Gresham bakery won't make cake for gay wedding - CBS 5 - KPHO

Bakery owner says business booming despite controversy

Posted: Updated: Feb 4, 2013 08:04 AM
GRESHAM, OR (KPTV) -

A Gresham bakery is under state investigation after a complaint filed with the Oregon Department of Justice alleged a co-owner refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.

The complaint says an owner of Sweet Cakes by Melissa referred to a lesbian couple as "abominations unto the lord [sic]."

"We were then informed that our money was not equal, my fiance reduced to tears," the complaint reads. "This is absolutely unacceptable."

Aaron Klein denied making those statements, but admits he refused the couple's business on religious grounds.

"I stopped what I was doing, I looked at them and said, 'I'm sorry I may have wasted your time, we don't do same-sex marriages,'" he said.

Klein and his wife, who opened the bakery five years ago, do not hide their religious beliefs.

The Sweet Cakes website says they "strongly believe that when a man and women come together to be joined as one, it is [truly] one of the most special days of their lives."

A Bible sits on top of a bakery display case.

While Oregon law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, Klein believes the U.S. constitution protects him.

"I'm free to exercise my religion however I see fit. I should not be compelled to violate my conscience," he said. "If I'm told I have to make a wedding cake for a same-sex marriage, I feel that I'm violating my beliefs. I don't think I should have to do that."

After Klein responds in writing to the Department of Justice, they will determine whether or not to take action against Sweet Cakes.

He is willing to accept the consequences, whether that means losing business or getting into trouble with the state.

"I'd rather stand up for what I believe in and what I feel is right and get totally annihilated when it comes in the end than to bow down to this and say 'go ahead,'" he said. "Because that sets the standard for the next one, the next one and the next one."

The couple behind the complaint referred Fox 12 to their attorney, Paul Thompson. He declined to comment.

Klein said the phone has been ringing off the hook with calls of support from across the country, but supports of the same-sex couple have flooded the bakery's Facebook page with negative comments.

He said business was booming over the weekend.

"I just keep trying to tell everybody, 'It's not about trying to make some public stunt.' I'm just extremely convicted about this and this is my belief," Klein said.

Copyright 2013 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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