Two Christian bakers in Oregon who were accused of “mentally raping” a pair of lesbians by declining their request for a same-sex wedding cake won a victory of sorts on Jan. 26, according to FOX News.
Aaron and Melissa Klein, while owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, had faced a $135,000 fine for refusing to bake a cake to celebrate the same-sex wedding of Rachel Cryer and Laurel Bowman in 2011.
The victory is partial; while the Oregon Court of Appeals affirmed that the Kleins had broken the law by refusing to create a cake to celebrate the gay marriage, it also ruled that the state’s Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) had violated the First Amendment’s “requirement of strict neutrality toward religion” in setting the amount of the damages. The court sent the case back to BOLI for damages to be adjusted.
First Liberty, which represents the Kleins, told Fox News Digital that the pair will appeal the decision to the Oregon Supreme Court.
“The Court admits the state agency that acted as both prosecutor and judge in this case was biased against the Kleins’ faith,” said a statement from Stephanie Taub, senior counsel for First Liberty. “Yet despite this anti-Christian bias that infected the whole case, the court is sending the case back to the very same agency for a do-over.”
Taub added that the decade-long case should be over, and that it is “time for the state of Oregon’s hostility toward Aaron and Melissa to end.”
The Kleins’ refusal of Cryer’s and Bowman’s order for their same-sex ceremony happened after the bakery previously did business with the couple’s mother. Cryer and Bowman went to BOLI with the dramatic claim that they had been “mentally raped” by the rejection, even though the couple found another vendor willing to provide a cake at a much lower price.
BOLI ruled that the Kleins had discriminated against Cryer and Bowman due to their homosexuality and fined them $135,000 for “emotional distress.”
The Kleins raised some of the money on GoFundMe, but gay activists managed to get the crowdfunding page “canceled” and the bakery closed in 2016.
The Kleins took their case to the Supreme Court, which ordered the lower courts to reconsider it in light of the June 2018 Supreme Court decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. In that case, the Court ruled that the commission had showed “impermissible hostility” toward a Christian baker’s faith, in violation of the First Amendment.