A Christian baker who faced virulent protest and eventually lost her shop after refusing to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple took to her Facebook page Monday to reveal what she says are the "two huge lies" contemporary culture has embraced.
"Our culture has accepted 2 huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone's lifestyle, you must fear or hate them," wrote Melissa Klein, owner of the embattled Sweet Cakes by Melissa bakery. "Second is that to love someone means that you must agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense."
She concluded, "You don't have to compromise convictions to be compassionate."
Klein and her husband, Aaron, have been at the forefront of the debate surrounding whether Christian business owners who provide wedding services should be forced to serve gay and lesbian clients.
Problems for the Klein family began in January 2013 when they declined to make a wedding cake for Rachel Cryer and Laurel Bowman, a lesbian couple who promptly responded by filing a civil rights complaint against Sweet Cakes by Melissa.
Officials in Oregon subsequently ruled that the bakery violated Cryer's and Bowman's civil rights.
The Bureau of Labor and Industries released a statement on the matter, noting that the couple had filed an official complaint with the government under the Oregon Equality Act of 2007 — a law that protects gays and lesbians using public venues.
“Under Oregon law, Oregonians may not be denied service based on sexual orientation or gender identity,” read the release. “The law provides an exemption for religious organizations and schools, but does not allow private business owners to discriminate based on sexual orientation, just as they cannot legally deny service based on race, sex, age, disability or religion.”
In addition to potentially facing monumental fines, Melissa and Aaron Klein have also weathered some serious personal and businesses challenges as a result of their stance against gay marriage.
Image via Sweet Cakes by Melissa/Facebook
The Kleins appeared Friday on a panel at the Values Voter Summit, a conservative religious and political gathering, where they defended their right to decline service based on their religious objections and said that they fully operated within the bounds of the U.S. Constitution.
"To be told they're going to force me to convey a message other than what I want to convey — it flies in the face of the Constitution," said Aaron Klein, according to the Oregonian. "It's a violation of my conscience. It's a violation of my religious freedom. It's horrible to see your own government doing this to you."
Melissa Klein broke out into tears during the panel discussion while commenting on the situation:
As TheBlaze reported in September 2013, the Kleins were forced to close their Sweet Cakes by Melissa bakery following intense scrutiny and furor among gay rights advocates that inevitably impacted business; they’re now operating out of their family home.
Additionally, the Kleins have reportedly being harassed by those opposed to their stance on the cake matter, fielding virulent emails and phone calls.
And Melissa Klein previously told TheBlaze that someone broke into the Sweet Cakes truck last September — a vehicle the family uses to advance its business.
The truck was parked in the Kleins’ driveway, which was particularly nerve-wrecking for the family, as their home is in a highly secluded area — one that is nowhere near where their former shop.
“Somebody came up into our driveway and rummaged through our truck and took stuff out,” she told TheBlaze. “The really strange thing is, they didn’t steal anything, they just made a mess. It kind of was a little creepy.”
The legal battle over the cake refusal continues, as it will soon come before an administrative law judge.