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Bakery says state constitution protects actions

Sweet Cakes by Melissa responds to investigation


The owners of a Gresham bakery, who are accused of violating Oregon’s anti-discrimination law, said it’s their constitutional right to refuse service based on religious beliefs.

In an official response to the Oregon Department of Justice, which is reviewing a complaint filed against Sweet Cakes by Melissa, Aaron and Melissa Klein contend the Oregon Constitution protects their freedom of religion and freedom of religious opinion.

In January, a lesbian couple from Portland asked the bakery to make a cake for their same-sex wedding, but Aaron refused, saying it violated his Christian belief that marriage is between a man and a woman.

In the response, the Klein’s also noted that the Oregon Constitution does not recognize same-sex marriage.

“Put simply, they 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,” wrote the bakery’s attorney, Herbert Grey.

Laurel Bowman filed the complaint Friday, Jan. 18, one day after Aaron refused to make a cake and allegedly called the couple “abominations unto the Lord.”

The Kleins, though, said that comment was “taken completely out of context,” according to the letter.

The Department of Justice will determine if the bakery violated state law, which doesn’t allow places of public accommodation to refuse service based on several classifications, including sexual orientation.

But in the response, the Kleins said they serve homosexual individuals, they just don’t make cakes for same-sex weddings.

“More importantly, Sweet Cakes by Melissa has never declined to serve any of its customers on the basis of sexual orientation or any other basis ...” Grey wrote, adding that the Kleins have served the same-sex couple in the past.



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