Society

Bakery That Refused To Bake For Lesbian Wedding Closes

| by Sarah Zimmerman
Bakery display caseBakery display case

The bakery that initially made headlines in 2013 for refusing to provide a wedding cake for a lesbian couple has now closed.

In January 2013, Rachel Bowman-Cryer and her mother visited Portland's Sweet Cakes by Melissa to purchase a wedding cake, according to the Oregonian. Bowman-Cryer previously used the bakery for her mother's sixth wedding and wanted the same two-layer "raspberry fantasy cake" she had bought before. 

The shop's co-owner Aaron Klein asked for the name of the bride and groom. However, upon finding out that the cake would be used for a lesbian wedding, he said "I think we may have wasted your time. We don't do same-sex weddings."

Bowman-Cryer and her now-wife Laurel filed a complaint with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries. Aaron and Melissa Klein closed their shop later that year, but continued to operate from home, according to the Oregonian. The bakery became the face of the so-called religious liberty movement, sparking a national discussion on a business' right to refuse to serve for religious reasoning.

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In 2015, the Kleins were ordered to pay $135,000 in damages to the Bowman-Cryers for discrimination. The Kleins appealed the order, but still paid off the sum as they were able to raise over $500,000 through online crowd funding. The Oregonian reports that the money will remain in government escrow until the end of the appeals process, which is due to start later this year.

Now, in a Sept. 29 Facebook post, the bakery said that they have officially closed their business. "We have closed Sweet Cakes," the post reads. "We appreciate everyone's continued prayer and support."

Reaction from the public was mixed, with many celebrating the bakery's closure. "Got what you deserved!" said one user.

Others were more sympathetic. "Take sol[a]ce in the fact that you stood up for your religious beliefs in the face of a society that is increasingly anti-God," wrote another commenter. "I understand that the constant stream of vitriol wears on ones soul, and it takes energy away from things that are indeed more important. Please know that you are on the right side of Heaven."

Sources: The Oregonian, Sweet Cakes by Melissa/Facebook / Photo Credt: stu_spivack/Flickr

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