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The story of Sweet Cakes By Melissa has been unfolding over the past few months, beginning with Christian owners Aaron and Melissa Klein refusing to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple, and now ending with the shop’s closing after an aggressive series of boycotts, protests, and activism from the LGBT community.
The business, which is located in Gresham, Oregon and has since been relocated to the couple’s home, designs and bakes custom cakes for many occasions, and has stated that they are willing to make cakes for customers of any sexual orientation, with the exception being a cake for a same-sex wedding. Despite the reason for this being their Christian faith, a clash of civil liberties has ensued, leaving the business limping and LGBT activists fired up after a series of what Aaron Klein describes as “Mafia-like” tactics.
The Klein family received death threats of hoping that their children would grow ill and die. Media headlines have branded them “Anti-Gay Bakers.” LGBT activists approached other local wedding businesses who worked with Sweet Cakes By Melissa, delivering this ultimatum: “If you don’t stop doing business with Sweet Cakes By Melissa, we will shut you down.”
“How do you become one of the most hated businesses in America? Commit civil rights violations!” said Chelsea Hoffman, a blogger and crime journalist notorious for posting offensive articles. After the lesbian couple filed a discrimination complaint with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, the Klein’s attorney sent a letter defending his clients, stating that the Klein’s “elected not to participate in an event that is not even officially recognized under Oregon law when doing so would violate their constitutionally-protected conscience and religious beliefs.”
This debate quickly falls into the realm of moral arguments, as the constitution guarantees free expression of beliefs. However, Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian has taken a more state-centric approach to the issue, advocating for rehabilitation of Christian business owners who believe they have the right to choose which customers they serve.
“Everybody is entitled to their own beliefs, but that doesn’t mean that folks have the right to discriminate,” Avakian told The Oregonian. “The goal is never to shut down a business. The goal is to rehabilitate. For those who do violate the law, we want them to learn from that experience and have a good, successful business in Oregon.”
Avakian pledges to conduct a “fair and thorough” investigation into the alleged discrimination charges.
Meanwhile, the Klein family is staying positive.
“As a man of faith, I am in good spirits,” said Aaron Klein. “I’m happy to be serving the Lord and standing up for what’s right.”
Expect more updates as the discrimination case proceeds.
Tags: aaron klein, bakery, Brad Avakian, cake, chelsea hoffman, christian, civil liberties, closed, Discrimination, faith, freedom, investigation, Lesbian, LGBT, liberty, mafia, melissa klein, Sweet Cakes By Melissa, tactic, wedding
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