Oregon bakery forced to close following pressure from gay rights activists
A Portland area bakery that came under fire for refusing to provide a cake for a same-sex wedding is waving the white flag.
Sweet Cakes by Melissa closed its doors in Gresham and the owners are moving it back into their home where it started.
Aaron and Melissa Klein say their business is down more than 50 percent, and they are tired of being targeted by gay rights activists.
“There’s a lot of closed minded people out there,” said Aaron Klein. “They would like to pretend to be very tolerant and just want equal rights, 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.”
According to the Kleins, activists have been targeting their vendors and customers telling them to avoid Sweet Cakes or face being shut down.
“There was a group of people, I don’t know who these people were, that called and emailed and harassed a lot of our vendors to the point where they had to take us off. A lot of them stopped referring us because of it,” explained Melissa Klein.
The Kleins said they refused to bake the wedding cake for the gay couple because their religious beliefs prevent them from participating in a same-sex marriage.
Melissa Klein told KATU TV, “I am who I am, and I want to live my life the way I want to live my life. I choose to serve God and I believe in the Bible and I believe what it says. I want to live by that.”
The sign on their now vacant store reads, “This is ridiculous that we cannot practice our faith.”
“I’m not the type where I want to shove it down anyone else’s throat or anything like that, so I guess I would hope to have the same respect that things don’t have to be shoved on me and force me to do something I don’t want to do,” said Melissa Klein.
Aaron Klein said the couple will continue to fight for their rights and push for religious freedom.
“I hope that if nothing else that we’ve given other people, who believe what we believe, the strength to stand up. 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 will to stand up and take this fight.”
The Kleins said there are plenty of people who support their side of this issue and support continues to give them strength.
The State of Oregon is looking into whether the Kleins broke the law by refusing to provide the cake.
Oregon law is much more specific than Washington’s on this issue. It does not allow any business to deny service based on sexual orientation.
There is an exemption for religious organizations and schools, but not private businesses.
The Kleins hope to have their in-home bakery up and running by next week.