A bakery owner in Oregon broke down in tears while discussing the fallout of her and her husband’s decision not to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple on the basis of their Christian beliefs.
Earlier this year, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries found “substantial evidence” that Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, discriminated against the lesbian couple.
Oregon bakery owners face a $150,000 discrimination fine for not baking a wedding cake for lesbians.
They now face a fine in excess of $150,000.
In an exclusive interview with The Daily Signal on Friday at the 2014 Values Voter Summit, Aaron said the fee would “definitely” be enough to bankrupt the couple and their five children.
The ordeal started in February 2013, when Rachel Cryer and Laurel Bowman asked the bakery owners to design a wedding cake for their same-sex commitment ceremony.
At the time, Oregon defined marriage as the union between one man and one woman; voters overwhelmingly approved the constitutional amendment in 2004.
Aaron told The Daily Signal he thought he was “well within” his legal rights to decline the service, citing his traditional beliefs that a marriage is between a man and a woman.
In January 2014, the Kleins were charged with violating Oregon’s Equality Act of 2007, a law that protects the rights of the LGBT community.
It wasn’t until months later, May 19, 2014, that a federal judge would declare Oregon’s amendment unconstitutional, paving the way for same-sex marriages.
“Ironically, the state was in violation of its own anti-discrimination laws,” said Aaron.
Melissa and Aaron Klein are in the process of appealing the decision handed down by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries. Following threats, vicious protests and boycotts, they have also been forced to close their bakery.
Melissa told The Daily Signal the charges have “definitely impacted us pretty hard financially.”
“This was not the first time we’ve served these girls,” said Aaron, maintaining their refusal was not about the couple’s sexual orientation, but rather, about their religious convictions.
Later in the day at the Values Voter Summit, while speaking on a panel on traditional marriage, Melissa broke down in tears.
“It’s horrible to see your own government doing this to you,” says Aaron Klein of Sweet Cakes by Melissa.
For me personally, when I would sit down with [customers], I just would want to know everything about her wedding. I’d want to know about the flowers, her dress, the centerpieces, her colors, the way her hair is going to be. I would even want to talk about ‘Where are you going on your honeymoon?’
At that point, Melissa became choked up.
“It’s horrible to see your own government doing this to you,” said Aaron.
Watch the short video clip from the conference below.