Oregon Appeals Court Upholds Discrimination Ruling Against Antigay Bakers

Appeals court upholds fine against Christian bakers who refused to make same-sex wedding cake

Even if the Kleins "imbue each wedding cake with their own aesthetic choices", the court said, other people will not necessarily "experience any wedding cake that the Kleins create predominantly as "expression" rather than as food".

The Kleins balked at first, then paid the $135,000 and vowed to appeal the case.

"All of us are equal under the law and should be treated equally", the couple said. "OR will not allow a "Straight Couples Only" sign to be hung in bakeries or other stores", the couple stated.

Their lawyers also said Mr Avakian and the state Bureau of Labor and Industries violated the Kleins' rights as artists to free speech, their rights to religious freedom and their rights as defendants to a due process.

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments earlier this month in a similar case involving a bakery in Colorado. First Liberty Institute, a national religious freedom law firm, represents the Kleins in their appeal along with former President George H.W. Bush White House Counsel Boyden Gray. "But neither the sincerity, nor the religious basis, nor the historical pedigree of a particular belief has been held to give a special license for discrimination".

Both cases are almost identical in that the same-sex couples involved say that they didn't request any specific design, decoration or message for the cake before the bakers refused to sell them.

The Kleins were found to be in breach of a 2007 state law that protects the rights of LGBTQ people in employment, housing and public accommodations. He argued the case turns on two simple facts: The Kleins refused to provide the exact same service for a same-sex couple that they would with a heterosexual couple, and the denial of services was based on sexual orientation.

The panel of appellate judges concluded that baking wedding cakes does not constitute "speech, art or other expression" protected by the First Amendment. At the most, the business was a combination of expressive and non-expressive elements.

Nancy Marcus, an attorney with LGBTQ legal and civil rights group Lambda Legal, which filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case, said the ruling "is both critically important and completely unsurprising". The Kleins gathered with their attorneys outside.

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.

Aaron Klein declared that the "honest truth" is that he and his wife "just seek to serve the Lord".

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