December 29, 2017
by Mattie John Bamman
EATER, Portland, OR
The now shuttered Sweet Cakes by Melissa, which refused service to and doxxed the gay couple will pay damages equalling $135,000
This week, the Oregon Court of Appeals confirmed Melissa and Aaron Klein must pay damages equalling $135,000 for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple in 2013, the Oreports. The Oregon Court of Appeals upheld a ruling that the Kleins’ now-shuttered Gresham bakery, Sweet Cakes by Melisa, violated the Oregon Equality Act, when it denied Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer’s cake order based on sexual orientation.
The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries originally ruled against the Kleins in 2015, and this week’s ruling upheld that decision. Upon the 2015 ruling, the Kleins briefly refused to pay the damages demanded by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries. That same year, the Kleins did pay the fine in full, plus interest, but soon after filed an appeal.
Before the Oregon Court of Appeals’s decision, the Kleins argued they had acted within their rights when they denied the cake order, seeking a religious exemption from the Oregon Equality Act. They also argued the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries had violated their free speech protections.
But on December 28, 2017, Judge Chris Garret of the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled the Kleins’ free speech rights had not been violated by the the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, because its ruling “requires their compliance with a neutral law.” The Court also decided the Kleins provided no evidence to support their claim the State of Oregon had targeted them based on their religious beliefs.