Refusing to Make Gay-Wedding Cake Costs Bakery $135K

Sweet Cakes by Melissa has to pay up after state rules it discriminated
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 5, 2015 12:35 PM CDT
Refusing to Make Gay-Wedding Cake Costs Bakery $135K
This photo taken Feb. 5, 2013, shows a sign on the front door of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, a bakery in Gresham, Ore.   (Everton Bailey Jr./The Oregonian via AP)

An Oregon bakery's refusal to serve a lesbian couple has resulted in the most expensive wedding cake never baked in recent memory after the state labor board ordered Sweet Cakes by Melissa to pay $135,000 in damages for discrimination. The case dates back to January 2013, reports the Oregonian, when Sweet Cakes by Melissa owners Melissa and Aaron Klein refused to bake a wedding cake for Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer, citing their Christian beliefs. The Bowman-Cryers filed a complaint, a ruckus ensued, and the state found early last year that the Kleins had violated their civil rights.

"This case is not about a wedding cake or a marriage," wrote Oregon's labor commissioner. "It is about a business's refusal to serve someone because of their sexual orientation. Under Oregon law, that is illegal." While exemptions exist for religious organizations, businesses have no such legal protection, and all citizens must retain "the ability to enter public places, to shop, to dine, to move about unfettered by bigotry," he wrote. Klein had already closed her storefront and now operates her business out of her home. The Bowman-Cryers thanked the state for "sending a clear message that discrimination will simply not be tolerated in our state." The Kleins may appeal, and their lawyer indicates they'll do so, reports the Guardian, calling the labor commissioner "an overpowered elected official using his position to root out thought and speech with which he personally disagrees." (Read more gay marriage stories.)

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