Lesbian Couple Files Complaint Over Oregon Bakery's Wedding Cake Refusal

A lesbian couple in Oregon has filed a formal complaint with the state's Bureau of Labor and Industries alleging discrimination after a bakery in Gresham, Ore., refused to bake a cake for the couple's same-sex wedding in January.
By: Sunnivie Brydum
August 14 2013 2:51 PM

A lesbian couple in Oregon has filed a formal complaint with the state's Bureau of Labor and Industries alleging discrimination after a bakery in Gresham, Ore., refused to bake a cake for the couple's same-sex wedding in January. 

Rachel Cryer, 30, told OregonLive.com that she visited Sweet Cakes bakery in Gresham, Ore., last January, asking the bakery to make a wedding cake for her upcoming nuptials to her parer, Laurel. But when she revealed the cake would be for a same-sex wedding, owner Aaron Klein refused to bake the cake, allegedly calling the lesbian couple "an abomination of the Lord." 

The state's attorney general is currently investigating the incident, but the couple has now filed an additional complaint with the state's labor bureau, to see if Klein violated the state's antidiscrimination statute, which prohibits discrimination in public accommodation on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Klein, who owns Sweet Cakes with his wife, Melissa, said he's just expressing his First Amendment right to freedom of religion, citing his Christian beliefs as the reason he couldn't serve a law-abiding, paying customer.

"It's definitely not discrimination at all," Melissa Klein told OregonLive. "We don't have anything against lesbians or homosexuals. It has to do with our morals and beliefs. It's so frustrating because we went through all of this in January, when it all came out."

After news of the refusal first broke earlier this year, celebrity baker, star of Ace of Cakes and executive chef at Baltimore's Charm City Cakes, Duff Goldman, offered the couple a free cake, delivered without charge to their ceremony in Oregon after he heard about the "injustice involving cake" that he felt he could remedy. The couple accepted Goldman's offer in February

OregonLive.com notes that this complaint marks the 10th filed in the last five years where LGBT Oregonians reported discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. 

And while the U.S. constitution does guarantee freedom of religion, Oregon's labor commissioner told OregonLive that such a protection doesn't equate to a license to refuse service to someone in the public sphere. 

"Everybody is entitled to their own beliefs, but that doesn't mean that folks have the right to discriminate," labor commissioner Brad Avakian told OregonLive.

Watch the original report from Oregon's KATU below. 


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