PORTLAND, Ore. (December 28, 2017) — An appellate court Thursday upheld a penalty against Oregon bakery owners who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding almost five years ago.
The owners of the since-closed Gresham bakery — Aaron and Melissa Klein — argued that state Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian violated state and federal laws by forcing them to pay emotional-distress damages of $135,000 to the lesbian couple.
Their lawyers said Avakian and the state Bureau of Labor and Industries violated the Kleins’ rights as artists to free speech, their rights to religious freedom and their rights as defendants to a due process.
But the Oregon Court of Appeals sided with the state Thursday, saying the Kleins failed to show the state targeted them for their religious beliefs.
Nice bakery you got there. Be a shame if something happened to it. Now make me a cake.
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.
That baker, Jack Phillips, claims his First Amendment claims of artistic freedom were being violated — a similar issue raised by the Kleins.