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


The couple who simply wanted a wedding cake, Laurel Bowman and Rachel Cryer, "became the victims of death threats - as well as outrageous and horrific claims by conservative media outlets and anti-gay groups", after filing their discrimination claim, as NCRM reported in 2015.

The Oregon Equality Act of 2007 says businesses can not discriminate or refuse service based on sexual orientation - just as they can not turn away customers due to their race, sex, disability, age, or religion.

Brad Avakian, the state labor commissioner, agreed and leveled heavy damages against the Kleins for the Bowman-Cryer's emotional and mental distress.

The decision will likely be the most controversial ruling, and the one with the biggest impact, handed down by Avakian during his almost 10 years in the role.

The Kleins appealed Avakian's decision, claiming that their religious beliefs do not allow them to support a same-sex wedding in any way, and that their free-speech rights would be abridged if they were compelled to apply their artistry in the service of such a wedding.

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments earlier this month in a similar case involving a bakery in Colorado.

More news: Kabul Bombing Kills At Least 6; ISIS Claims Responsibility
More news: Lorenzen Wright's ex-wife Sherra charged with his murder
More news: OnePlus 5T Star Wars Edition Launched in India for Rs. 38999

Paul Thompson, attorney for the Bowman-Cryers, said he will be watching that case closely. The Kleins said their objection to baking the cake was not because the couple was gay but because participating in a same-sex wedding would violate their closely held Christian beliefs.

The Bowman-Cryers were married in 2014 after a federal judge struck down Oregon's same-sex marriage ban.

"All of us are equal under the law and should be treated equally", the couple said.

The Appeals Court ruled against Avakian on one point: The labor commissioner interpreted the Kleins' statements as evidence of an intent to discriminate in the future. "In Oregon, businesses that are open to the public are open to all", they said. The Kleins (husband and wife owners of the since-closed Sweetcakes by Melissa) argue, among other things, that enforcement of the nondiscrimination law against them violates their religious freedom rights under the First Amendment.

The First Liberty Institute, a religious freedom law firm that represented the Kleins, said it is disappointed by the ruling.

Writing about that pending decision at National Review, Kevin Williamson warned about the legal consequences if Christians are forced by "government bayonets" to perform a duty they are morally opposed to.