A husband-and-wife baking team must pay a $135,000 fine for declining to make a cake for the wedding of two women, Oregon’s second-highest court has ruled.
That was at least the lesson handed down by a three-judge panel from the Oregon Court of Appeals on Thursday, when it upheld a massive penalty against a pair of bakers who declined to make a cake for a for a lesbian couple back in 2013.
According to The Daily Signal, the husband-and-wife team of Aaron and Melissa Klein — who have already had to close their bakery due to a boycott — will now have to pay a $135,000 fine levied by a state agency.
The Bowman-Cryers filed a complaint, arguing that the Kleins broke a state law against discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian agreed, and in 2015 ordered the Kleins to pay $135,000 in damages.
The three-judge panel found that baking a cake did not count as “speech, art, or other expression” which would have been protected by the First Amendment.
“Freedom of expression for ourselves should require freedom of expression for others,” Mr. Shackelford said in a statement. “Today, the Oregon Court of Appeals decided that Aaron and Melissa Klein are not entitled to the Constitution’s promises of religious liberty and free speech. In a diverse and pluralistic society, people of good will should be able to peacefully coexist with different beliefs.”
The Kleins paid the fine following Avakian’s order and closed their baking business in 2016 after they were ordered to pay $135,000 in emotional and mental damages to the lesbian couple.. Donors gave the bakers more than $500,000, money they say has been spent on legal fees.
The $135,000 damage award belonging to the Bowman-Cryers has been locked in an escrow account pending appeals.