This week an Oregon based bakery owned by a Christian family announced that it would be closing shop after being harassed by the LGBT community for declining to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple.
Sweet Cakes by Melissa said that the closure came on the heels of immense pressure by the LGBT community through death threats, protests, and boycotts.
“The LGBT attacks are the reason we are shutting down the shop,” said Aaron Klein, the owner of Sweet Cakes by Melissa.
“They have killed our business through mob tactics.”
Klein explained this wasn’t a matter of “homophobia” rather it was about his family’s personal beliefs. “I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I don’t want to help somebody celebrate a commitment to a lifetime of sin.”
This isn’t the first instance of Christian business owners feeling the pressure of forgoing their deeply-held religious beliefs.
Just two weeks ago, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled in a 5-0 decision against Elane Photography for declining to use their artistic expression for a lesbian couple ceremony.
In the concurring opinion, one New Mexico justice said that Elane Photography is now “compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives,” stating “it is the price of citizenship.”
That is a very heavy and chilling statement levied against religious freedom.
A majority of Americans disagree with this unprecedented ruling by the New Mexico Supreme Court. A Rasmussen poll found that 85% of Americans support a Christian photographer’s right to turn down a same-sex wedding job.
The bully tactics deployed against Klein’s family business coupled with the chilling decision from New Mexico’s Supreme Court, are signs of the challenges to come. No longer will people of faith be able to stand on their First Amendment freedoms. Rather they will be compelled by political forces or government intervention to compromise their religious beliefs.
This issue has direct application to Arizona. While most of the focus on Phoenix’s recently passed “Bathroom Bill” surrounded men gaining access to women’s restrooms and locker rooms, this law also would force small business owners – like Sweet Cakes by Melissa and Elane Photography – to participate in same-sex commitment ceremonies regardless of their religious convictions.
Tucson and Flagstaff also have similar laws.
Kevin Klein owner of Sweet Cakes by Melissa wraps the whole issue up best, “this is a fight that’s been coming for a while. Be prepared to take a stand. Hopefully, the church will wake up and understand that we are under attack right now.”
Related cases where religious freedom is being limited by the LGBT community:
Indianapolis – a family owned cookie shop faced a discrimination investigation after they declined to make rainbow cookies for National Coming Out Day.
Kentucky – a t-shirt company was investigated by the Human Rights Commission after they refused to make t-shirts for a local LGBT advocacy organization.
Colorado – Jack Phillips, a Denver baker, is facing possible jail time and a fine if he continues to decline to bake cakes for same-sex weddings.
California – a woman in a same-sex relationship successfully sued two doctors for declining to perform an artificial insemination.
Illinois – owners of a bed-and-breakfast declined to rent their facility to a same-sex couple entering into a civil-union and were sued for discrimination.
Massachusetts – Catholic Church gets out of adoption business in order to avoid being forced to place children with same-sex couples.