PORTLAND, Ore. (CBS Seattle/AP) — An Oregon bakery stands by its decision to deny a cake for a same-sex wedding.
The owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa tell KATU-TV that their religious beliefs have not changed after Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries determined the Portland-area bakery violated the civil rights of a same-sex couple. Owner Aaron Klein says it almost seems as if the state is hostile toward Christian businesses.
“We still stand by what we believe from the beginning,” Klein told KATU-TV.
Melissa Klein took to Facebook to thank people for standing behind them.
“I know that your prayers are being heard. I feel such a peace with all of this that is going on,” she posted. “Even though there are days that are hard and times of struggle we still feel that the Lord is in this. It is His fight and our situation is in His hands.”
Lewis & Clark law professor Jim Oleske says Oregon is one of 21 states that protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation.
“Based on cases in every other state that has confronted this so far, this business is likely to lose on its claim that it can be exempt from an anti-discrimination law,” Oleske told KATU.
The state is now overseeing a conciliation process to see if the parties can reach a settlement.
“Under Oregon law, Oregonians may not be denied service based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The law provides an exemption for religious organizations and schools, but does not allow private business owners to discriminate based on sexual orientation, just as they cannot legally deny service based on race, sex, age, disability or religion,” the state said in a statement. “The investigation concludes that the bakery is not a religious institution under law and that the business’ policy of refusing to make same-sex wedding cakes represents unlawful discrimination based on sexual orientation.”
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