PORTLAND - Supporters and critics have been having their say about a Gresham cake-maker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.
Baker Aaron Klein said on Tuesday that he planned to fight this to the end.
Ever since word got out that a lesbian couple filed a complaint with the state after Klein refused to make their wedding cake, he said his business has been booming.
(We've had) ahuge influx of business. I think people are really coming out and showing their support, said Klein, in between customers.
If nothing else ... just being able to stand up for what you believe in without being told that you're doing something wrong, said Klein.
Customer Teresa Nowlin drove from Scappoose to the Gresham bakery Sweet Cakes by Melissa to show her support.
I think people should have freedom of religion and if that's the way they feel, then their choice, she said.
But the state said there are laws to follow when you own a business, including laws against discrimination. The Oregon Equality Act of 2007 protects the rights of people based on their sexual orientation.
So, is it against the law to deny making a wedding cake for a same-sex couple getting married?
It likely could be, because people who open up their store to the public can't discriminate when people come in to purchase their goods, said Brad Avakian, Commissioner of the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries.
As a legislator, Avakian was the one who carried the bill on the Senate floor.
Regardless of one's religious belief, if you open up a store and you open it up to the public to sell goods, you cannot discriminate in Oregon under our civil rights laws, he said.
The Department of Justice can fine me up to $50,000 if they feel that I've discriminated against somebody. They're going to have to make that decision, said Klein.
Klein said he won't back down and his bakery has its share of supporters.
I'm not trying to say that I'm putting my thumb in the face of the law. I agree that there are laws for a reason, but I also believe that we should have religious freedom in this country, he said.
It's a situation where I just have to stand up for what is right and if the fine comes, the fine comes and I'll deal with that when it happens. A lot of people are coming at me and saying I'm not loving. To love somebody doesn't mean I have to participate in something that I feel is, honestly, the Bible calls it a sin, so I don't want to be a part of it. I can love them, without participating, said Klein.
Customer, Josephine Myron of Portland agreed.
Go buy a cake somewhere else. Why come after these people (Klein)?
Klein said along with support, he has received hate mail.
They've attacked our business Facebook page. They've posted pictures of my kids online on the same pages that they're writing all this ridiculous stuff; foul language and all that stuff, he said. It's kind of a funny way for people that preach tolerance to tolerate somebody, you know? It just doesn't seem to be happening.
Portland resident April Fisher said the gay couple was wronged.
I don't feel that (Klein is) being respectful of rights. We've come a long ways from those days when it was okay to say 'No, you can't come into my restaurant because you're a different color,' she said.
Rebecca Tuccil of Portland agreed, saying, He's entitled to his opinion, he's entitled to his religion, but I personally don't agree with that. Not at all.
The lesbian couple released a statement Tuesday saying they're humbled by all the support they're receiving, but they're not doing interviews.
Stacey Tester of Portland said she's curious to see what happens next, but opposes the business' stance.
Personally, I wouldn't support a business that stands by that practice and they would lose my business, she said.
On Monday, celebrity pastry chef Duff Goldman offered to make the couple a wedding cake for free. On Tuesday, there were even more offers.
Equality Southwest Washington's Wedding Expo offered to marry the couple free of charge.
Jazz It-Up Productions, a DJ company in Tigard offered free DJ services for the couple's wedding day.