Oregon Bakery Case Back In Court

Sweetcakes By Melissa Via Facebook

The case of an Oregon bakery which refused service to a same-sex couple was back in court Thursday. 

Six years after Sweetcakes By Melissa, a Portland, Ore. area bakery, refused to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple, the Oregon Court of Appeals revisited the case. The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries ruled bakery owners Melissa and Aaron Klein violated the state’s public accommodations law. BOLI determined the Kleins had inflicted serious emotional harm to the couple -- Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer.

“Nothing the court heard today changes the facts of this case,” said Jennifer C. Pizer, Senior Counsel and Director of Law & Policy at Lambda Legal. “The Kleins denied service to Rachel and Laurel and caused them public humiliation and intense emotional distress, and BOLI applied the state statutes appropriately.”

In 2015, the state’s civil rights division fined the bakery $135,000 for illegal discrimation. The bakery case was revisited after the U.S. Supreme Court vacated the ruling last summer and directed Oregon to reconsider in light of the high court’s 2018 ruling in favor of a Colorado baker in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission

In a 7-2 decision, the Supreme Court ruled on narrow grounds that Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission violated a baker’s free exercise of religion. 

In the Oregon case, the Kleins maintain baking a same-sex wedding cake runs contrary to their Christian beliefs. A couple for 10 years, Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer are adoptive parents of two special needs children who had been invited to a cake tasting by Melissa Klein at her bakery in the Portland suburb of Gresham, Ore.

When the women arrived they were greeted by Aaron Klein who refused them service and called their relationship an “abomination.”

“All we wanted was a cake, the same simple, delicious cake that Melissa Klein sold to us two years earlier when we bought the wedding cake for my mother’s sixth wedding,” Rachel Bowman-Cryer said. “Nothing had prepared me for the shock and humiliation of how Aaron Klein treated us – for his rejection of our business because of who we are, and then having our committed relationship characterized as an abomination.”

Oregon was a leading state in protecting the rights of LGBT people from discrimination, signing its Equality Act into law in 2008

 

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