An Oregon state appeals court has ruled that Aaron and Melissa Klein, former-owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, will have to pay a lesbian couple $135,000 in damages after they refused to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding.
The incident took place in January 2013, when Rachel Bowman-Cryer went to the Portland bakery with her mother. After learning the cake was for Rachel and her same-sex partner Laurel, Aaron apologised and said they were not able to make same-sex wedding cakes.
Rachel and Laurel filed a formal complaint with the state labor bureau, which found the bakery had violated a 2007 anti-discrimination law. While the law provides exemptions for religious organisations, the Oregon court dismissed the Klein’s argument that their cakes are their own artistic expressions, protected by the First Amendment.
Kelly Shackelford, President of First Liberty Institute said:
The Oregon Court of Appeals decided that Aaron and Melissa Klein are not entitled to the Constitution’s promises of religious liberty and free speech. In a diverse and pluralistic society, people of good will should be able to peacefully coexist with different beliefs.
The Klein’s were forced to close their bakery shortly after being ordered to pay the heavy fine. Tucker Carlson argued, “The precedent this sets is that the state can force people to violate their religious beliefs. Presumably, they could force a kosher butcher to sell bacon, or a Catholic hospital to commit an abortion. Your religious beliefs are no protection against force from the state.”
What’s the moral of the story? Target Christian bakers because it pays to be offended – at least a whopping $135,000. Apparently #EqualityForAll doesn’t include Christian bakers, but we already knew that.