Court rules against OR bakers who refused to make gay wedding cake

Lauren Crandall

Lauren Crandall

The couple who simply wanted a wedding cake, Laurel Bowman and Rachel Cryer, "became the victims of death threats - as well as outrageous and horrific claims by conservative media outlets and anti-gay groups", after filing their discrimination claim, as NCRM reported in 2015.

Furthermore, the judges found that the Kleins intentionally inflicted emotional harm on the Bowman-Pryors by sharing their address and contact information online and urging Christians to bombard the couple with hate mail and try to have their children taken away.

The court also said the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries did not "impermissibly burden the Kleins' right to the free exercise of religion" because the Christian bakers were only forced to comply with "a neutral law of general applicability".

The court did reverse one decision that said bakers Aaron and Melissa Klein violated state law by communicating their intent to discriminate against gay couples in the future, according to KGW-TV.

BOLI ordered the Kleins to pay the lesbian couple $135,000 in emotional damages, saying that under OR law, business owners can't discriminate based on sexual orientation.

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Nine months ago, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries fined Melissa and Aaron Klein $135,000 for discriminating against Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer.

The Bowman-Cryers released a statement through their attorney that said the ruling proves "discrimination has no place in America". "OR will not allow a "Straight Couples Only" sign to be hung in bakeries or other stores", the couple stated.

The judge did not agree, saying in a ruling that the state did not target them due to their religious beliefs and that the cake was not fully protected speech or art.

But on Thursday, the court shot down that argument, too, and said the Kleins failed to prove it was not comparable to previous judgments. Their attorneys haven't decided yet whether they will appeal the court's decision to the Oregon Supreme Court. "And what's unfortunate here is that a family and their business has been punished because of their religious beliefs".

Marcus said she hopes the "fundamental constitutional principle recognized by the OR court" on Thursday will "be affirmed by the Supreme Court in Masterpiece Cakeshop as well". A similar case from Colorado is now pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.

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