Another gay wedding, another cake denied

Another gay wedding, another cake denied

HOOD RIVER, Ore. – Even the most romantic dreamer couldn't imagine a more fairy tale setting to get married.

A wedding beneath towering Mount Hood, overlooking the swift blue water of the Columbia River in the Gorge, truly felt like a fairy tale for Erin Hanson and Katie Pugh.

But when the couple went to find a baker for their wedding cake, they were turned away because they are lesbians.

It's a familiar story. In February, Sweet Cakes, a bakery in Gresham, turned away a gay couple. That became national news.

And while the faces changed, the law has not. It's still against statute to turn away customers because of sexual orientation. It doesn't matter if it's for a legal wedding or just a ceremony or anything else.

"We have had a lovely time working with the vendors in Hood River," said Pugh. "We love Hood River. Everybody's been so kind and wonderful."

That is until what should have been sweet turned sour.

It took a long time for Hanson and Pugh to narrow down just the cake they wanted.

"I found a gal who was making gorgeous cakes," said Pugh. "I contacted her and we set up a time to do a tasting."

It was the perfect baker in the perfect spot – Fleur Cakes owned by Pam Regentin – just down the road from the wedding.

The ladies scheduled a tasting.

"I mentioned Erin in passing, and said a 'she' in passing too, in the email. A few days later she called back and that was today. And called and verified it was a same-sex wedding," Pugh said.

And that's when Fleur Cakes said it wouldn't bake the cake.

The business is also Regentin's house. She was out of town but spoke to KATU News on the phone.

When asked if she was aware it's illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation for a business that serves the public, Regentin said: "I believe I have the liberty to live by my principles."

She is not the first business owner to walk away from a gay wedding or similar ceremony. Most of them point out they serve gay customers, just not the weddings.

A lot of these business owners in other states are arguing for a new exemption, a religious exemption, which would let them turn away same-sex weddings.

State statutes say any place or service offering public accommodations must provide "full and equal accommodations without any distinction on account of race, color, religion, sex, or sexual orientation."

The refusal of the Gresham bakery to make a wedding cake for a gay couple sparked controversy and protests. The bakery's owner said he saw a spike in business because of the publicity.

We tracked down this story after a viewer tipped us off on what happened. Let us know what's happening near you, by emailing us at newstips@katu.com.