An Oregon bakery on Thursday was
ordered to pay $135,000 in damages for refusing to serve a lesbian
According to Oregon
Live, Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian found that
bakery owners Aaron and Melissa Klein unlawfully discriminated
against a lesbian couple when they refused to make a cake for the
women's commitment ceremony.
Aaron Klein declined to make the cake
for the women on January 17, 2013. Klein said he does not hate gays
but that making a cake for a gay wedding would violate his faith.
(At the time, Oregon had the nation's most robust domestic
partnership law. Following a federal judge's ruling in May, 2014,
Oregon became the 18th state to allow gay and lesbian
couples to marry.)
“I'm free to exercise my religion
however I see fit,” Aaron Klein told CBN News two years ago. “I
should not be compelled to violate my conscience. If I am told that
I have to make a wedding cake for a same-sex marriage, I feel that I
am violating my beliefs. I don't think I should have to do that.”
Rachel Cryer and Laurel Bowman became
domestic partners on June 27, 2013. They were married May 23, 2014
and are now using Bowman-Cryer as their surname.
“This case is not about a wedding
cake or a marriage,” Avakian wrote in his order. “It is about a
business's refusal to serve someone because of their sexual
orientation. Under Oregon law, that is illegal.”
Avakian ordered the Kleins to pay
$75,000 to Rachel Bowman-Cryer and $60,000 to Laurel Bowman-Cryer.
An attorney representing the Kleins
said an appeal was likely.