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Controversial Sweet Cakes Bakery Permanently Closes Business

urlSweet Cakes by Melissa, a Gresham, Oregon bakery that was emblazoned amidst controversy in early 2013 for refusing to provide a wedding cake for a lesbian couple, is now no longer business.

After bakery owners Aaron and Melissa Klein refused service to Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer in January 2013, the story soon took media outlets by storm, creating a divisive argument between the owners’ opinion of their right to freedom of religion versus the spurned couple’s belief of their right to equality. The flurry of verbal onslaughts and threats that both parties claim to have been victims of have not ceased since the bakery closed its physical location later in 2013.

In 2015, The Oregon Bureau of Labor found the Klein’s to be in violation of the state’s 2007 Equality Act, and fined the couple $135,000. Initially refusing to pay, the bakery owners’ supporters flooded fundraising efforts with donations, eventually adding up to over $400,000, and the Klein’s eventually complied with the fine. However, the court-mandated fine is currently being appealed.

The Bowman-Cryers, subjects of hate mail and targeted threats, finally broke their silence about the matter in 2016. Speaking to The Advocate, the couple stated, “We’ve decided to speak out for one primary reason: We don’t want any person or family to go what we’ve gone through. Every family deserves respect, dignity and a life free from discrimination and harassment.”

The contentious subject matter still remains a commonly battled societal argument. In the three and a half years since the story broke, however, marriage equality, civil rights issues and subsequent discrimination have become prominent issues among government officials both at the state and federal level, in attempts to ensure equal treatment of all.

Speculation exists that the former bakery owners opted to close the struggling business once and for all due to the massive amount of funds raised by the former couple’s supporters, while also appealing the payment of their previously imposed fine. While no evidence can support this assumption, the Facebook page for Sweet Cakes simply states, “We have closed Sweet Cakes. We appreciate everyone’s continued prayer and support!”

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