An Oregon baker could face legal action after turning away a lesbian couple who sought a cake for their forthcoming wedding.
As KATU first reported, Sweet Cakes Bakery owner Aaron Klein admitted he denied a lesbian bride-to-be service after she visited his shop on Jan. 17. The woman who filed the complaint tells the station that she had previously purchased a wedding cake from Sweet Cakes for her mother, and was only refused after she specified that this cake was for a same-sex wedding.
Klein, who reportedly owns the bakery with his wife Melissa, told NBC he was simply living in accordance with his religious beliefs by rejecting the lesbian couple's request. Furthermore, he believes his decision to deny the couple service is protected by his Constitutional right to practice his religion as he sees fit.
"I believe that marriage is a religious institution ordained by God," Klein is quoted as saying. "A man should leave his mother and father and cling to his wife ... that to me is the beginning of marriage."
Specifying that he does not consider himself to be anti-gay -- "I'll sell [gay people] stuff...I'll talk to them, it's fine" -- Klein went on to note, "I'd rather have my kids see their dad stand up for what he believes in than to see him bow down because one person complained."
While he denies the lesbian couple's charge that he referred to them as "abominations unto the Lord," he said he'd rather close down his business than "be forced to do something that violates my conscience," according to KATU.
But now, the question for Oregon Attorney General's civil enforcement officers is whether or not Klein's beliefs are enough to defend him against the Oregon Equality Act of 2007, which prohibits discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, KPVR reports.
It isn't the first time that a same-sex couple has been turned away for a wedding cake. In July, a Colorado gay couple hoped to order a cake from Lakewood's Masterpiece Cakeshop but were reportedly refused by owner Jack Phillips, who is said to have told them his business doesn't support same-sex marriage.
Similarly, in November 2011, a lesbian couple was denied a wedding cake by the Christian owner of an Iowa-based bakery. "I didn't do the cake because of my convictions for their lifestyle," Victoria Childress, who runs her bakery from home, told KCCI-TV at the time. "It is my right, and it's not to discriminate against them. It's not so much to do with them, it's to do with me and my walk with God and what I will answer [to] Him for."
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An Iowa lesbian couple might have hoped to find a wedding cake that was both delicate and sweet, but they say <a href="http://washingtonexaminer.com/news/2011/11/baker-denies-wedding-cake-same-sex-couple" target="_hplink">their experience with a Des Moines-based baker</a> left behind a sour taste. As KCCI-TV<a href="http://www.kcci.com/news/29753206/detail.html" target="_hplink"> is reporting</a>, the owner of Victoria's Cake Cottage refused to bake a cake for Trina Vodraska and Janelle Sievers, who are planning a June wedding, because she is Christian. Victoria Childress, who runs her bakery from home, says it's her right as a business owner to turn away customers."I said, 'I'll tell you I'm a Christian, and I do have convictions.' And I said, 'I'm sorry to tell you, but I'm not going to be able to do your cake," Childress, who met the couple during a taste-testing appointment, said. "I didn't do the cake because of my convictions for their lifestyle. It is my right, and it's not to discriminate against them. It's not so much to do with them, it's to do with me and my walk with God and what I will answer [to] Him for."
A Phoenix-based lesbian couple cried foul after <a href="http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/local/articles/2012/02/28/20120228phoenix-sheraton-reach-out-ousted-lesbian-couple.html" target="_hplink">being told to "get a room" by a hotel restaurant manager</a> during a romantic dinner. <em>The Arizona Republic</em> says Kenyata White and Aeimee Diaz, both 38, chose to celebrate their two-year anniversary at the District American Kitchen and Wine Bar, located inside the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel, on Sunday because they met there. "My partner and I were reminiscing...in one of the tall booths," White told the paper. "I had my arm around her neck, and she had her hand around my waist. I gave her a hug for about a minute, pulled myself away to give her a quick kiss, and then we continued talking." White told AZ Family that <a href="http://www.azfamily.com/news/A-Lesbian-couple-is-kicked-out-of-a-Downtown-hotel-after-sharing-a-kiss-140801993.html" target="_hplink">she and Diaz were then approached</a> by a restaurant manager, who "came up to us and said we should get a room. That our behavior was inappropriate and we should leave the establishment."
Rose Marie Belforti, the town clerk in Ledyard, N.Y., drew national attention after refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The town's government is behind Belforti, saying it cannot force her to issue licenses.
A Florida-based lesbian couple said they were humiliated by their driver's license application "nightmare" after the Pinellas County DMV rejected their name change request after an hour-long wait.
The owner of a new gay bar on Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood said he was refused service because a printing company thinks homosexuality is wrong. The printing company's owner argued he didn't approve of the artwork on the promotional material.
Earlier this year, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed suit against the Wildflower Inn in Lyndonville, Vermont after the proprietors <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joseph-alexander/a-change-is-gonna-come_1_b_1079932.html" target="_hplink">refused to host</a> Katherine Baker and Ming-Lien Linsley's same-sex wedding reception. As ABC <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/US/vermont-inn-sued-refusal-host-gay-couples-wedding/story?id=14110076#.TsFfOoBPkqU" target="_hplink">is reporting</a>, the inn updated its website shortly thereafter to announce it is "no longer hosting weddings or special events."
In August, Alix Genter, a lesbian bride-to-be, claimed to have been denied service at Here Comes the Bride in Somers Point, N.J., after the salon's manager said she didn't want to be associated with the pending "illegal action," <a href="http://articles.philly.com/2011-08-18/news/29900898_1_bridal-shop-dresses-gay-marriage" target="_hplink">according to the</a><em> Philadelphia Daily News</em>.