A same-sex couple who requested a cake for their wedding in January but were refused service by a Gresham bakery have filed a complaint with the state, alleging “Sweet Cakes by Melissa” discriminated against them based on their sexual orientation.
Rachel N. Cryer, 30, said she had gone to the Gresham bakery on Jan. 17 for a scheduled appointment to order a wedding cake. She met with the owner, Aaron Klein. Klein asked for the date of the wedding and names of the bride and groom, Cryer said. "I told him, 'There are two brides and our names are Rachel and Laurel,' " according to her complaint. Klein responded that his business does not provide its services for same-sex weddings, she said. "Respondent cited a religious belief for its refusal to make cakes for same-sex couples planning to marry," the complaint says.
"We are committed to a fair and thorough investigation to determine whether there's substantial evidence of unlawful discrimination," said Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian. He advocated for the 2007 law when he was a state senator.
"Everybody is entitled to their own beliefs, but that doesn't mean that folks have the right to discriminate," Avakian said, speaking generally. An administrative law judge could assess civil penalties. "The goal is never to shut down a business. The goal is to rehabilitate," Avakian said. "For those who do violate the law, we want them to learn from that experience and have a good, successful business in Oregon."
The near future:
The word ended in a gasp of pain. The needle of the dial had shot up to fifty-five. The sweat had sprung out all over [Aaron’s] body. The air tore into his lungs and issued again in deep groans which even by clenching his teeth he could not stop. [Avakian] watched him, [the definition of “marriage” written on an index card] still extended. He drew back the lever. This time the pain was only slightly eased.
‘[What is marriage, Aaron]?’
‘[The conjugal union of a man and woman, designed for the bearing and rearing of children].’
The needle must have risen again, but he did not look at it. The heavy, stern face and the [index card] filled his vision. [The index card with the definition] stood up before his eyes, enormous, blurry, and seeming to vibrate, but unmistakably [with the words “simple companionship for adult fulfillment.”]
‘[What is marriage, Aaron]?’
‘[Simple companionship for adult fulfillment! Simple companionship for adult fulfillment! Simple companionship for adult fulfillment!]’
‘No, [Aaron], that is no use. You are lying. You still think [marriage is the conjugal union of a man and a woman, design for the bearing and rearing of children. What is marriage], please?’
‘Do you know where you are, [Aaron]?’ he said.
‘I don’t know. I can guess. In the Ministry of Love.’
‘Do you know how long you have been here?’
‘I don’t know. Days, weeks, months – I think it is months.’
‘And why do you imagine we bring people to this place?’
‘To make them confess.’
‘No, that is not the reason. Try again.’
‘To punish them.’
‘No!’ exclaimed [Avakian]. His voice had changed extraordinarily, and his face and become both stern and animated. ‘No! Not merely to extract your confession, not to punish you. Shall I tell you why we have brought you here? To [rehabilitate] you! To make you sane! Will you understand, [Aaron], that no one whom we bring to this place ever leaves our hands uncured? We are not interested in those stupid crimes that you have committed. The [Democratic] Party is not interested in the overt act: the thought is all we care about. We do not merely destroy our enemies, we change them. Do you understand what I mean by that?’
‘The first thing for you to understand is that in this place there are no martyrdoms. You have read of the religious persecutions of the past. In the Middle Ages there was an Inquisition. It was a failure. It set out to eradicate heresy, and ended by perpetuating it. For every heretic it burned at the stake, thousands of others rose up. Why was that? Because the Inquisition killed its enemies in the open, and killed them while they were still unrepentant. Men were dying because they would not abandon their true beliefs. Naturally, all the glory went to the victim and all the shame to the Inquisitor who burned him. Later, in the twentieth century, there were the totalitarians as they were called. There were the German Nazis and the Russian Communists. The Russians persecuted heresy more cruelly than the Inquisition had done. And they imagine that they had learned from the mistakes of the past; they knew, at any rate, that one must not make martyrs. Before they exposed their victims to public trial, they deliberately set themselves to destroy their dignity. They wore them down by torture and solitude until they were despicable, cringing wretches, confessing whatever was put into their mouths, covering themselves with abuse, accusing and sheltering behind one another, whimpering for mercy. And yet after only a few years the same thing had happened over again. The dead men had become martyrs and their degradation was forgotten. Once again, why was it? In the first place, because the confessions that they had made were obviously extorted and untrue. We do not make mistakes of that kind. All the confessions that are uttered here are true. We make them true. And above all we do not allow the dead to rise up against us. You must stop imagining that posterity will vindicate you [Aaron]. Posterity will never hear of you. You will be lifted clean out from the stream of history. We shall turn you into gas and pour you into the stratosphere. Nothing will remain of you, not a name in the register, not a memory in a living brain. You will be annihilated in the past as well as in the future. You will never have existed.’
Then why bother to torture me? thought [Aaron], with a momentary bitterness. [Avakian] checked his step as though [Aaron] has uttered the thought aloud. His large ugly face came nearer, with the eyes a little narrowed.
‘You are thinking,’ he said, ‘that since we intend to destroy you utterly, so that nothing you say or do can make the smallest difference—in that case, why do we go to the trouble of interrogating you first? That is what you were thinking, was it not?’
‘Yes,’ said [Aaron].
[Avakian] smiled slightly. ‘You are a flaw in the pattern, [Aaron]. You are a stain that must be wiped out. Did I not tell you just now that we are different from the persecutors of the past? We are not content with negative obedience, nor even with the most abject submission. When finally you surrender to us, it must be of your own free will. We do not destroy the heretic because he resists us: so long as he resists us we never destroy him. We [rehabilitate] him, we capture his inner mind, we reshape him. We burn all evil and all illusion out of him; we bring him over to our side, not in appearance, but genuinely, heart and soul. We make him one of ourselves before we kill him. It is intolerable to us that an erroneous thought [about gays and gay marriage] should exist anywhere in the world, however secret and powerless it may be. Even in the instant of death we cannot permit any deviation. In the old days the heretic walked to the stake still a heretic, proclaiming his heresy, exulting in it. Even the victim of the Russian purges could carry rebellion locked up in his skull as he walked down the passage waiting for the bullet. But we make the brain perfect before we blow it out. The command of the old despotisms was “Thou shalt not”. The command of the totalitarians was “thou shalt”. Our command is “THOU ART”