears the DOMA case, it may decide to treat us as a protected class based on past discrimination. Klein’s refusal of service is just one small example of why we deserve to be treated as a protected class with respect to anti-discrimination law. If Klein were any kind of a savvy businessman, he would advertise “We cater to same sex weddings.” I wonder if he caters to bar mitzvahs.

  • Eric Auerbach

    @Joel J: Did not say it was, Joel.

  • Charlie in Charge

    @Chad Hunt: Ah I have seen so many businesses with a sign stating “right to refuse” but it stands to reason that these are not legally accurate signs – just wishful thinking.

    So if there was a gay owned bakery in Oregon and they were asked to create a cake for an “Ex-Gay’s” one year anniversary of completing their program that said “No Homo” in raspberry icing – we all feel that the gay bakery should have to create this cake because to do otherwise would be to discriminate based on sexual orientation? Personally I would not want to have to take on that assignment.

  • 2eo

    @Charlie in Charge: You do realise that pulling an extreme and ridiculous example out of your arse does not present a checkmate argument.

    It always invariably makes the person look stupid.

    Also religion is false and a complete lie, ergo it is not a valid comparison to sexuality, race and any other legitimate reality. Thusly it is not [should not] be afforded the same respect, protection and dignity as human beings themselves.

    Religion is a thing, people are what matter.

  • Chad Hunt

    @Charlie in Charge: Yes, a bakery who is asked to make a cake that says, God Hates Fags, or what have you, should have to comply. Just like anything else that is produced. What something is used for does not necessarily reflect the ideals of who produced it.

  • Charli Girl

    you should let them know!!

  • Charlie in Charge

    @2eo: Let’s see where to begin. You don’t have to like religion but the law doesn’t seem to regard it as a complete lie. You state that religion is a thing and that people matter. People are not their sexual orientations and neither are they their religions. We have religious gay people, and non-religious gay people. Takes all kinds.

    It doesn’t matter that you think the Ex-Gay cake is ridiculous. The bakery in the article thinks that gay marriages are ridiculous. Being ex-gay (for the ex-gay) would be a sexual orientation, not a religion. There is no ex-gay religion. If we are going to be letter-of-the-law about it, then a gay baker would be legally required to make ex-gay celebration cakes just as some wish this baker would be legally required to create gay wedding cakes.

    This is why I would prefer to leave a bad Yelp review and let your friends know not to shop at that bakery.

  • Kasnar

    I fully understand the outrage. How offensive would it be to be told “We do not serve your kind”? It’s like lunch counters in the Old South. I’m imagining that the baker objected to any or all of the following: same gender pairs of names on cake, placing same gender wedding couple icons on cake or perhaps most importantly delivering finished product to a gay wedding event. I wonder if this baker never dealt with this situation before or even gave it any forethought. I wonder too had his business had some dba like ” Christian Wedding Cakes, Inc.”, would we even have heard of this story. It’ll be interesting to see the outcome of this story should it go to court. I can see discussions about what particulars does the baker object to on religious grounds and would that fall within his protected rights. Does he object to selling to a gay couple or is it to producing a product symbolizing a gay wedding? While it would seem discriminatory to refuse to sell cakes to any particular patron, on the other hand it would appear unlawful to say he had to produce a kind or “style” of cake he might object to. Time will tell.

  • Charli Girl

    lmao..just peed ma pants!!!

  • Charlie in Charge

    @Chad Hunt:

    “What something is used for does not necessarily reflect the ideals of who produced it.”

    Doesn’t it? Wouldn’t we all be upset by the bakers who sold the “God Hates Fags” cakes you mention?

  • boring

    Stay West of 82nd street, yo.

  • Chad Hunt

    @Charlie in Charge: No, I can not hold a bakery responsible for what someone asks them to write on a cake they order. Now, if the bakery was making cakes to sell independently of it being requested by a customer that said “God Hates Fags” etc it would be a different story. Don’t you ever watch infomercials, tv shows or newscasts, etc where it specifically says the following does not express the views of (insert channel name) etc.

  • Kasnar

    @Chad Hunt: I think the distinction is that businesses can refuse service to people engaged in behaviours that would disrupt the “legitimate” operation of the business — swearing, drunkenness, inappropriate dress — but not to arbitrarily refuse service to patrons for characteristics they cannot change. In other words, there’s no cut and dry rule.

  • Chad Hunt

    @Kasnar: Exactly … you just reiterated what I said.

  • Chad Hunt

    @Kasnar: U r wrong … “While it would seem discriminatory to refuse to sell cakes to any particular patron, on the other hand it would appear unlawful to say he had to produce a kind or “style” of cake he might object to. Time will tell.”

    The cake in question is a wedding cake. If he makes wedding cakes then he must provide them to all who ask. It’s not like they were asking him to produce a wedding cake depicting a lesbian couple engaging in dildo/vaginal intercourse.

  • Kenny

    What an absurd line of reasoning. They ask you to bake a cake, not to convert to homosexuality. You’re making cakes, not believing in making cakes. Why can you just do your damn job?

  • toren123

    I think this jerk of a baker deserves no more comment than to say that not only is he an “abomination to the Lord” he is also an ass ____! Better stick to baking; must have stuck his head in the oven and fried his brain.

  • Avenger

    I applaud this guys conviction and hope he doesn’t back down from doing the right thing, no matter how much it antagonizes bleeding heart leftists. Anyone who doesn’t like his personal stance and how it reflects on the way he runs HIS business can go order a cake from S&G (Sodom and Gomorrah) Pastries, where they’ll be willing to cater any degenerate affair: gay weddings, bathhouses, etc., etc.

  • Chad Hunt

    @Avenger: … way to troll a Queer site moron. I suggest you re-read your bible. Considering King David who was the ancestor Of Jesus Christ was himself a homosexual/bisexual Read 1&2 Samuel for his clear wedding to 2 of Saul’s children … Jonathan (male) Micah (female) Read how David says to Jonathan that his love for him surpassed the love of women.

  • Victor_in_PA

    …he says as he stands in his big PINK bakery. Freedom OF religion also means freedom FROM religion. Just because the government can’t make laws “regarding the establishment of religion”, doesn’t mean you get carte blanche to do anything you want and say it’s your “freedom of religion”. What about the freedom of religion for the women getting the cake not to mention their freedom of speech, their pursuit of happiness, etc.? He just trampled all over that and that’s just fine. What a bigoted asshole.

  • greenmusic23f

    @PolishBear: Well written :)

  • nowliveit

    @Avenger: Now we know who you are as a person…not someone to look to for compassion, love, caring, nothing from the heart. Clearly, NOT a follower of Jesus’ teaching of love they neighbor.

  • Charli Girl

    Wonder what these folks would do if they came to a business and were denied service due to THEIR RELIGIOUS BELIEFS? Ohhhhhh it’d be ON then,huh? Brian Fisher would be on it like white on rice!
    He’d be running out the door so fast he’d forget to put his pants on!
    Hypocritical Bigots!

  • 2eo

    @Charli Girl: You should bring it up.

    I posted their home address and telephone number earlier on in this thread. Here it is again anyway, let them know how you feel.

    Aaron W. Klein
    20454 NE Sandy Blvd, Apt B22
    Fairview, OR 97024-8786

  • hf2hvit

    @Eric Auerbach: No…she wears the strap-on

  • Fidelio

    I wonder if they realize their “beliefs” are simply a euphamism for bigotry. Like an drug addict who won’t admit their problem. He ought to rephrase his stance by saying, “If I have to be… penalized for my [bigotry], then I guess, well, that’ll be what it is.”

  • Joel J

    I don’t think Klein’s Bible says, “Do not sell cake to sodomites.” I think it does say, “Judge not that ye, yourself be judged.” Klein ought to leave his abominating to his imaginary Dio in the sky.

  • Charli Girl

    “How u doin?” … Do you feel that Lil sensation down your spine of LOSING? Do you wake up in the morning and wish you had the heart of this gay community Sunshine? Do you find yourself wondering why this movement is so powerful? It’s love and courage my little friend.Thanks for joining us,welcome.Take your halo off n stay awhile dumplin.

  • Globaltraveler

    Paid for by tax dollars:
    -the road leading to his business
    -the sidewalk in front of his business
    -the police force to guard it
    -the fire department to protect it

    The list goes on.

    If you’re operating a business open to the public, and you depend upon tax payer funded services to operate, then you don’t get to violate the law and discriminate. If you feel that strongly about it, then relocate your business to a church yard sale. If you want my tax dollars to help you operate, then you have to serve me, no matter how odious you might find my personal life to be. Don’t like it? Too damn bad.

  • Chad Hunt

    @Chad Hunt: oops … Sorry @Kasnar my comment #38 was not meant for you. My bad. It was meant for @Charlie in Charge.

  • nelsnath

    First of all the people who did this were obviously trying to pick a fight. Look at the crosses painted on the wall. Also I have a question. If an gay advertisement agency was asked to make ads to promote an anti-gay marriage bill would they be forced to do it? I do think that this was the wrong way to go about this, I would have told them the cake would be 30,000 dollars. I don’t know I havnt lived in America very long, but I don’t think they did anything wrong.

Comments are closed.