The Oregon bakers who were ordered by the state to pay $135,000 for refusing to make a cake for a same-sex wedding have designed and baked custom cakes to send to a handful of the most powerful LGBTQ advocacy groups along the West Coast, The Daily Signal has exclusively learned.
The effort is an attempt by Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, to show the LGBTQ community “we really do love you.”
“They might just throw it in the garbage,” Melissa told The Daily Signal. “They can do that, it’s OK. My hope is that they will see the feeling behind it, and just maybe understand.”
The Kleins, who have since been forced to close their storefront since the legal battle following their decision in 2013 to not bake a cake for a lesbian wedding, said they were inspired to bake these cakes after learning about the upcoming fiction film, “Audacity,” which tackles the issue of homosexuality from a Christian perspective.
Because of their Christian faith, the Kleins don’t support same-sex marriage. But they say that doesn’t mean they can’t still love those who choose to live that lifestyle.
“I’m not asking anybody out there to change their beliefs and believe the way I do,” Melissa said. “I’m just saying they want to live their life freely and I also do, too.”
The Kleins are sending cakes this week to 10 different organizations where they can ship from their home in Sandy, Ore., including the California LGBT Arts Alliance, Asian and Pacific Islander Wellness Center, Californians Against Hate, CFAC Headquarters, Equality California, Out and Equal, The South Bay LGBT Community Organization, The LGBTQ Center Long Beach, Los Angeles LGBT Center McDonald/Wright Building and LGBT of Southern Nevada.
In the coming weeks, they plan to send baked goods to other LGBTQ groups across the country.
“We’re doing this to show that we don’t harbor hard feelings toward the narrative that’s been put out about us. We don’t want to see these people hurting,” Aaron told The Daily Signal.
The Kleins had not intended to tell the media about sending the cakes. The Daily Signal learned about the effort in the course of a conversation about other matters.
The Kleins said the cakes build on an earlier effort they embarked on during a deposition, where the couple attempted to explain to the women, Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer, that their decision to refuse service for their wedding “was not out of hate.”
“We got to talk to Laurel for a minute or two and told her, ‘It’s not out of hate, we love you,’” Aaron said of that interaction. “Melissa actually gave one girl a hug and she said, ‘I understand,’ and hugged her back.”
Although Laurel “reciprocated the hug,” Aaron said that interaction didn’t change the narrative that unfolded.
The Kleins aren’t getting their hopes up that sending LGBTQ groups homemade cakes will end any differently, but they said it’s worth the effort.
“That’s the whole narrative that they’ve put forth this whole time, that I’m this big hateful guy,” Aaron said. “I don’t get where that comes from because I’ve never been that guy.”
Melissa said she spent the last few days in the kitchen, and got some help from her five kids.
“This is a small thing that I can do. I can bake them something, take my time and put my energy into expressing how I feel,” she said.
The inside of the cakes are colored red, white and blue to stand for freedom, because “everybody should be free to live as we want to live,” Melissa said. Outside, she decorated the cake with fondant and a red heart as a gesture of “being kind and loving.”
On top, she wrote, “We really do love you.”