Court rules against Oregon bakers in wedding cake case

This week, an OR appeals court ruled in a case that bears a strong resemblance to the Masterpiece Cakeshop case now before the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the U.S. Department of Justice's amicus brief supporting the Colorado baker, it says that non-discrimination laws requiring a baker to make cakes for gay weddings could also potentially force freelance designers to create fliers for a neo-Nazi group or the rabidly anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church.

In June 2013, the OR bakery Sweet Cakes By Melissa refused to make a gay wedding cake for Laurel and Rachel Bowman-Cryer, thus violating the state's non-discrimination law requiring businesses to serve all customers equally regardless of sexual orientation.

But on Thursday, the court shot down that argument, too, and said the Kleins failed to prove it was not comparable to previous judgments.

The judge did not agree, saying in a ruling that the state did not target them due to their religious beliefs and that the cake was not fully protected speech or art.

It came years after Rachel Bowman-Cryer and Laurel Bowman-Cryer first stopped at the Klein's custom-cake bakery.

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. A BOLI administrative law judge found that the bakers, Melissa and Aaron Klein, violated a state law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Shackelford added, "In a diverse and pluralistic society, people of goodwill should be able to peacefully coexist with different beliefs".

The case could continue to the Oregon Supreme Court if needed. All of us are equal under the law and should be treated equally.

The Oregonian reports, "in their ruling Thursday, a panel of state appeals court judges sided with [state labor commissioner Brad] Avakian, saying the Kleins did, in fact, deny the Bowman-Cryers because they were lesbians".

First Liberty, one of the nation's most prominent religious liberty law firms, represented the Kleins. "In Oregon, businesses that are open to the public are open to all", they said.

As Rachel remained in the auto, in tears, her mother went in to speak with Klein.

The First Amendment also protects the right to be free from compelled speech.

"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.

  • Kyle Peterson