Published: Sat, December 30, 2017
Entertaiment | By Lawrence Myers

OR bakers lose their appeal

OR bakers lose their appeal

An appeals court ruled Thursday against the OR bakers who were fined $135,000 for declining to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple.

Following their lost appeal, the OR court said the Kleins' argument that their cakes are a form of artistic expression is "entitled to be taken seriously", but that others would not consider them as they would a statue OR a painting.

"We believe that freedom of expression for ourselves means freedom of expression for others", said Mike Berry, a First Liberty attorney, via Skype.

The appeals court ruled that the OR law barring discrimination was clear, and the Kleins violated it by refusing service based on the couple's sexual orientation.

The case could next go to the Oregon Supreme Court, KGW reported.

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In 2015, Aaron and Melissa Klein were ordered by Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries to pay a $135,000 judgment to the lesbian couple.

On Thursday, almost five years after the incident that ignited the case, the Oregon Court of Appeals sided with the state and upheld the penalty against the Kleins.

The Sweet Cakes by Melissa decision comes just weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in a very similar case: Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

Melissa and Aaron Klein (photo), the couple behind Sweetcakes by Melissa became the face of the Christian right's persecution claims, sparking a national debate filled with falsehoods and bereft of many facts in the case.

For the past ten years, the Oregon Equality Act of 2007 has protected Oregonians from unlawful discrimination in housing, employment and public places.

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Melissa Klein positioned earlier this year that the bakery did not discriminate against the lesbian couple, whom they had served before their wedding cake request, and only asks for the right to be allowed not to participate in a gay wedding.

The couple said they moved to OR because the state stands strong for equality and they are proud to raise their daughters where people believe in dignity and respect.

In the ruling, Judge Chris Garret wrote that Avakian's order does not violate the Klein's free speech rights because it simply "requires their compliance with a neutral law".

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

First Liberty Institute, the legal organization that represents the Kleins, disagreed with the ruling.

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"We lost everything we loved and worked so hard to build", said Melissa Klein.

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