With the sound of a mixer whirring in the background, Melissa Klein tells me business at her cake shop has tripled this week.
“We’ve been so busy we had to hire another baker and we’ll probably hire more employees just to keep up with the orders,” she says.
Melissa and Aaron Klein own “Sweet Cakes by Melissa,” the Gresham, Oregon bakery that turned away a same-sex couple who wanted to order a wedding cake.
“Our phone has been ringing non-stop and we’ve received more than 3,000 emails this week of support,” she says.
Aaron reportedly called the lesbian couple “abominations unto the Lord.” Klein denies calling the couple “abominations” but does admit he refused to make a wedding cake for them because same-sex marriage goes against his Christian faith.
Before the controversy and discrimination investigation by the Oregon Attorney’s office, “Sweet Cakes” had fewer than a dozen reviews Yelp – an online business directory that features customer reviews.
Now the family-owned bakery has more than 375 business reviews from all over the world both in favor and against the couple’s refusal to bake a cake for a gay wedding.
“I don’t like cakes served with hate,” writes Michael B. in Nicholasville, Kentucky. “Perhaps you should be thinking of another occupation, while I know a lot of people who agree with your brand of hatred have been gracing your door the last few days, you can be rest assured those people will thin out quickly and you will find your business irreparably damaged and heading for chapter 11.”
“I never ordered a cake from here, nor will I ever probably. But if I could, I would. The fact that you are willing to stand for your beliefs and suffer the consequences makes you a better person than anyone here who think cake can taste like hate or can be baked with it. You run your business, and you run it the way you want to,” writes Conner J. from Whitmore Lake, Michigan. “Stand strong Sweet Cakes.”
While there are many “shame on you” comments, with suggestions they change the shop’s name to “Sweet Hate by Melissa,” a few people express the view that a private business has the right to refuse service to someone.
That’s not the way Oregon law sees it.
Investigators from the Oregon attorney general’s office are examining whether the business violated a 2007 Oregon law preventing businesses for discriminating based on sexual preference.
It’s is a violation – subject to a fine – for a business to deny full and equal accommodations for customers based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and other factors.
“I would hope they would consider our point of view and both sides before they fine us, or anything,” Melissa Klein says. “We’re just standing up for what we believe.”
“Thanks for reminding me that we are in the land of the free. Too bad so many don’t understand. To them it is land of the free as long as it is my way,” Tim A. in Seattle writes on Yelp.
“Stale, dry cupcakes,” Ryan T. from Portland concludes. “Also didn’t appreciate the homophobia.”
By LINDA THOMAS