An administrative law judge has found
that bakery owners Aaron and Melissa Klein unlawfully discriminated
against a lesbian couple when they refused to make a cake for their
The Kleins own Sweet Cakes by Melissa,
which was located in Gresham, Oregon at the time of the incident but
has since been moved to the Kleins' home.
Aaron Klein declined to make the cake
for the women on January 17, 2013. Klein said he does not hate gays
but that making a cake for a gay wedding would violate his faith.
(At the time, Oregon had the nation's most robust domestic
partnership law. Following a federal judge's ruling in May, 2014,
Oregon became the 18th state to allow gay and lesbian
couples to marry.)
“I'm free to exercise my religion
however I see fit,” Aaron Klein told CBN News two years ago. “I
should not be compelled to violate my conscience. If I am told that
I have to make a wedding cake for a same-sex marriage, I feel that I
am violating my beliefs. I don't think I should have to do that.”
Rachel Cryer, 31, and Laurel Bowman,
30, became domestic partners on June 27, 2013. They were married May
23, 2014 and are now using Bowman-Cryer as their surname.
According to The
Oregonian, the judge rejected an attempt by lawyers
representing the Kleins to dismiss the case and said in an interim
order that they had discriminated against the Bowman-Cryers by
denying them full and equal access to a place of public
The ruling paves the way for a March 10
hearing in Portland to consider damages. The state has recommended
the Kleins pay $75,000 in damages.
In July, the Kleins
boasted in a Facebook post about cakes they made for an “ex-gay”
ministry that once compared homosexuality to being stuck in a “roach