A Christian baker is under a state investigation in Oregon after he refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.
The Oregon Attorney General is investigating Aaron Klein, the owner of Sweet Cakes by Melissa. Klein reportedly refused to make a wedding cake for two lesbians.
Klein, who is a Christian, told the couple that he would not sell them a cake based on his religious beliefs that marriage should be between one man and one woman.
“I believe marriage is a religious institution between a man and woman as stated in the Bible,” Klein told the Portland Oregonian. “When someone tells me that their definition is something different, I strongly disagree. I don’t think I should be penalized for that.”
One of the women filed a complaint alleging that his actions violated the Oregon Equality Act. If the baker is found guilty, he could face $50,000 in fines.
Religious beliefs don’t outweigh state law, attorney Matthew Ellis told the Portland Tribune.
“They have the right to refuse service, so long as it’s not based on race, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation or disability,” he told the newspaper.
Klein said the bakery is a family-owned business. Their website includes a Bible passage from the New Testament — John 3:16.
“I apologized for wasting their time and said we don’t do same-sex marriages,” he told television station KATU. “I honestly did not mean to hurt anybody, didn’t mean to make anybody upset, (it’s) just something I believe in very strongly.”
Klein told Fox 12 he ”should not be compelled to violate my conscience,”
“If I’m told I have to make a wedding cake for a same-sex marriage, I feel that I’m violating my beliefs,” he told Fox. “I don’t think I should have to do that.”
Klein said he’s got no problem serving gay customers – but he draws the line at creating wedding cakes for gay nuptials.
He told Fox 12 his faith in Christ outweighs state law — and if push came to shove – he would be willing to lose his business and face whatever penalties they state might levy.
“I’d rather stand up for what I believe in and what I feel is right and get totally annihilated when it comes in the end than to bow down to this and say ‘go ahead,’” he said. “Because that sets the standard for the next one, the next one, and the next one.”
“If I have to be to, I guess, be penalized for my beliefs, then I guess, well, that’ll be what it is,” he told the television station. “My First Amendment rights allow me to practice my religion as I see it.”