The Oregon Court of Appeals maintained a ruling against Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of the bakery Sweetcakes by Melissa, which ordered the Kleins to pay $135,000 to a lesbian couple whose wedding cake the Kleins refused to make, says The Blaze.
The Blaze quotes KGW-TV saying, “The court did reverse one decision that said bakers Aaron and Melissa Klein violated state law by communicating their intent to discriminate against gay couples in the future.”
The Kleins, represented by First Liberty Institute, may take the case to the Oregon Supreme Court next.
The case began when the Kleins were approached by a previous customer in January 2013 who asked them to make the cake for her wedding with another woman, says First Liberty.
“She had such a positive experience at Sweet Cakes that she wanted Melissa to make her wedding cake.”
However, the Kleins refused because of their Christian beliefs.
According to First Liberty, “Aaron Klein explained that by making a wedding cake, they would be endorsing something that violated their beliefs, which is something they could not do.”
The case was brought to the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI), which in 2015 ordered the Kleins to pay the women for “emotional damages,” according to Breitbart.
The BOLI also ordered a “cease and desist” against the Kleins to stop them from “saying that they will not participate in a same-sex wedding or otherwise talk about their desire to run their business according to their faith,” says First Liberty.
The years long legal battle has taken a toll on the Melissa and Aaron, as well as their kids. The Kleins have received hate mail and threats, and due to the financial burden, they were forced to close down their bakery storefront.
Melissa now sells bakery items exclusively online, and Aaron had to find work as a garbage collector to pay the bills.
The Kleins defense with First Liberty still hopes to overturn the ruling.
“Attorney Jeremy Dys…who represents the Kleins,” says The Blaze, said “he hoped the Kleins would be victorious in affirming American business owners’ rights to be ‘free to live their faith.’”
“The First Amendment stands for the principle that government cannot compel art or speech,” said Stephanie Taub, Counsel with First Liberty. “The Supreme Court has an obligation to ensure that freedoms of speech and religious expression are preserved for all Americans.”
Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/AmberLaneRoberts
Publication date: December 29, 2017