Baker denied lesbian couple wedding cake

Feb. 3, 2013 at 9:33 AM

GRESHAM, Ore., Feb. 3 (UPI) -- An Oregon bakery owner says he may face charges for refusing to sell a lesbian couple a wedding cake because of his religious beliefs.

One of the brides-to-be filed a complaint against Aaron Klein, owner of Sweet Cakes in Gresham, Ore., last week after he allegedly told them he couldn't make their cake because "they were abominations to the Lord," KATU-TV, Portland, Ore., reported. Klein's religious affiliation was not reported.

Klein Friday denied making the harsh statement, but did admit to KATU that he denied the couple service.

"I apologized for wasting their time and said we don't do same-sex marriages," he said. I "honestly did not mean to hurt anybody, didn't mean to make anybody upset, (it's) just something I believe in very strongly."

"If I have to be to, I guess, be penalized for my beliefs, then I guess, well, that'll be what it is," he said.

Portland attorney Paula Barran said Klein violated the Oregon Equality Act of 2007, which prohibits discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, including public accommodations, such as businesses, but added that she did not know how the owner's religious beliefs would factor in.

"Statutes don't get to overcome constitutional protections, so if somebody had a religious-based reason for wanting not to trade with somebody, I think you have a really interesting test case for whether or not a statute like this can apply," Barran said.

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