Portland, Ore., Oct 10, 2016 / 05:23 am
A Christian couple has closed their Oregon bakery, which faced heavy fines after they declined to make a cake for a same-sex “wedding” ceremony.
“We have closed Sweet Cakes,” the bakery said on its Facebook page Sept. 29. “We appreciate everyone’s continued prayer and support!”
The announcement did not give further explanation for the closure. Its storefront in Gresham, Oregon was closed in 2013 but the owners, married couple Aaron and Melissa Klein, had continued to operate at home, Portland’s Q13 Fox News reports.
Hiram Sasser, deputy chief counsel for the First Liberty Institute, the legal group representing the couple, said they closed the bakery “months ago” but they still received inquiries about possible orders.
“Aaron and Melissa simply wanted to update their Facebook page to eliminate any confusion,” Sasser said. “We believe in tolerance and respect for the variety of beliefs we have in our society and are hopeful we can restore freedom of tolerance and belief in this case.”
At one point, the Kleins refused to pay a $135,000 fine ordered by the State of Oregon for declining to make a cake for a same-sex wedding in 2013. They later paid the money, but it is in an escrow account pending legal appeals.
“We lost our business,” Melissa Klein said in a February 2016 video produced by First Liberty Institute. “You work so hard to build something up, and something you've poured your heart into and was your passion, to lose that has been devastating for me.”
“We served these two women in the past, we had a great time,” Klein said. “When I do a cake, I feel a part of what these people are celebrating. For me to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding would fully go against what I believe.”