Sweet Cakes by Melissa, a family-owned business in Oregon, is being investigated by the Bureau of Labor and Industries for refusing to bake a cake for a lesbian wedding. The Christian owners are being accused of discriminating based on sexuality, and may face heavy fines and penalties if found guilty. Despite pressure from gay-rights activists, they are upholding their beliefs and their right to religious freedom.
The Christian bakers told Fox News that they have declined requests to bake cakes for homosexual weddings because it goes against their Christian faith - “I believe marriage is between a man and a woman,” the couple said - “I don’t want to help somebody celebrate a commitment to a lifetime of sin.” They had refused to serve a lesbian couple in January who has now filed a lawsuit for discrimination based on sexuality in a public place. The Oregon law “protects the rights of gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people in employment, housing and public accommodations.” While there is an exemption to the legislation for religious organizations, business owners with religious convictions against homosexual practice are not given exception.
The Oregonian quotes Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian as saying: "The goal is never to shut down a business. The goal is to rehabilitate."
“To say that this couple needs to be ‘rehabilitated’ for believing and practicing the values on which this nation was founded is entirely beyond the pale,” says [Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association].
“This sounds like Stalinist Russia or China under Mao, where those who thought for themselves were forced under government coercion into re-education camps. This is not the America that was given to us by our Founders.”
With hopes of cutting off the store’s revenue, gay rights activists have been picketing the bakery and threatening its vendors. The owners say that business has declined significantly, and that they have received death threats because of their stance against homosexual practice. They have not given into the pressure, however - “We are not called to take the easy way out as Christians … We’re called to stand for truth,” they said.
The Christian owners could face up to $50,000 in fines and penalties if they are found guilty of violating the anti-discrimination law. They say that even if their bakery had to close, it would be a small price to pay for upholding truth and traditional marriage. The bakery website reads, “’Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight’ Proverbs 3:5-6.”