A Christian bakery in Gresham, Ore., announced its decision to shut down after relentless harassment by LGBT activists. According to Fox News, the bakery’s owners, Aaron and Melissa Klein, refused to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple last January. They faced boycotts days later when the couple filed a discrimination protest with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries.
“It’s a sad day for Christian business owners and it’s a sad day for the First Amendment,” Aaron Klein said. “The LGBT attacks are the reason we are shutting down the shop. They have killed our business through mob tactics.”
Pro-gay groups targeted the bakery by threatening other businesses in the community. They vowed to boycott any florist, wedding planner, or other vendor that did business with Sweet Cakes by Melissa. The Kleins even received threats against their family, including wishes that their children would die.
According to the Huffington Post, Sweet Cakes by Melissa officially closed its doors on August 31. The business’s Facebook page announced that the Kleins will still bake wedding cakes from their home. Aaron Klein had to secure a separate full-time job in order to support the couple’s five children.
“We don’t have anything against lesbians or homosexuals,” Melissa Klein said in August. “It has to do with our morals and beliefs.”
This instance of hate-mongering against wedding vendors certainly isn’t the first. About two months ago, I mentioned another bakery owner, Jack Phillips, who faces jail time for refusing a wedding cake to a gay couple in Colorado. The Colorado attorney general’s office filed a formal complaint against Phillips, and a hearing before the state’s civil rights commission will take place later this month.
The Kleins face a formal discrimination investigation from Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries.
“Everybody is entitled to their own beliefs, but that doesn’t mean folks have the right to discriminate,” commissioner Brad Avakian told The Oregonian. “The goal is to rehabilitate. For those who do violate the law, we want them to learn from experience and have a good, successful business in Oregon.”
Apparently, this means that Christians can practice their faith, but only if it doesn’t inconvenience LGBT supporters.
Aaron Klein warned other Christians to be ready for such attacks.
“This is a fight that’s been coming for a while,” he said. “Be prepared to take a stand.”
Take a stand, indeed. It’s time for states to step up their religious protection laws so that Christian families can continue to earn their livings while still avidly practicing their faith.