Court rules against Oregon bakers in wedding cake case

30 December, 2017, 00:36 | Author: Julio Duncan
  • Melissa and Aaron Klein

Their attorneys haven't decided yet whether they will appeal the court's decision to the Oregon Supreme Court.

The couple had no idea a simple item on their pre-wedding to-do list would end in such controversy.

Despite this campaign, the bakery quietly shut down and appealed the fine.

The case began when Rachel Bowman-Cryer went to the suburban Portland bakery with her mother in January 2013. The couple, Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer, filed a complaint with the state Bureau of Labor and Industries. The law provides an exemption for religious organizations but does not allow private businesses to discriminate based on sexual orientation.

The Kleins balked at first, then paid the $135,000 and vowed to appeal the case. The money from the judgment has sat in an escrow account throughout the appeals process.

The case will likely now be appealed to the Oregon Supreme Court. They are considering this option, their attorneys said. "It's definitely had its toll on them", Aaron Klein said. "It's a great day for equality in OR".

They released a statement Thursday that read, in part, "It does not matter how you were born or who you love".

A years-long legal battle ensued.

First Liberty, one of the nation's most prominent religious liberty law firms, represented the Kleins. In that case, the bakery refused to create a cake for a same-sex couple's 2012 wedding reception. A broad religious exemption to this law would permit any business to deny service to anyone, rendering Oregon's protections against discrimination meaningless.


"Freedom of expression for ourselves should require freedom of expression for others".

As Rachel remained in the vehicle, in tears, her mother went in to speak with Klein. As a devout Christian, she incorporated her faith into every aspect of her life, especially her work.

The Kleins argued that a liberal labor commissioner, Brad Avakian, violated their religious rights and free speech rights when he imposed the staggering fine for causing emotional distress to the lesbian couple.

Judge Rebecca Duncan asked whether a person making a sandwich in a cafeteria could make the same argument. The bakers refused only after hearing that the cakes would be used in same-sex marriage receptions.

"Race is different from sexual orientation", Gustafson said, adding that laws barring interracial marriages were proxies for racial bias and white supremacy. "We've tried to protect them as much as possible". "It meant everything to me and losing it has been so hard for me and my family". However, that had no effect on the outcome or the award for damages. The nature of the discrimination and its impact on the couple's sense of self were harmful, he said. 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.

The religious rights legal group First Liberty Institute defended the Kleins before the court.

After the case, the Bowman-Cryers left the courthouse in tears. "Man's court is going to do what man's court is going to do".

Aaron Klein declared that the "honest truth" is that he and his wife "just seek to serve the Lord".

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