Bakers who refused to make same-sex wedding cake close up shop

Sad news from Oregon, where the weight of an endless investigation – plus protests, death threats, rape threats, and threats against their children – have compelled Aaron and Melissa Klein to close their “Sweet Cakes by Melissa” bakery.  Way to go, forces of “tolerance!”  Compulsion and hatred are super-awesome when you’re not on the wrong end of them, right?

KOIN News writes the epitaph for a small business:

According to the ???Sweet Cakes by Melissa??? Facebook page, ???This will be our last weekend at the shop; we are moving our business to an in-home bakery??????

On Aug. 14, Oregon???s state Bureau of Labor and Industries reported its investigation to determine if Sweet Cakes??? actions violated the Oregon Equality Act of 2007, which states that people cannot be denied service based on sexual orientation. The law provides an exemption for schools and religious groups, but not for private businesses, according to a BOLI news release.

They left a note on the shop door reading, “This fight is not over. We will continue to stand strong. Your Religious Freedom is becoming not Free anymore. This is ridiculous that we can not practice our faith. The LORD is good and we will continue to serve Him with all our heart.”  The note was signed with a little heart.

Not only did the Forces of Tolerance go after the bakers and their family, but according to The Blaze, their customers and vendors were also targeted:

???You stupid bible-thumping, hypocritical b**ch.  I hope your kids get really, really, sick and you go out of business,??? read one e-mail.

???Here???s hoping you go out of business, you bigot. Enjoy hell,??? read another.

At the time, they told TheBlaze that their wedding vendors ???badgered and harassed??? until they refused to do business with Sweet Cakes by Melissa. As a result, the business??? wedding cake orders this summer were down dramatically from the past. Plus, some individuals canceled their previously-planned cakes in the wake of the controversy.

The Blaze also recounted the January incident that would ultimately lead to the destruction of Sweet Cakes By Melissa:

It was Jan. 17 when a mother and her daughter showed up at the shop and chatted with Aaron about purchasing a cake; their meeting was short-lived, though. Upon learning that the wedding was for two women, the baker purportedly politely declined service to the women, citing his Christian faith. Aaron apologized, but stayed true to his values.

As we previously reported, the mother and daughter became disgusted by the refusal and walked out. Ten minutes later, the baker told TheBlaze that the frustrated mom came back into Sweet Cakes by Melissa and challenged Aaron???s decision not to serve the couple. Again, he maintained his stance and cited the Bible; the mother allegedly disagreed again and stormed out ??? and a discrimination complaint was later filed against the shop.

???February 1st or 2nd, I got a letter from the Oregon DOJ, saying I was under investigation for a possible discrimination complaint,??? he said, noting that the grievance has still, months late, not materialized, as it was apparently improperly filed (it is unclear whether an official investigation will continue or whether a new inquiry will be launched).

When asked why he refused to provide a cake to the couple, Aaron was candid, saying that he and Melissa don???t provide baked goods for same-sex weddings.

???Obviously, with my Christian values, I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman,??? he said. ???I take it to be a religious event. ??? God ordained it.???

That kind of talk is only permitted in a society that respects the freedom of religion, Mr. Klein.  What were you thinking?

Remember when American liberals claimed to be worried about the “tyranny of the majority?”  Remember when it was considered important to respect the rights and liberties of those who dissent from official orthodoxy?  Conversely, refusing to participate by baking a cake is hardly an imposition on the state-ordained right of a same-sex couple to hold a wedding.  Do they get to frog-march a church choir into their wedding, too?

Perhaps the most clearly libertarian path would be extracting government from the business of marriage altogether… but that’s clearly not in the cards, is it?  Generally speaking, some level of official involvement has always been necessary to enforce recognition of a legal marriage, and various levels of government probably aren’t going to stop treating single and married people differently any time soon.

Same-sex marriage is not the path of least resistance; it’s the road to deploying even more compulsive force against the populace, because a large number of people don’t want to recognize those marriages.  If they were allowed to voice their disapproval, and then go their own way, there wouldn’t be a big question of government power – free speech, to each their own, sorry you feel that way.  But in Oregon – and in New Mexico, where a Christian photographer is facing similar problems after refusing to work at a same-sex wedding – that’s not in the cards, either.

Are supporters of gay marriage really okay with forcing people to participate, under threat of legal punishment and/or mob action?  Presumably some of them would say this is a necessary evil, to completely expunge benighted religious influences and archaic, unfair traditions from society.  Those traditions have been in place for a long time; they are not cobwebs of history that can easily be swept aside.  Human nature and natural law run strongly in favor of traditional marriage – there are sound reasons, both biological and sociological, why the marriage of men and women holds a special place in nearly every culture and religious tradition.  It’s not just an arbitrary, exclusionary obsession invented by anti-gay bigots a few thousand years ago.

And once you accept the notion that marriage traditions are not arbitrary, it isn’t hard to understand that they are not easily dispensed with, even if current popular opinion runs against them.  That’s also true of the general tendency, completely apart from the same-sex issue, of young people in the lower income brackets to regard marriage as irrelevant or outmoded.  (Polls consistently show that the higher income brackets do not feel that way.)  All sorts of grim socio-economic statistics testify that marriage between men and women is much more important than a lot of people thought it was.

It’s true that not all traditions are noble, and sometimes fundamental change is necessary.  But I wonder if everyone who supports same-sex marriage has fully considered the depth of change that will be necessary to impose the new order upon every corner of society, or the amount of compulsive force that will be needed to complete that transformation.