News | Oregon

State Says Bakery Owners Broke Law In Denying Service To Gay Couple

OPB | Jan. 17, 2014 5:44 p.m.

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Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries has determined that the owners of a Gresham bakery violated the civil rights of two Portland women when it denied them service because of their sexual orientation. 

That incident took place this past August at the now-closed bakery, Sweet Cakes by Melissa.  Rachel Cryer filed the complaint after she and her partner, Laurel Bowman tried to buy a wedding cake at the bakery.

BOLI says Oregon law does not allow private business owners to discriminate based on sexual orientation, although the law provides an exemption for religious organizations and schools. 

Charlie Burr is a spokesman for the Bureau of Labor and Industries.

“Now that our agency has determined that the couple was a victim of unlawful discrimination the case moves into conciliation.  We try to see if the parties can reach a settlement,” said Burr.

Burr says if a settlement can’t be reached, the agency could bring formal charges against the bakery’s owners, Aaron and Melissa Klein.  Burr declined to say how long that process might take.

Attempts to reach the Kleins’ attorney late Friday were unsuccessful.

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