An Oregon bakery that refused to supply a wedding cake for a gay couple last spring has closed its storefront after much public controversy.
Sweet Cakes by Melissa, the cake shop that made headlines last February by refusing to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple, closed its storefront this weekend, according to a report issued Sunday, Sept. 1.
Aaron and Melissa Klein owned and operated Sweet Cakes by Melissa. The Kleins cited their Christian faith and belief in traditional marriage when they refused to sell a cake to Rachel Cryer and Laurel Bowman after learning that the cake was for a same-sex wedding. The story gained national attention, with a large number of supporters and protesters on both sides of the issue.
Oregon’s state Bureau of Labor and Industries is currently investigating to determine if Sweet Cakes’ actions violated the Oregon Equality Act of 2007, which states that people cannot be denied service based on sexual orientation. The law provides an exemption for schools and religious groups, but not for private businesses. The investigation is required to be completed within one year.
The bakery's co-owner Melissa Klein argued that turning away the couple was "definitely not discrimination at all," claiming "We don't have anything against lesbians or homosexuals." However, many would disagree. Refusing to sell a wedding cake to a lesbian couple because it will be used for a same sex wedding is discrimination, plain and simple. And it is hard to see how refusing the business of gay customers is not in itself anti-gay and discriminatory.
The bakery’s anti-gay stance and resulting public controversy has been disastrous for business. Conservative website The Blaze reports that wedding vendors refused to do business with Sweet Cakes by Melissa after it became public knowledge that the bakery was discriminating against same-sex couples. As a result, the business’ wedding cake orders this summer were down dramatically from the past. Plus, many individuals canceled their previously-planned cakes in the wake of the controversy.
Yet the public controversy and negative media attention may not be the only reason why the bakery is closing. The Portland Food Examiner reports many local residents are not surprised that Sweet Cakes by Melissa closed because “they had several horrible reviews on Yelp and around the web about their bad service and poor quality cakes in general.”