On Jan. 17 KATU reports that the Labor and Industries Department of Oregon has determined after a thorough investigation that Sweet Cakes by Melissa did discriminate against a same-sex couple last year after they refused to make the couple a wedding cake because of their sexual orientation.
It was determined that they violated the Oregon Equality Act of 2007 that only allows exemptions to religious organizations and schools only, and private businesses, no matter their religious affiliations do not qualify as a religious organization. The state labor department claims that when they started looking into the case, they found substantial evidence that the couple was discriminated against solely on the grounds of their sexual orientation which Oregon law strictly prohibits.
The state may bring legal charges to the Kleins, the owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, if both parties cannot reach an agreement. The two parties have 60 days to agree on further action to be taken or the Labor and Industries Board will likely begin filing charges.
The Kleins have a different story to tell, however. They feel that the State of Oregon is hostile toward Christian businesses and still plans to stand behind what they think is right, even if it includes fines, or worse. They plan on fighting the state for as long and as high us as they can go.
Currently there are 21 states that protect against sexual orientation discrimination, Oregon being one of them. A law professor at Lewis and Clark, Jim Oleske, says that this couple doesn't stand a chance at winning if their case goes as any others have in other states. So far, this is only the second case in Oregon that someone has filed charges using Oregon Equality Act of 2007 and won. The other case involved a gentlemen who was refused service in a Portland bar because of his sexual orientation.