The Oregon Court of Appeals on Thursday
upheld a fine levied against a bakery for refusing to serve a lesbian
Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of
Sweet Cakes by Melissa, were found guilty of unlawfully
discriminating against the 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 same-sex 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.)
Oregon's labor commissioner ordered the
Kleins to pay $135,000 to Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer. At first
the Kleins claimed financial hardship despite raising at least
$515,000 in three crowdfunding accounts and refused to pay the fine.
The couple later paid the fine and closed their baking business
around the same time.
In appealing the decision, the Kleins
argued that the fine was excessive and the commissioner was biased
against them, The
The Bowman-Cryers said in a statement
that Thursday's ruling affirms “the long standing idea that
discrimination has no place in America.”
Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme
Court heard arguments in a similar case.
Kennedy sends mixed signals in “gay wedding cake” case.)