Oregon Bakers Who Declined to Bake Same-Sex Wedding Cake Have Their Day in Court

By Anika Smith Published on March 2, 2017

Attorneys for Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of the now-closed Sweet Cakes by Melissa, argued before the Oregon Court of Appeals today that the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) violated the Kleins’ constitutional rights to religious freedom, free speech, and due process.

(For a thorough reading of the arguments in the case, see past Stream coverage here.)

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the Kleins argue that Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian and the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries violated state and federal laws by forcing them to pay $135,000 in damages to the woman who wanted a cake for her same-sex wedding.

Lawyers with the First Liberty Institute made the constitutional case, arguing that the state violated the Kleins’ rights as artists to free speech, their rights to religious freedom and their rights as defendants to a due process.

Oregon Labor Commissioner Avakian praised an LGBTQ advocacy group on Facebook before the hearing, the Kleins’ lawyers pointed out, arguing that he should have recused himself.

In a press conference following the lawsuit, Melissa Klein read this statement:

When we opened our bakery, we loved serving all customers who came into the shop, regardless of their identity or beliefs. My cakes were my canvas. I sketched and custom designed each one to fit each couple perfectly. My bakery wasn’t just called ‘Sweet Cakes Bakery,’ it was ‘Sweet Cakes by Melissa’ because I pour my passion and heart into each cake I make. My faith is a part of that. I was happy to serve this couple in the past for another event and I would be happy to serve them again, but I couldn’t participate in a ceremony that goes against what I believe.
I have a strong faith in God, whom I love with all my heart. My whole life is dedicated to living for Him, in the best way that I know how. America is a place where the government can’t force you to violate your religious beliefs or tell you what to believe, but we feel like that is exactly what happened to us. We lost everything we loved and worked so hard to build. I loved my shop — it meant everything to me. And losing it has been so hard for me and my family. Nobody in this country should ever have to go through what we’ve experienced.
We just want the government to tolerate and accept differences of opinion, so we can continue to follow our faith. We hope that, even if people have different beliefs from us, that they will show each other tolerance and that we can peacefully live together and still follow our faith. That’s all we want. Thank you.

If the Kleins are successful, their appeal could create a religious exemption to the 2007 Oregon Equality Act. There is no timeline for the Oregon Court of Appeals to issue an opinion on the case.

Print Friendly
Comments ()
The Stream encourages comments, whether in agreement with the article or not. However, comments that violate our commenting rules or terms of use will be removed. Any commenter who repeatedly violates these rules and terms of use will be blocked from commenting. Comments on The Stream are hosted by Disqus, with logins available through Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or G+ accounts. You must log in to comment. Please flag any comments you see breaking the rules. More detail is available here.
  • Triple T

    Pray for them, because I have a bad feeling about this, given recent examples

  • ForceMajuere

    It will probably go to the Supreme Court, where they will have to reverse the decision that established Obergefell as a “Protected Class”. 1st Amendment Rights has been losing to 14th Amendment “Equal Protection” for years-they will have to prove that what the Plaintiffs asked for went “beyond” what they were required to give under “Equal Protection”. If they have put on their cakes “Best Wishes to the Both of You”, then they are required to “Make No Distinction” regardless of their religious beliefs. If they were asked to write, ‘God bless all Gay, Lesbian, and Transgendered Couples’, then they could invoke their 1st Amendment Rights, since what was asked went beyond “Equal Protection” and demanded their personal approval for their aberrant behavior. The Secret to de-railing Obergefell is the court left “vague” what the Definition of Marriage is. Since they struck down the “DOMA Laws” that were passed in the previous Windsor Ruling, we are left to guess what the Court is providing “Equal Protection” for. For Example: if a Wealthy Heiress decides to ‘marry’ her Pekingese, and list ‘it’ as the survivor in her will, forfeiting all benefits to her family, as well as protecting her estate from Estate Tax, since her now “legal” partner has Custodial Rights, how will the State and any successors lay claim to inheritance? It’s ridiculous, and I’m sure the Original Framers would turn over in their graves considering such a thought, but apparently the Court was more “interested” in giving rights than to consider the outcomes of such. The Loving Ruling, which the Obergefell Ruling was based on, was a 9-0 vote; since miscegenation was clearly not a Biblical Mandate, or a violation of God’s(Natural) Law. There is a Clear, Biblical Mandate against “Homosexuality”, but the Court purposefully ignored any such Mandate in favor of “Modern Scientific Research”, and accepted the argument that “biology” has nothing to do with what constitutes “The Right To Marry”. Really??? So anyone/thing/group/subset of group that ‘shows you love’ can be your Marriage Partner and enjoy the legal protections that such a union provides? Stay Tuned.

  • katiedidrn

    Praying that the courts will show the same consideration for religious freedom as it does for left wing progressives. Why should the rights of the LGBT.. And transgender communities outweigh those of mainstream America. I saw a segment by Crowder on Levin/tv where he visited several Islamic neighborhood bakeries. He asked to have a ale made for a supposedly gay wedding. None of the bakers would make the wedding cake but sent him to another bakery. What is needed is for someone to go into one of these bakeries and push the issue. Wonder what would happen. Which someone would push the issue and make certain it goes viral. We would see just how “just” our system is.

Walking in God’s Wisdom: Psalm 5:8
The Stream
More from The Stream
Connect with Us