- ‘Sweet Cakes by Melissa’ refused to a make wedding cake for lesbian couple
- Owners Melissa and Aaron Klein said serving same-sex couple Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer would have violated their religious beliefs
- Authorities investigating if the bakery discriminated against the women
- Bakery owners received death threats and hate mail since January incident
- Last weekend was their last operating from their Oregon shop
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A Christian bakery that refused to make a lesbian couple a tiered wedding cake because it would violate their ‘religious beliefs’ has shut down after months of hate-mail and plummeting revenues.
Melissa and Aaron Klein have been driven out of their shop in Gresham, Oregon – and are taking operations back into their home – after they say they received death- and also rape-threats and saw client numbers fall following their decision not to serve a lesbian couple.
Media reports say they have been hounded by hate mail since January when Rachel Cryer and Laurel Bowman were refused service and subsequently made a discrimination complaint to authorities about the bakery.
On Friday the bakers posted on their Facebook page: ‘This will be our last weekend at the shop we are moving our business to an in home bakery.’
According to The Blaze, which saw some of the hate mail received by the bakers, one read: ‘You stupid bible-thumping, hypocritical b**ch. I hope your kids get really, really, sick and you go out of business,’ and another said: ‘Here’s hoping you go out of business, you bigot. Enjoy hell.’
The couple told the news service their customers had been ‘badgered and harassed’ not to do business with the bakery and subsequently, orders for wedding cakes this summer were significantly lower than usual.
Some clients even cancelled existing orders because of the public debacle, the Blaze said.
Laurel and Rachel Bowman-Cryer, top to bottom, approached the bakery in January but were turned away by Mr Klein
Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries’ civil rights division is reviewing whether Sweet Cakes by Melissa discriminated against same-sex newlyweds Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer based on their sexual orientation.
When the decision was made public, Mr Klein, 33, said at the time he would rather shut down his shop than ‘be forced to do something that violates [his] conscience’, according to NBC.
Despite the backlash from members of the public, Mr Klein told NBC they still believe they have the right to serve whomever they want.
‘I believe that marriage is a religious institution ordained by God. The Book of Genesis talks about that for this reason: A man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife,’ NPR reported Klein as saying.
He said at the time that while business had suffered, and the company was ‘struggling’ their faith was more important to them than making money.
Authorities are investigating whether the business violated the Oregon Equality Act of 2007, which protects the rights of gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people in employment, housing and public accommodations.
If the complaint is upheld, the inquiry could be referred for prosecution or a settlement may be negotiated.
This is reportedly the 10th complaint to the state in the last five years involving allegations of discrimination in a public place based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian told The Oregonian at the time that people are entitled to their beliefs, but aren’t allowed to discriminate.
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Its time to stand up for our own rights, Heterosexual Rights!