Homophobic Cake Shop Gets its Just Desserts

I don’t frequent the Fox News website very often. Who has time for that? But every once in a while I just have to dip in to see what’s going on. This week, I discovered that Tom Starnes is not at all happy with the gays for helping shut down Sweet Cakes bakery in Oregon.

The incident began when the owners, Aaron and Melissa Klein, refused to bake a cake for the impending nuptials of a lesbian couple, all because of Jesus:

“I believe that marriage is a religious institution ordained by God,” [bakery owner Aaron] Klein is quoted as saying. “A man should leave his mother and father and cling to his wife … that to me is the beginning of marriage.”

Specifying that he does not consider himself to be anti-gay — “I’ll sell [gay people] stuff…I’ll talk to them, it’s fine” — Klein went on to note, “I’d rather have my kids see their dad stand up for what he believes in than to see him bow down because one person complained.”

The couple filed a complaint with the state, alleging that they were discriminated against based on sexual orientation.

On Aug. 31, Sweet Cakes was forced to close up shop. According to Starnes, the Kleins were bullied into closing. Those horrible LGBT activists bullied them and bullied other companies that did business with the bakery. All because the Kleins are good Christians.

Following the bakery’s closure, a sign hung on the door of the former business residence.

“This fight is not over,” the sign read, according to the report. “We will continue to stand strong. Your Religious Freedom is becoming not Free anymore. This is ridiculous that we can not practice our faith. The LORD is good and we will continue to serve Him with all our heart.”

Hmm. Weird syntax, but the intent is clear: they will persevere through the power of Christ. Maybe their faith will make the impending discrimination investigation. I doubt it. However, according to Starnes, the fact that this investigation is actually a thing is a complete miscarriage of justice.

Commissioner Brad Avakian told The Oregonian that he was committed to a fair and thorough investigation to determine whether the bakery discriminated against the lesbians.

“Everybody is entitled to their own beliefs, but that doesn’t mean that folks have the right to discriminate,” he told the newspaper. “The goal is to rehabilitate. For those who do violate the law, we want them to learn from that experience and have a good, successful business in Oregon.”

In other words, Christians who live and work in Oregon must follow man’s law instead of God’s law. But in a show of benevolence, the state is willing to rehabilitate and reeducate Christian business owners like the Kleins.

Uh, yeah, bro. Yeah. That’s how the law works. That’s how living in pluralistic society works. We live in a country that supposedly recognizes the rule of law. There are practical reasons why society can’t allow people to just go around only living according to laws espoused in their particular religious texts, not least of which is that not everybody believes the same thing. Even people who ostensibly practice the same religion don’t believe the same thing. The only way the system can even begin to be fair and impartial is to have rules that apply to everybody in the same way.

The Kleins and Starnes seem to think that the ability to discriminate against LGBT people with impunity is necessary to fully practice Christianity. They aren’t the only ones, either. After a spate of highly publicized suicides of gay teens, Christian groups moved to ensure that religiously sanctioned hate was not bullying under state law.

I see a lot of parallels between the anti-anti-bullying efforts and Sweet Cakes. In both cases, there is an entitlement to impose a privately held belief on another person or group of people. I don’t think it takes too much imagination to realize why this is wrong. You don’t get to treat people like crap just because you’ve interpreted your religion a certain way. It’s not fair, and it’s no way to run a just society.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Dale O.

Refusing to serve a customer request for a wedding cake is a refusal to serve one customer over a different customer who is heterosexual. It can be on the basis of a religious belief but when treating one customer differently than another in a place of business it boils down to a refusal to serve a customer's request and therefore does falls under the rubric of discrimination. Since the U.S. is not a theocracy nor does it's legal system fall under religious interpretation of laws, the enforcement of laws under a secular society is what is enforced under the law. Unless Americans switch to a theocratic state, then laws on discrimination do not permit religious belief to override non-discrimination laws.

Dale O.

Post what you like Harley W, however discrimination is still discrimination and the state does often legislate when it comes to businesses and how they interact with the public in a variety of situations. Refusing to serve someone because of what they are is discrimination. You state: "If the couple refused to work and serve homosexual people entirely that can be considered bigotry. On the other hand refusing to help support and event they consider wrong is not the same thing."

Some use religion to consider that the man is the head of the home and women should always defer to him. Religious beliefs can involve discrimination. Vegetarians refusing to eat meat are not forced to eat meat to work for a business or deal with the public, so you are comparing apples and oranges. If a Muslim works at a restaurant serving pork, it is irrelevant as the person is not required to eat it nor do Muslims care if they serve alcohol to a customer, they simply won't drink it themselves.

Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown2 years ago

Oh by the way, the owners of the homophobic cake shop are definately in need of re-education on discrimination laws and what is and is not allowed in the United States in the name of bigotry. You can invoke "1984" all you want, but they were wrong, they were bigots, and they need to change if they want to run a business in the United States in the 21st Century.

Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown2 years ago

Harley, it is EXACTLY the same thing as refusing to serve some one because of the color of their skin. Discrimination is against the law for a reason.

Harley W.
Harley W.2 years ago

Kevin and Dale you are comparing not serving a person because of the color of their skin to refusing to making a wedding cake. That on the face does not like the same thing. They did not try to have them arrested or thrown in jail. Also the point that it is up to that "the state is willing to rehabilitate and reeducate" these people does not raise a red flag to you bothers me considerably.

Do you feel it is the right of the Government to take people and force them to believe a certain way or they will lose the right to work?

True the Bible has been used to support beliefs that it actually opposes such as discrimination against women and the degradation of human beings as property. So we should follow up with a page out of 1984 and establish thought police to make sure everyone agrees with certain political and religious viewpoints?

You have the right to believe and tell me I am wrong. That is part of free speech. Unless you would like to sue me for not agreeing and remove me from posting.

Dale O.

Agreed Mary B and Kevin B, this is bigotry pure and simple.

Harley S states that: "I cannot support laws that punish Christians or any religious people for their beliefs that do not cause people harm".

Refusing to provide services to people because of a religious beliefs in no excuse and it does cause harm to those facing the prejudice and bigotry. Some have used the Bible to condone slavery and other prejudices during history, including male domination of women. A business still must avoid discrimination including on the subject of gay rights. If one cannot do so while serving the public, then people can stay out of the business world or those discriminated against will opt for the right to sue.

Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown2 years ago

It is irrelevant if bigotry and discrimination is based on "religious' values, it is still bigotry and discrimination and will not be toleerated.

We heard all of these same, lame arguments before, in the 1960's, but then it was bigots refusing to serve black or interracial couples. It is the EXACT same bigotry.

Harley W.
Harley W.2 years ago

I understand your point Mary. In the last line of the paper its said "You don’t get to treat people like crap just because you’ve interpreted your religion a certain way. It’s not fair, and it’s no way to run a just society." The article compared not selling a product to bullying.

I have been bullied. It was not someone telling me no they will not sell me something. Although being young and impulsive at the time. I settled the matter in an uncivilized and unsportsman like way since there was three to one. I have been refused a job while in college because of facial hair. Should I have tried to close that business because of their policy?

Did you notice this line "the state is willing to rehabilitate and reeducate Christian business owners like the Kleins." I read often of places that reeducate and rehabilitate those who do not agree with the state. It is not a good thing.

Robby K.
Past Member 2 years ago

Where is the line b/t religious feelings & bigotry? Where is someone's right to not be part of something they consider wrong (despite having sold other items to them before)?

Two of Haley's Q's are good points:

"While I personally believe Homosexual should be give the legal right to marry in all the states and support it. I cannot support laws that punish Christians or any religious people for their beliefs that do not cause people harm. When the rights of others are diminished then the rights of all are diminished. What is the good of forcing religious people to stop believing in right and wrong? The couple were not forced to use that bakery and could have just voted with their feet and money and gone somewhere else. Instead they deprived someone of their livelihood to punish them for not agreeing with their beliefs"
"Kevin true Bigotry and freedom are not the same thing. But I am not talking about Bigotry. But religious Freedom to believe that some actions are sins.

If the couple refused to work and serve homosexual people entirely that can be considered
bigotry. On the other hand refusing to help support an event they consider wrong is not the same thing. While I do not consider it wrong....I do not believe that I can use the law to punish people that disagree with my beliefs, or to punish people for their beliefs. Should a meat eating person be able to force Hindus to serve him Beef? How about taking a Muslim to court for not serving pork?...same p

Mary B.
Mary B.2 years ago

Harley... I have to agree with Kevin on this one....The bakery had been serving this couple prior to the request for the wedding cake....Did you read the words of the owner as he tried to say he was OK with LGBT ?.. "I'll sell (gay people) stuff.....I'll talk to them.. it's fine"......Now this "Christian " shop would rather a couple, that could legally marry, live as a "shacked up couple"....(those are my words not theirs).......You deal with the public and provide the services you advertise......They didn't have to attend the wedding or even sanction it.....would it also have been better if just one of the couple ordered it and lied about the other partner?