You may remember the story of Aaron and Melissa Klein, the Christian bakery owners in Oregon who declined to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple last year. Not only have they been forced to close their successful family business, but they are now facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. The Kleins ascertain that the $150,000 fine would be enough to completely bankrupt the couple and their 5 children.
The penalty hit the couple after they were found “guilty” of violating the same-sex couple’s civil rights, but what about their own civil rights? During an interview with the The Daily Signal, Aaron Klein said that he believed that he was “well within” his legal rights to decide not to take the couple’s business, citing his belief that marriage can only be between a man and a woman.
In an excerpt from ChristianNews, Klein recounts the interaction that led to this heavy fine being levied on him:
“My first question was what’s the wedding date,” Klein told television station KTW in Portland. “My next question was [the] bride and groom’s name. … The girl giggled a little bit and said, ‘It’s two brides.’”
He stated that he then informed the women that the bakery does not make cakes for homosexual events.
“I apologized for wasting their time and said that unfortunately, we do not do same-sex marriages,” Klein explained.
The women then left Sweet Cakes upset about the incident, and later, one of them filed a complaint with the state.
But Klein states that he regularly serves homosexuals. He believes that there is a difference between serving homosexuals in general, and having to personally facilitate same-sex ceremonies, which is an act of participation.”
“I have customers come in almost on a weekly basis that are homosexual,” he said. “They can buy my stuff. I sell stuff. I talk with them. That’s fine. … This was not the first time we’ve served these girls.”
“We were being asked to participate in something that we could not participate in,” Klein’s wife, Melissa, noted.
In January, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) announced that it had concluded that the Klein’s broke the law when they declined to make the cake.”
The same-sex couple in question subsequently filed a civil rights complaint against the couple, ignoring the fact that the Kleins had filled other orders for the woman who had requested the “wedding” cake. Other homosexual activists also reacted with bitterness, threatening emails, harassment of their vendors, as well as ransacking the Klein’s bakery truck.
But when the Kleins appeared at the Value Voters Summit earlier this month, they were anything but bitter. Melissa Klein even broke down in tears when she described how special the process of making wedding cake is to her:
“For me personally, when I would sit down with [a customer], I just would want to know everything about her wedding,” she tearfully stated ... about the intimate involvement she would have in the matter if she accepted the order. “I’d want to know about the flowers, her dress, the centerpieces, her colors, the way her hair is going to be. I would even want to talk about ‘where are you going on your honeymoon?'”
The couple posted the following message on Facebook:
“Our culture has accepted 2 huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. Second is that to love someone means that you must agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.
It is tragic to see our government employing discrimination in the name of “anti-discrimination.”
Aaron and Melissa are true champions of the freedom of religion, and are an inspiring example of how in our morally unstable country, we're often faced with the choice to do either what is right or what is easy. Bravo to the Kleins for courageously defending marriage as the union between one man and woman.