OR court rules Christian bakery must pay $135G to lesbian couple

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Thursday, Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, lost their case with the Oregon Court of Appeals. "With this ruling, the Court of Appeals has upheld the long-standing idea that discrimination has no place in America". A broad religious exemption to this law would permit any business to deny service to anyone, rendering Oregon's protections against discrimination meaningless.

Like in Masterpiece, the dispute in Klein involves a bakery owner's refusal to provide a cake for a same-sex wedding celebration despite state law barring public accommodations from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.

First Liberty Institute, a national religious liberty advocacy group that assisted in the Kleins' case, said it was disappointed in the ruling.

In Oregon on Thursday, an appeals court upheld a $135,000 fine against Christian bakers who refused to make a gay wedding cake.

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"The court's decision is unsurprising because it is consistent with decisions by courts across the country that have similarly refused to create a new constitutional right of businesses to exempt themselves from civil rights laws and harm same-sex couples through discriminatory denials of service", Marcus told NBC News via email.

The court sentenced the Christian couple to a fine of $135,000 for the "emotional damage" they had allegedly caused the lesbian pair.

"Freedom of expression for ourselves should require freedom of expression for others", Mr. Shackelford said in a statement. "In a diverse and pluralistic society, people of good will should be able to peacefully coexist with different beliefs". Klein v. Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries could offer a preview of some of the issues the high court will likely address. The Kleins have directed us to no evidence whatsoever that ORS 659A.403 was enacted for the goal of singling out religiously motivated action, or that BOLI has selectively targeted religion in its enforcement of the statute. In a unusual twist, the Kleins were originally represented by Alliance Defending Freedom. The money has been held in escrow during the appeal process and will continue to be, as the Kleins may appeal further, to the Oregon Supreme Court, The Register-Guard reports.