Oregon Appeals Court Rules Against Bakery's Religious Freedom Claims in Discrimination Case


The state ruled Sweet Cakes had discriminated against the lesbian couple, and in July 2015, Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian ordered the Kleins pay $135,000 for emotional damages suffered.

The decision comes weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the high-profile case of a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. It's unclear how much impact a decision in that case might have in the case involving the Kleins.

Oregon's anti-discrimination law states that "all persons within the jurisdiction of this state are entitled to the full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges of any place of public accommodation, without any distinction, discrimination or restriction on account of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin or age". "OR will not allow a 'Straight Couples Only" sign to be hung in bakeries or other stores'.

Donations poured in for the Kleins, who campaigned in Iowa with Ted Cruz at "Rally for Religous Liberty", and C. Boyden Gray, the former White House Counsel for George H.W. Bush, offered to represent the couple for free.

The Bowman-Cryers said the case was not simply about a wedding cake, their marriage or their wedding.

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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".

Through tears, Klein said she poured her heart and passion into each cake and designed each one to fit each couple perfectly. Garrett also wrote that the Kleins "have made no showing that the state targeted them for enforcement due to their religious beliefs". The bakers refused only after hearing that the cakes would be used in same-sex marriage receptions. 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".

They are still trying to overturn the decision that they should pay compensation.

The judges also stated the Kleins' attorney failed to show that wedding cake constituted "fully protected speech or art". The Kleins gathered with their attorneys outside.

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