The Christian owners of an Oregon bakery are shutting down their storefront cake shop following harassment by homosexual activists and state labor authorities. Aaron and Melissa Klein say they are closing the doors on their retail bakery store in Gresham, Oregon, because
of the "Mafia-style tactics" of "gay rights" activists and supporters.
The Kleins' business, Sweet Cakes by Melissa, became the center of controversy in January when the shop declined to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex union ceremony. The Kleins cited their religious beliefs in refusing to bake the ceremonial cake for the lesbian "couple."
"I believe marriage is between a man and a woman," Aaron Klein said. "I don't want to help somebody celebrate a commitment to a lifetime of sin."
The lesbian couple filed a complain with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, charging that they were the victims of "sexual orientation" discrimination. State labor officials are investigating the business to determine whether the Kleins violated state laws
protecting individuals from discrimination based on "sexual orientation."
Brad Avakian, Commissioner of the Labor and Industries Bureau, says that the goal of the state officials is to "rehabilitate" business owners like the Kleins. "Everybody is entitled to their own beliefs, but that doesn't mean folks have the right to discriminate. Our goal is to rehabilitate. For those who do violate the law, we want them to learn from that experience."
"It's a sad day for Christian business owners and it's a sad day for the First Amendment," says Aaron Klein. "They've been militant. They have killed our business through mob tactics. The best way I can describe it is
they've used Mafia tactics against our business. My attorney calls it economic terrorism."
Homosexual activists conducted demonstrations outside the Sweet Cakes by Melissa shop. They organized a public boycott against the business. They threatened vendors who did business with the Kleins (such as florists and wedding planners) that they would organize boycotts against them as well. As a result, the Kleins' wedding business dried up.
As the hate campaign against the Kleins has raged, the family has borne the brunt of numerous vile and malicious threats. The Kleins have received e-mail messages in which individuals expressed the hope that
Aaron and Melissa would be killed and that their children would die.
One person wrote: "You stupid bible thumping b****. I hope your kids get really, really sick." Another person wrote: "Maybe your God will send you some cat food to eat when you are living on the street."
The Kleins have responded by posting a Scripture from Proverbs on their website: "Better is a poor man who walks in integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways."
Aaron Klein says he remains in good spirits. "This is a fight that has been coming for a while. I'm happy to be serving the Lord and standing up for what's right. Hopefully, the church will wake up and understand that we are under attack right now."
Melissa Klein says that the episode has strengthened her faith. "It is so worth it just to sit back and watch how God provides for you. I struggled in the past with trust and even with my faith in Him and through this my faith has grown, my trust has grown tremendously."
"Yes, I have lost something I worked really hard for and have put lots of years into," she adds. "But I know that really doesn't matter. My eternal home is what matters. I'm happy and OK and being provided for."
Please continue to be praying for the Kleins, who home educate their five children. If the Oregon Bureau of
Labor and Industries rules against them, they could be liable for a civil penalty of $1000 per "violation," and as much as $50,000 for "emotional damage."
Homosexual activists are now trying to stop Melissa from baking cakes for sale out of her home. "They're just continually harassing us," Melissa says. I guess in my mind I thought we lived in a lot nicer world where everybody tolerated everybody."
During the recent legislative session here in Missouri, the Missouri Senate passed legislation which would have authorized the same kind of legal harassment of Christian business owners. Fortunately, the Missouri
House rejected the adoption of the "sexual orientation discrimination" bill.
We urge you to send a message of encouragement to the Kleins. You can do so at this e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can watch a Fox News
interview with the Kleins at this link:Sweet Cakes by Melissa