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Diatribe: Melissa Klein Was Not “Forced” To Close Her Bakery.

09/30/2014
Klein

Melissa Klein

In my hometown, there was a family-run clothing store on one of the old downtown streets that had been there for many years.  It had survived many changes to the local economy and I never understood how it could compete with larger department stores.  I imagine the family that owned it had deeply held religious convictions and did their best to run their business in accordance with their beliefs.  I’m also quite certain that they obeyed the laws of the village, the county and the state.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin and applied to schools, workplaces and facilities that served the general public known as “public accommodations”.  The Oregon Equality Act of 2007 extended these protections to include gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender citizens in the state.

In January 2013, Sweet Cakes By Melissa refused service to a lesbian couple looking for a wedding cake.  The subsequent fallout included national media attention and a state investigation for anti-gay discrimination which were perpetuated by Klein’s continued actions including baking cakes for an “ex-gay” group.

Klein and her husband, Aaron, are now fighting a $150,000 lawsuit from the state that made her break into tears while discussing her passion for wedding cakes during a September 26th appearance at the recent Values Voter Summit.  She told the audience that the couple was driven out of their small town business after they said it would “violate their religious beliefs” to do business with lesbian couple Rachel Cryer and Laurel Bowman.

Despite the fact that the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries said there is strong evidence that the couple broke the law, they claim they were “forced” to shut down their bakery.

“I mean quite frankly, they didn’t just harass us, they harassed the other wedding vendors that we did business with.  It cut off our referral system.  We had to shut the shop down.  It’s horrible to see your own government doing this to you.” – Aaron Klein

The fact is Melissa and Aaron Klein were not forced to close Sweet Cakes By Melissa.  They broke the law and, consequently, chose to stop providing services in her community rather than follow the laws obeyed by competitors.  In the time since their refusal of service, the Kleins have become martyrs and marketing tools for the anti-gay agenda and those opposed to marriage equality.  They, and their radical supporters, ridiculously believe that their Constitutional right to freely exercise their religion is being violated.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  A few things to consider.

  1. The Kleins are free to believe whatever they want.
  2. There’s no law that says they have to run a bakery.
  3. It’s against state law to discriminate if they choose to do so.

Here’s a video of Melissa’s September 26th performance.  Enjoy the well-timed applause.  I think she put on quite a show.

Poor, poor, Melissa.  Poor crying, sobbing, blithering Melissa.  She can’t be part of any more “amazing special days” because she discriminates against same-sex couples and it’s against the law.  Maybe she should’ve baked Rachel and Laurel’s cake.  Maybe she should’ve been nicer instead of making a federal case.  Maybe she should rethink her religion … the one she’s got now cost her $150k.

Of course, she’ll probably make plenty of bank on her book tour.

UPDATE 07/14/15: Sweet Cakes by Melissa CrowdFunder breaks record with $352k.

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8 Comments
  1. The two of them are ridiculous.
    Should’a baked the damn cake. That doesn’t mean they support marriage equality, it means they are paid bakers. They don’t get that!

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  2. According to Wikipedia, same sex marriages were not legal in January of 2013. I am curious to see how this civil lawsuit is going to go, considering that religion is protected under the Constitution, that civil issues are governed by the state, and same sex marriages were not recognized by Oregon law at the time. One could easily argue that baking that cake would have promoted an illegal activity. Just saying……. (And Wikipedia could have their facts wrong about some sex marriage). I am sure my comment will hurt someone’s feeling but the facts are what they are and regardless of the hurt feelings, I am still curious to see this case argued from all sides of the spectrum. It would be great for law school mock trials.

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    • Wikipedia is correct inasmuch as marriage equality did not come to the State of Oregon until May of 2014, however the lawsuit facing Sweet Cakes By Melissa has nothing to do with the legality of same-sex marriage in the state of Oregon at the time of the incident in January of 2013. By refusing to do business with the lesbian couple, the bakery violated the Oregon Equality Act of 2007 which “forbids discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression in several critical areas” including “places open to the public such as businesses that sell goods or services, recreational facilities and provider of medical services.”

      I, too, am curious to see how this lawsuit plays out. While the Kleins are certainly within their Constitutional rights to adhere to any religious convictions in their personal lives, they are expected to obey the laws of the state when doing business with the public regardless of those personal religious convictions. If their personal beliefs prohibit them from following Oregon laws, they may have to choose to do business elsewhere, engage in a different type of business or adjust their personal beliefs to avoid further retribution or arrest. Of course, they can work to try to change existing laws, but this would seem to be an effort in futility as the notion of religion as a weapon for discrimination is not particularly popular.

      Thanks for writing!

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  3. martykate permalink

    This couple is now baking “happy conversion” cakes for people who have undergone “gay conversion therapy” and have successfully graduated (?) How bigoted can you choose to be? Conversion–or “reparative”–therapy is for the most part not effective and often quite harmful. Leelah Alcorn’s parents forced her into conversion therapy, and she chose to run in front of a tractor-trailer. So sad that her life ended at 17. I hope these people lose everything they have.

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    • tom permalink

      Religious intolerance of same-sex marriage must be stamped out! Now that the gay community has demonstrated that christian bakeries in Oregon must sell wedding cakes to lesbian and gay couples, why don’t they send a same-sex couple to a bakery run by a Moslem family and demand a cake. Islam forbids homosexuality, and I’m sure there are other religions that do as well, so why not target and “rehabilitate” all business owners who follow a religion that might not condone same-sex marriage? Shouldn’t they all be coerced into getting on board the tolerance train as well? There would probably be more lawsuit settlements, so think of the opportunities to pick up some spare cash..

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  4. This is RIDICULOUS! The LGBT community have the right to ask for a baker to make a cake for their wedding (based on their rights protected by law), and the Christian community have the right to say no (based on their rights protected by law). It’s clear “equality” isn’t the goal here, this is about one group trying to be better or have more rights than another. Honestly Yeah the Christians could have “just baked the cake” but the Lesbians could have just gone to another bakery. This was all taken too far. To be fair and tolerant Gay and Transgendered people will live and follow their beliefs, and Christians will live and follow God. Freedom of Speech. Freedom of Choice.

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    • The crux of this particular matter, and many others like it, is “public accommodation”. Businesses who open to do business with the public must do business with ALL of the public. It’s really that simple. And in the progressive State of Oregon they have laws in place that prevent business owners from discriminating against this specific segment of the population because so many people (many who call themselves “Christian”) believe they have a right to do so. Discrimination is discrimination regardless of one’s motivation and it’s also bad for business.

      Like

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