It’s nice to be reminded that public pressure does mean something in the business world, especially where queer rights are concerned.
Last January, Oregon bakery “Sweet Cakes by Melissa” denied a lesbian couple’s request for a wedding cake. Now, seven months later, the bakery has had to close up shop, reporting a more than 50% decrease in sales since the event.
A Portland same-sex couple filed a complaint with the Oregon Attorney General’s office after Aaron and Melissa Klein told them that they wouldn’t make a cake for their wedding because they “don’t do gay weddings.” Investigations are still ongoing into whether or not the bakery couple broke the Oregon Equality Act of 2007, which prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. Klein’s response to the allegations has been that they’ll sell products to anyone regardless of orientation or gender, but that they wouldn’t bake for gay weddings because it is against their Christian faith.
In response, Duff Goldman, the star of Ace of Cakes and the head baker for “Charm City Cakes” offered to make the queer couple a unique bride’s cake free of charge because “there’s injustice involving cake!” The couple accepted and had a wonderfully special wedding day, surrounded by great cake and lots of love.
This wasn’t the end for Sweet Cakes, however. The bakery will still be selling its wares, but not in their main storefront. The couple left a note on their window after their closure elaborating on their thoughts on the whole ordeal: “This fight is not over. We will continue to stand strong. Your Religious Freedom is becoming not Free anymore. This is ridiculous that we can not practice our faith. The Lord is good and we will continue to serve Him with all out heart.”
The Kleins have reported that they’ve been under a lot of pressure since their refusal of the same-sex couple. They cited a break-in to their bakery truck, as well as people harassing and threatening their vendors to the point where vendors could not refer customers to their establishment. They’ve also stated that it has felt like “mafia tactics” have been used against them simply because of their religious beliefs.
The Kleins remain optimistic about their futures with the business despite the hardships and hope people will accept them and their religious beliefs. Seems like they want what all queer people want as well. Equality sure works in funny ways.
Author: Eugene Riordan, Jr.