The owners of a Christian bakery who refused to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple are facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines after they were found guilty of violating the couple’s civil rights.
The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries said they found “substantial evidence” that Sweet Cakes by Melissa discriminated against the lesbian couple and violated the Oregon Equality Act of 2007, a law that protects the rights of the LGBT community.
Last year, the bakery’s owners refused to make a wedding cake for Rachel Cryer and Laurel Bowman, of Portland, citing their Christian beliefs. The couple then filed a complaint with the state.
“The investigation concludes that the bakery is not a religious institution under the law and that the business’ policy of refusing to make same-sex wedding cakes represents unlawful discrimination based on sexual orientation,” said Charlie Burr, a spokesman for the Bureau of Labor and Industries.
The backlash against Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of the bakery, was severe. Gay rights groups launched protests and pickets outside the family’s store. They threatened wedding vendors who did business with the bakery. And, Klein told me, the family’s children were the targets of death threats.
The family eventually had to close their retail shop and now operate the bakery out of their home.
HT LTC West