Oregon bakery faces up to $150K in discrimination fines

By : Staff Report
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Gresham, Ore. – An Oregon bakery faces fines of up to $150,000 for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple. The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries announced Feb. 2 that Sweet Cakes by Melissa would be facing fines and that the owners’ refusal of service violated the state’s nondiscrimination ordinance.

Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, refused service to a Rachel Cryer and Laurel Bowman in January 2013. The Kleins had refused to bake the wedding cake because of the Kleins’ religious beliefs.

Bowman filed an anti-discrimination complaint with Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries in 2013. Bowman claimed that the bakery had violated the Oregon Equality Act of 2007, which protects the rights of Oregonians who are gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual.

A settlement opportunity was presented to the Kleins if they confessed their fault. However, the Kleins refused the settlement, which leaves them facing up to $75,000 per person, or $150,000 in total fines.

The potential $150,000 fine is enough to close the Klein’s business. The storefront of the bakery has been closed since Dec. 2013, due to public protest, leaving the Kleins operating from home.

Melissa Klein, speaking to the Values Voter Summit in Washington D.C, said, “It’s definitely impacted us pretty hard financially, and it’s been a little stressful, but… we have the Lord and so He’s been keeping us strong.”

An exact amount of fines will be determined at a hearing on March 10.

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