GRESHAM, Ore. — Bakery owner Aaron Klein says he sells cakes to customers of all sexual orientations. He draws the line, however, at wedding cakes for same-sex couples.
Klein, who along with his wife owns the Gresham bakery Sweet Cakes by Melissa, is under investigation after a Portland woman filed a consumer complaint alleging the business refused to make a cake for her wedding to another woman.
Laurel Bowman wrote that Klein called the couple “abominations unto the Lord” and said their money wasn’t equal.
Klein denied calling the couple “abominations” or saying their money was unequal. But he acknowledged to The Oregonian newspaper and KATU-TV that he refused them service.
“I believe marriage is a religious institution between a man and woman as stated in the Bible,” Klein told The Oregonian on Friday. “When someone tells me that their definition is something different, I strongly disagree. I don’t think I should be penalized for that.”
Bowman, who declined to comment, wrote in her complaint that the couple initially chose to have their cake made by Sweet Cakes because they bought a wedding cake there for $250 years earlier without incident. But that cake wasn’t for a same-sex marriage.
The state attorney general’s office is investigating. If the agency finds cause — it is awaiting Sweet Cakes’ official account of what happened — it has the option of filing a discrimination complaint with the state Bureau of Labor and Industries.
State law says it is a violation for a business to deny “full and equal accommodations” for customers based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and other factors.
Klein said he and his wife make no secret about their beliefs at the bakery, pointing to the store’s website and the crosses on its walls. The website says they “strongly believe that when a man and woman come together to be joined as one, it is truly one of the most special days of their lives.”