The Oregon bakers who declined to make a cake for a lesbian couple celebrating their “marriage” have been found guilty in a state investigation of violating the women’s rights – even though the state of Oregon itself doesn’t even permit gay marriage.
Aaron and Melissa Klein, co-owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, have endured nearly a year of harassment from gay rights activists and a state investigation and are now facing fines for violating the couple’s rights – but they’re not backing down.
“We still stand by what we believe from the beginning,” Aaron Klein told KATU-TV.
“I’m not sure what future holds, but as far as where we’re at right now … it’s almost as if the state is hostile toward Christian businesses.”
On Friday, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industry announced that its investigation had found the Kleins had discriminated against Portland residents Rachel Cryer and Laurel Bowman because they refused to make a cake for the women’s wedding.
According to the state, businesses may not deny service to customers because of sexual orientation. But that’s not what the Kleins say they did. They say the women have been customers before; the Kleins say they refused to service a gay wedding for religious reasons.
According to the Oregonian, the Kleins will now have to participate in settlement talks with the women. If they can’t reach a settlement, the state could press discrimination charges in an administrative law court, which could mean thousands of dollars in fines.
The irony of the case is that the state of Oregon itself doesn’t permit gay marriage, although it does recognize domestic partnerships and gay marriages performed in other jurisdictions. November’s election is expected to include a question on repealing the state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage that passed in 2004.
“They’re being punished by the state of Oregon for refusing to participate in an event that the state of Oregon does not recognize,” the Kleins’ attorney, Herbert Grey, wrote on the couple’s Facebook page, according to the Oregonian.
The Kleins say they’ve been punished by gay activists all year, including hate-filled, threatening emails, pressure on vendors they’ve dealt with in the marriage business and canceled contracts that eventually forced them to close their bakery and operate out of their home.
In September, they told The Blaze, a company truck in their driveway was broken into, though nothing was stolen.
On Facebook on Friday, Melissa Klein thanked the couple’s supporters
“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,” she wrote. “From what we have gathered we now have to wait to find out what the fines will be within 60 days … Please continue to pray for our family. God is great, amazing and all powerful. I know He has a plan.”
Check out the report on KATU-TV here.
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