The Oregon Court of Appeals on Thursday upheld a decision by Oregon's labor commissioner that forced two Gresham bakers to pay $135,000 to a lesbian couple who the bakers refused to make a wedding cake for.
Following their lost appeal, the OR court said the Kleins' argument that their cakes are a form of artistic expression is "entitled to be taken seriously", but that others would not consider them as they would a statue OR a painting.
The First Liberty Institute, which represented the Kleins, expressed disappointment with the ruling. The Kleins have directed us to no evidence whatsoever that ORS 659A.403 was enacted for the goal of singling out religiously motivated action, or that BOLI has selectively targeted religion in its enforcement of the statute.
"It would really depend", he says, "on how broad or narrow of a ruling the Supreme Court issues in that case".
Melissa and Aaron Klein have been ordered to pay $135,000 to a lesbian couple the bakers declined to make a cake for.
The Kleins chose to fight back against the decision and filed an appeal.
When Aaron Klein discovered the cake was for a gay couple, he told the women he and his wife did not make cakes for same-sex weddings due to their religious beliefs.
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The bakery case is one of many disputes nationwide since the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in June 2015 to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states.
When Thompson contacted the couple Thursday morning, he said they were elated but still processing the news. All of us are equal under the law and should be treated equally. "OR will not allow a "Straight Couples Only" sign to be hung in bakeries or other stores", the couple stated.
The U.S. Department of Justice, led by Trump appointee Jeff Sessions, submitted an amicus brief in support of Phillips, arguing, "Forcing Phillips to create expression for and participate in a ceremony that violates his sincerely held religious beliefs invades his First Amendment rights".
"The Kleins seek an exemption based on their honest religious opposition to same-sex marriage; but those with honest religious objections to marriage between people of different races, ethnicities or faiths could just as readily demand the same exemption", the court said.
The couple said they moved to OR because the state stands strong for equality and they are proud to raise their daughters where people believe in dignity and respect. The Appeals Court panel rejected those arguments, ruling that the Kleins had denied a service to the Bowman-Cryers in violation of a principle that "simply requires their compliance with a neutral law of general applicability".
As Rachel remained in the auto, in tears, her mother went in to speak with Klein.
"I'm thankful we actually got to have our day in court", Aaron Klein said.