Bakery that denied service to lesbian couple is closing its shop.

Earlier this year a bakery in Oregon refused to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple citing their religious beliefs.  You can understand the outrage that ensued, and on Saturday they closed their shop saying they would be moving the bakery to an in-home business.

But they left a sign on the door:

“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.”

Your religious freedoms grant you the right to worship unimpeded by the government so long as the actions prescribed by your faith don’t run afoul of our secular laws.  If your faith told you to kill a child once a month, for instance, saying you’re not allowed to do that is not an infringement on your religious liberty.  Other people are not obligated to abase themselves in deference to your religion, and it’s not your right to have them do so.

Ditto with discrimination laws.  If you are not allowed to refuse service to a person based on the color of their skin, you are likewise not allowed to deny them service based on which set of genitalia they find appealing.  Religious freedom does not amount to immunity from the law, and it’s a rather shoddy trick to frame that as “not being allowed to practice our faith”.  If your faith tells you to break the law, too bad.

And if the LORD (all caps, so you know he’s the almighty) tells you to engage in behavior that punishes love and leads to societal discord (as discrimination always has), then god is not good – and if you continue to serve a master who demands such behavior, then your faith has negatively impacted how good you might otherwise be.

This is why we wish to see religion dead.  Imagine if the boldness of these bakers were turned toward equality rather than an outdated moral code, or to the products of reason rather than faith.  This is what humanity misses out on due to religion.

The shop’s closing came on the heels of news that the lesbian couple that Klein rejected had filed a complaint with the state, alleging that Sweet Cakes by Melissa discriminated against them based on their sexual orientation, according to Oregon Live.

In response to the complaint, the bakery’s co-owner Melissa Klein argued that turning away the couple was “definitely not discrimination at all.”

“We don’t have anything against lesbians or homosexuals,” she said in August. “It has to do with our morals and beliefs. It’s so frustrating because we went through all of this in January, when it all came out.”

Only in a mind polluted by faith could someone equate “refusing service to someone based on some aspect of them that causes zero disturbance” with “definitely not discrimination at all”.  And after you read “We don’t have anything against lesbians or homosexuals” did anybody else think “…we just don’t want them as patrons on account of their homosexuality”?

Her remarks echoed sentiments her husband Aaron shared with NBC earlier this year. “I think [the state labor commissioner] is going to have decide what’s more important: The Oregon State Constitution, or the statute that was passed in 2007,” he said at the time. “They dropped the ball by not putting in any exemption for religious beliefs.”

No, no they didn’t.  Wearing a cross does not absolve you from following the laws that bind everybody else.  You don’t get to steal if your religious beliefs say you can do so, and you don’t get to discriminate because your religious beliefs say you must do so.  Nobody dropped the ball by not making religious people above the law.  The hubris of these people…

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Captain Cassidy

    We’re all equal, but clearly some of us are more equal than others. She doesn’t have anything against this group, but she just doesn’t think they should get the rights that she gets, or get all uppity and want to be treated like any of her other respectable customers. How dare they not slink around in the corners of darkened rooms begging for crumbs and being grateful she doesn’t just lynch them! Bet this old gal puts on her big ole Jesus smile and goes to her big ole Jesus church every Sunday convinced she’s a good and loving person, when the reality is so very different.

    A god who requires discrimination and hate is not a good god or one worthy of worship.

  • Christina Stephens

    Also, I wonder if they are proponents of free-market capitalism. If so, this is an example of customers choosing not to patronize businesses on account of the practice of said business. Free-market capitalism at work, yo.

  • Doug B.

    While I do think informing the public of businesses who will discriminate is important, I don’t think it is okay to have the intent on ruining a business as it appears happened in the article I read. It seems activists went to others who did business with the shop and demanded they cut ties with them.

    It is a fine line being walked there.

    • Artor

      The business has been ruined because local patrons don’t want to give their money to undisguised bigots. Your “fine line” is wide enough to drive a truck on.

    • Captain Cassidy

      “It seems”? “Demanded”? What were they doing, aiming flamethrowers at people’s kids? Or just saying “hey this shop is owned by a total bigot who thinks gay people aren’t worth selling cakes to”?

      • Doug B.

        I don’t have a problem with that

        • Captain Cassidy

          So what exactly were you having such a big problem with? Can you please provide a link so I can look at what you looked at to decide if this is a fine line or a big thick wide glowing one (which is what it’s increasingly looking like–from your very own comments on this thread)?

    • Loqi

      Why is this a problem? I thought free market capitalism was about the consumers being able to decide where their money goes. I don’t want my money going to them, so I’m going to make sure it doesn’t. If you do business with them, then giving you my money would result in my money going to them, so I won’t give you my money. I don’t see a problem here.
      In a free economy, supposedly the consumer has the power. We decide which companies live or die. Run your business the way we want or close up shop. This seems like the sort of thing free marketeers should be welcoming.

      • Doug B.

        see my previous comment

    • Cake

      So what if they did?
      Are you’re telling me I can’t vote with my wallet?

      • Doug B.


        • Cake

          It must not be such a fine line after all.

          • BeamerSmith

            it’s one thing for You to vote with your wallet, but it’s another to compell others to do so. You make your decisions, and let them make theirs.

          • storm

            We compel others to listen to us all the time in pretty much any decision.

          • Feminerd

            Who’s doing any compelling? I, at least, value information and informed decision-making. Were I informed that a place I was shopping at was owned by bigoted people, I would choose to take my business elsewhere, but I have been in no way compelled to do so.

            If you think learning things is compulsion or coercion, you should maybe learn some more things about what those really mean.

          • Cake


            Since when is giving people information compulsion?
            I think you’re using that word wrong.

          • BeamerSmith

            compell as in oblige.. either by making it uncomfortable enough to not patronize the business or to physically stand in their way. But you are right .. compel may have not have been the best word… I am compelled to think about it now ( ;) )

    • Cafeeine

      Unless the activists extorted the others, or used shady practices to make them stop doing business with them what exactly is the problem with that? If you come and tell me “Hey, John H. McBusinessman is being discriminatory to people. Do you want to be associated with him?” and I choose not to give them my business, that is completely fair. if giving a business the reputation they deserve causes them to close their doors, that is a good thing, not at all a fine line issue.

      • Doug B.

        That’s my point. Voting your with YOUR dollars is one thing but actively going after other customers beyond just informing them of the issue is another. The owners say that has happened. It is a fine line between informing and intimidation.

        • Cafeeine

          So if I picketed on the street outside the store with a sign that described the event, would you count that as intimidation?

        • Loqi

          I don’t think we’re talking about the same thing. I understood your comment to mean customers told other businesses that they wouldn’t patronize them if they continued doing business with the bakery in question. Do you have a link to your info so we can get on the same page?

    • unbound55

      Which article? I read the article in the first link, and even read the article linked in that article and found nothing more than the couple filed a lawsuit (which is entirely appropriate under Oregon law). In fact, I only found the opposite…plenty of bigots posting on the business’ Facebook page in support of them.

    • Spuddie

      Its not just a matter of voting with one’s wallet, the store violated the law and is being sued through a state agency for it. The only thing which ruined the business were the actions of its owners and the bad publicity it generated.

      The whole point of anti-discrimination laws are to create a very real and tangible form of social sanction for discriminatory behavior that goes beyond merely being bad for business.

    • pennyhammack

      If I went to a back surgeon who royally messed up my back (Idid), then tell people who he is and what he did and they don’t go to him, is that me “ruining” his business. No, I didn’t ruin his business but I’ve been responsible for sending a few people away from him. The same applies here. If I see a business discriminating against a group that has a perfect right to do what they want to do (see black, Asian-American, Mexican-American, etc.) then I have the right to not do business with that group and to tell my friends to do likewise.

  • Cafeeine

    “They dropped the ball by not putting in any exemption for religious beliefs.”

    Look at the veiled arrogance in this statement. The lawmaker is at fault for not making sure the law didn’t apply to them.

  • Trent Horn

    There’s a fine line between discriminating against people and refusing to support certain actions. For example, I think an atheist bakery would be practicing discrimination if it refused to sell cakes to Christians. However, if they were asked to bake cakes for an elementary school Confirmation program and refused to do so because they have a moral objection to “indoctrinating children with beliefs they can’t evaluate” then I don’t think that would be discrimination. In one case a type of person is refused service, in another case, a kind of action is not supported. It might be bad business, but should it be illegal?

    • Jasper

      If the law allows such gaping loopholes, the laws would become unenforceable (this is already a problem). They’ll look at the motivation; in this case, the anti-religious sentiments for refusing service, which is still a violation of the protected class.

      The reason we have protected classes is to correct recurring endemic problems that make a functional society difficult. The reason why clowns aren’t a protected class is because there isn’t large amounts of flagrant discrimination against them.

      Considering that religion is one of the single most divisive concepts humanity has ever invented, it’s inevitable that it’d get special legislative focus for protection…. where any level of precedent can get out of hand.

  • BeamerSmith

    I find it interesting that they other side of this thing didn’t go all Chi-fil-a on that bakery and make them More profitable… I have to wonder if this incedent is the sole reason for their current situation.

  • Bob Seidensticker

    This is the Hobby Lobby problem–the founder is mad because he’s no longer able to impose his religious beliefs (no payment for abortion) on his employees, even if it’s indirectly through an insurance plan.

    You race analogy makes sense to me. I don’t even know why this isn’t obvious and, failing that, why they would continue to pursue their position once this comparison is pointed out to them.

    • Mary

      “You race analogy makes sense to me. I don’t even know why this isn’t obvious and, failing that, why they would continue to pursue their position once this comparison is pointed out to them.”

      You underestimate the level of denial here. This is constantly being pointed out to Christians but they say that homosexuality is a moral issue, while race is not (ignoring the fact that not that long ago interracial marriage WAS considered to be a moral issue).

      • Bob Seidensticker

        Yes, I agree: the parallel is striking. Loving v. Virginia was in 1967, less than 50 years ago. The judge in that case used biblical principles to stress the rightness of his judgment.

        But, to your point, Christians’ superhuman denial is the problem. If someone is determined to not change their mind, I guess they won’t.

  • Mary

    Christians think they own this country and are outraged at the idea that anyone else would have rights. What about the religious beliefs of gay people? There are plenty who believe in God.

    Other people’s religious beliefs (or lack thereof) are constantly being violated by Christians. And then when someone has the temerity to speak up about it then Christians play the “persecution” card. How many of these people been fed to lions lately? Is being compelled to bake a cake the same as martyrdom? In their twisted minds it is!

    Literally I have heard Christians in this country claim that they are as persecuted as the Christians in Egypt. I think the Egyptian Christians would jump at the chance to have the religious freedom we have here.

    I am sick and tired of Christians whining about how unfair it is to require them to get along peacefully with the rest of society.

  • Depressivedarking

    Ah, Good ole Christian thinking *Sarcasm* “My religion is the only one that should truly be free, and since yours is different, you’re wrong and my idea is right.” This is how the Christians justified their behavior toward Witches and free thinking women during the Crusades, and toward the Indians when we settled America, and Blacks in more recent history. Now, in modern times, its the homosexuals.

    Is anyone else GLAD this no good bakery finally closed due to their discrimination of this couple? I personally think they should be heavily fined for discrimination.

    Read your bible lady. It specifically says “Judge not, least ye be judged” It also says that you should “Love one another” It says nothing about shunning another person. In fact, I think the way Jesus put it was “Those among you without sin, cast the first stone.” Funny, back then no one did.