Court rules against OR bakers who refused to make gay wedding cake

Melissa and Aaron Klein of Sweet Cakes as seen on Samaritan's Purse website

In Oregon on Thursday, an appeals court upheld a $135,000 fine against Christian bakers who refused to make a gay wedding cake. However, yesterday the three-judge panel on the state appeals court ruled against the bakery, and now the bakers are deciding whether or not to appeal again.

For the past ten years, the Oregon Equality Act of 2007 has protected Oregonians from unlawful discrimination in housing, employment and public places.

The same-sex couple who had tried to order the cake also released a statement, noting in part that, "without this ruling, businesses could determine who they serve", and that the decision shows that "Oregon will not allow a "Straight Couples Only" sign to be hung in bakeries or other stores".

A similar case, involving a Colorado bakery, went before the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this month. First Liberty Institute, a national religious freedom law firm, represents the Kleins in their appeal along with former President George H.W. Bush White House Counsel Boyden Gray.

The Bowman-Cryers said the case was not simply about a wedding cake, their marriage or their wedding. A broad religious exemption to this law would permit any business to deny service to anyone, rendering Oregon's protections against discrimination meaningless.

Marcus said she hopes the "fundamental constitutional principle recognized by the OR court" on Thursday will "be affirmed by the Supreme Court in Masterpiece Cakeshop as well".

Through tears, Klein said she poured her heart and passion into each cake and designed each one to fit each couple perfectly.

"Although we accept that the Kleins imbue each wedding cake with their own aesthetic choices, they have made no showing that other people will necessarily experience any wedding cake that the Kleins create predominantly as "expression" rather than as food", the court wrote in its opinion. The bakers refused only after hearing that the cakes would be used in same-sex marriage receptions.

The First Amendment also protects the right to be free from compelled speech. He argued the case turns on two simple facts: The Kleins refused to provide the exact same service for a same-sex couple that they would with a heterosexual couple, and the denial of services was based on sexual orientation.

"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 Kleins gathered with their attorneys outside. "Man's court is going to do what man's court is going to do".


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