Follow breaking news @lgbtqnation
Oregon

Gay couple files complaint against bakery for refusing wedding cake

Thursday, August 15, 2013

PORTLAND, Ore. — A same-sex couple in Oregon who tried to buy a cake for their wedding has filed a discrimination complaint against the bakery that turned them down on religious grounds.

The state Bureau of Labor and Industries will investigate whether Sweet Cakes by Melissa violated a 2007 state law that protects the rights of gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people in employment, housing and public accommodations, The Oregonian reported Wednesday.

Sweet Cakes by Melissa, Gresham, Ore.

Aaron Klein

In her complaint, Rachel N. Cryer, 30, said she went to the Gresham bakery on Jan. 17 for an appointment to order the cake. She met with owner Aaron Klein, who asked for the date and names of the bride and groom.

“I told him, ‘There are two brides and our names are Rachel and Laurel,’” the complaint says.

Klein responded that he and his wife didn’t serve same-sex weddings and “cited a religious belief for its refusal to make cakes for same-sex couples planning to marry,” the complaint says.

Melissa Klein said the complaint was delivered to the bakery on Tuesday.

“It’s definitely not discrimination at all. We don’t have anything against lesbians or homosexuals,” she said. “It has to do with our morals and beliefs.”

The 2007 law provides an exemption for religious organizations and parochial schools but does not allow private business owners to discriminate based on sexual orientation.

The complaint will go to an investigator. If substantial evidence of discrimination is found, the inquiry could lead to a settlement or proceedings before an administrative law judge.

The judge could propose an order to the labor commissioner, Brad Avakian, who would make the final decision. The amount of the damages that could be awarded isn’t capped and depends on the circumstances of each case, said bureau spokesman Charlie Burr.

“The goal is never to shut down a business. The goal is to rehabilitate,” Avakian said. “For those who do violate the law, we want them to learn from that experience and have a good, successful business in Oregon.”

The bureau says it’s the 10th complaint received in five years of discrimination in a public place based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Of the other nine, four were unsubstantiated, three resulted in negotiated settlements, one was privately settled, and one is pending.

© 2013, Associated Press, All Rights Reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Share this article with your friends and followers:

Archives: , , , , ,

Filed under: Oregon

68 more reader comments:

  1. >_>

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 6:35pm
  2. Maybe it´s good they refused them because who knows what they would do with the cake or put an ingredient into the cake! We don´t want it, right?

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 6:42pm
  3. Private business… has the right to refuse for any reason.

    We have the right to expose their bullshit and urge people to go someplace else for their business.

    Filing a complaint is bullshit and a waste of time.

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 6:43pm
  4. Legally, a private business can refuse for any reason. Same reason why a Jewish guy and an atheist girl can´t get married in St. Patrick´s Cathedral because it “looks fancy”.

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 6:46pm
  5. but in Portland??? Now maybe in some po-dunk town somewhere, but one of the major hipster metropolises???

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 6:52pm
  6. @Carlos, you are incorrect. Oregon has a public accommodations law, as do many other states: “The 2007 law provides an exemption for religious organizations and parochial schools but does not allow private business owners to discriminate based on sexual orientation.”

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 6:53pm
  7. SCBM is not a “private” business, but one open to the public. Therefore, subject to state laws governing said business. In the state of Oregon, it is against the law to discriminate against sexual orientation in public accommodations (which SCBM is…not private). The business owners broke the laws of the state. Filing a complaint against unlawful behavior was within the couple´s rights. And Carlos, churches are exempt from these laws, unless they do financial business with the public.

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 6:53pm
  8. These bakery owners are idiots. It´s money. You´re a business. Fuckin´ suck it up and make a cake so you can make money. Keep your religion out of your business. I bet God wouldn´t like that this Melissa chick is exploiting her talent for money. I sure hope she doesn´t cut her hair or eat shell fish, cuz ya know, that´s a sin in the bible as well. John Arthur Kendall

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 6:53pm
  9. Thank you for educating the wannabe lawyers here Scott Russell and Randy Petersen. You can legally refuse to serve individual people who violate your store rules (for example). You cannot legally exclude an entire class of people from your business. I don´t know what´s so hard to understand about that, but every time this comes up it has to be said again.

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 6:56pm
  10. Do you remember the sit-ins of the ´50s, ´60s, and ´70s? Private businesses do NOT have the right to discriminate against people based on prejudice. Exceptions are made for specifically religious organizations like churches under freedom of religion, but unaffiliated businesses cannot hide behind that.

    I also suggest against arguing that something being /legally/ allowed means that it is /constitutionally legal/, let alone /ethical/ or /right/, nor that it /should/ be so allowed.

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 6:57pm
  11. “It’s definitely not discrimination at all. We don’t have anything against lesbians or homosexuals,” she said. “It has to do with our morals and beliefs.”….Does he actually hear himself?! ugh

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 7:00pm
  12. If a church was a private business by law, I would imagine that it would have to pay taxes.

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 7:00pm
  13. Exactly, Warren. Because there is separation of church and state

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 7:01pm
  14. Good for them! I hope they raise a big stink.

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 7:07pm
  15. Zoobuloos–Churches ARE private businesses! THey should pay taxes–retroactively!

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 7:08pm
  16. IMBECILES!!!

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 7:11pm
  17. This company is not private, they make their money off the public. In order to a private they would have to sell to a select few and only those few.

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 7:14pm
  18. They just want to spread hate.

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 7:14pm
  19. And many heterosexual bakeries sell pornographic cakes too!

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 7:22pm
  20. I´m gay but this company has the right to refuse to make a cake for a couple based upon any reason – Why can´t they just go to another bakery?

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 7:28pm
  21. good deal! do they refuse blacks, Asians? and others too? Boycott them, Sue them, but STOP SPENDING MONEY with these jerks.

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 7:29pm
  22. I don´t care what the law is – if we as gay people keep suing people because they are not “complying” cos we are gay – then we look like tyrants – Write blogs about the business – report them to YELP but to constantly use the legal system that is already twisted to manipulate them into doing your bidding is NOT helpful – why would a gay couple want a cake from a bakery who refuses to make you one? THat´s what is really stupid

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 7:30pm
  23. I agree Catherine ! IT makes us look bad as a community. Just go look somewhere else for your wedding cake, they have their rights as straight religious business owners to refuse service to people.

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 7:44pm
  24. “Cakes of Hate” by Melissa, Portland OR.

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 7:46pm
  25. There are other places that happily do same sex wedding cakes. Why focus on the one asshole who doesn´t? Go somewhere else. Write up a complaint on their yelp. Move on. So tired of hearing these stories over and over because not it seems more like an attention seeking tactic than something legitimate. It´s their religion. Should I start suing people who refuse to eat pork due to their religious beliefs? Or start suing people who refuse to eat beef? It´s silly.

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 7:46pm
  26. de toutes façons ils sont pas bons leurs gateaux!

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 7:49pm
  27. The folks who own the bakery have a right to their beliefs–However I think that since they do not want gay business, they should not have it. All gays in the area should not spend their money there–Not even for a cookie–go elsewhere–I mean, would you sue a Catholic Church because they would not perform your marriage–no, you would just go elsewhere.

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 7:50pm
  28. Standing up for your rights when others are illegally discriminating against you makes YOU look bad? Really? Sounds to me like someone needs some assertiveness training (and maybe a little therapy). ;-)

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 7:53pm
  29. Bill, read the THOUGHTFUL and INTELLIGENT responses above

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 8:04pm
  30. I´m sorry , but this is getting out of hand, if that bakery refuses to help them, go to another bakery , take your business to a gay friendly place…

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 8:06pm
  31. Wtf, you make cakes for a living, it´s not your place to judge
    Da fuck is wrong with people.

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 8:10pm
  32. Good, I hope the couple sues them, they were discriminated against. Every person that works at a business is supposed to do they´re job and leave their beliefs at home or in church only. If the bakery can´t run their business correctly, then they should be taken out. If that couple wants a real cake, I´ll make them the cake of they´re dreams, screw the bakery.

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 8:13pm
  33. Am I the only Bi person that thinks that stuff like this is BS, not the business for refusing to make the cake, the dinks who decided to file a complaint. Do I agree with the baker? No, they are bigoted asses. But there a freakin´ bakery… not a government agency. There civil rights aren´t being threatened, they weren´t fired for being gay… go to a diffrent bakery, you want to get even, spread word about their ignorant asses and hit them where it really hurt… in the pocket book.

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 8:59pm
  34. Thomas, how many people do you think would obey laws if there was no price to be paid for NOT obeying them? This sort of thing serves two purposes: first, it alerts the community to companies that aren´t friendly – so we CAN go somewhere else; and second, to serve as a deterrent to keep other companies from doing the same thing.

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 9:03pm
  35. Well this bakery isn´t going to get much business now…SAD!!!

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 9:24pm
  36. In Portland??????

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 9:26pm
  37. If some business does not want your gay money, don´t go there, tell everyone you know. These ass clowns forget how much money gay people like to spend, on themselves, on parties, and the weddings.

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 9:55pm
  38. Catherine,where does it stop though? what about the next bakery and the next? whats to stop anyone from taking lead and refusing anyone based on hair color,weight,age and so on? there has to be a line and if such people are allowed to keep crossing that line,doesnt it encourage others? change will never come unless someone stands up and says *you may have your views and thats good,when your at home but when you run a business,there is no place for such bs* because if people dont,it will never stop.does someones sexual orientation effort the owners life in any way,shape or form? as far as i know,they go in,buy the cake and leave? but am i missing something to how it can really effect their *way of life and beliefs* ? i mean i dont see how buying a cake is asking them *to be gay,marry me,have sex with me,watch me do this and that-blah blah blah* so in the end,the only people its effecting is those who suffer from the discrimination.what does *being equal* mean?

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 10:00pm
  39. Good for them…a business would not dare refuse business from a black couple, a Latin couple, a blond couple,a brown eyed couple…these examples I cite are just as nonsensical as refusing a gay couple(s) business. They are wrong for refusing business from a gay couple. personal beliefs have no place in matters of business and law. Having said that, I would certainly sue this business and also boycott it. Fuck ´em.

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 10:28pm
  40. That is denial of service based on sexual orientation. Sounds like denial of service at a restaurant on the basis of race, that happened in many places in the South before the Civil Rights movement.

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 10:44pm
  41. “The 2007 law provides an exemption for religious organizations and parochial schools but does not allow private business owners to discriminate based on sexual orientation” read the article

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 10:59pm
  42. Arbitrary Refusal of Service is illegal!

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 11:04pm
  43. “Let them eat cake.”

    Posted on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 11:15pm
  44. Fine. Let their so-called “religious beliefs” guide their business decisions. Just be sure to blast their name and address all over the place, so good people can take their business and their money elsewhere.

    Posted on Friday, August 16, 2013 at 12:51am
  45. What the Hell??!! Its money and its none of their business who they are marrying! Why would they refuse that?!

    Posted on Friday, August 16, 2013 at 12:53am
  46. Oregon law is very clear on this.

    “…all persons within the jurisdiction of this state are entitled to the full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges of any place of public accommodation, without any distinction, discrimination or restriction on account of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status or age if the individual is 18 years of age or older.”

    -ORS 659A.403

    I´m glad they filed the complaint.

    Posted on Friday, August 16, 2013 at 12:56am
  47. I´m all for equal marriages, but honestly forcing people to accept it and business to fully accommodate is being hypocritical. If they don´t want to make a gay couple a cake then fine. They have the right, it is “their” business to make cakes for who they choose. This gay marriage vs. anti-gay marriage battle is getting asinine everyday.

    Posted on Friday, August 16, 2013 at 1:00am
  48. It may be illegal, and I would sue too – but I´d rather know that who is making my wedding cake is a hateful bigot, than not know and eat it – let alone pay for it.

    Posted on Friday, August 16, 2013 at 1:02am
  49. Hope you go bankrupt!!

    Posted on Friday, August 16, 2013 at 1:07am
  50. seriously guys? go somewhere else! its just that simple. we as a community need to grow up. Not everything is something to complain about. I would rather just go somewhere where I am accepted anyways. I doubt that is the only bakery in the city.

    Posted on Friday, August 16, 2013 at 1:15am
  51. Thing is, ANY business has the right to refuse service to anyone. Yes, legally they can discriminate to any customer all they want. Is it right? No. Don´t like it? Go somewhere else that has good business ethics and decent morals. I´m pro-LGBT BTW. Just tired of people whining about stuff like this when it is what it is and there´s nothing we can do but avoid the offending business.

    Posted on Friday, August 16, 2013 at 1:24am
  52. The woman says she doesn´t care if she looses the business or all her money she is sticking with her “lord”.
    Too much!
    She is not being kind or loving to others by judging and excluding people who she isn´t in agreement with.
    That can´t be what God would like!

    Posted on Friday, August 16, 2013 at 1:25am
  53. No they do not have the “right” to not service anyone based on sexual orientation – it´s illegal.

    Posted on Friday, August 16, 2013 at 1:30am
  54. Go somewhere else… they don´t deserve the business… why try Rudi force them to do something they don´t want to do… you won´t be happy with the service

    Posted on Friday, August 16, 2013 at 1:44am
  55. Isn´t this story from like over a year ago?

    Posted on Friday, August 16, 2013 at 1:55am
  56. it happened in Jan. but the couple is just now filing a complaint with the state.

    Posted on Friday, August 16, 2013 at 2:00am
  57. I thought Portland or at least Oregon was progressive

    Posted on Friday, August 16, 2013 at 2:09am
  58. My partner and I own and run a small bakery/deli in a small town in middle Ga…we do not discriminate. Our belief teaches us not to judge and love our neighbors!

    Posted on Friday, August 16, 2013 at 2:10am
  59. Portland is known to be generally progressive, but Gresham is not!

    Posted on Friday, August 16, 2013 at 2:17am
  60. I´m torn on this one.. On the one hand it´s complete bs on the bakery, and they should be held accountable. At the same time these law suits will be used to fire the anti-marriage up and use them as “prof” of their religious rights being attacked.

    Posted on Friday, August 16, 2013 at 2:21am
  61. Good! Stand up to them!

    Posted on Friday, August 16, 2013 at 2:23am
  62. the couples will win!

    Posted on Friday, August 16, 2013 at 2:36am
  63. When will bigots learn that its far less of a headache to decline with class “sorry but we are completely booked up and just don´t have the time to make you a cake for that date” rather than just let their mouths open like assholes to have shit fall out… ;-)

    Posted on Friday, August 16, 2013 at 5:48am
  64. Attorney: “So, Mrs. Craft, you´ve been selling meat pies containing homeless people?”
    Defendant: “In our religion, we call it Forgotten People Meat Pie”
    Attorney: “Oh, it´s a religious belief? Why didn´t you say so? Hell, people will flock to defend religious beliefs, even repellent notions like yours! You cook your pies, Mrs. Craft, because homelessness is a choice!”

    Posted on Friday, August 16, 2013 at 7:42am
  65. Marty – school of SWEENEY TODD, I guess.

    Posted on Friday, August 16, 2013 at 11:08am
  66. dont know what the religious beliefs are? can someone explain??? Me wonders if the sell sugar in their cakes to diabetics?

    Posted on Friday, August 16, 2013 at 2:56pm
  67. Unless they show a list of marriages they refuse to make wedding cakes for (second marriages of divorced couples, non-virgin weddings, etc) because of their “religious beliefs” then fine the crap out of them, they are no more Christian than a fart in church.

    Posted on Friday, August 16, 2013 at 4:41pm
  68. they will answer to god when he say do you know what love is, and how did you treat your fellow man!!!

    Posted on Friday, August 16, 2013 at 9:52pm