OR bakers lose their appeal

Melissa and Aaron Klein of Sweet Cakes as seen on Samaritan's Purse website

The Oregon Court of Appeals upheld a decision that forced two Christian bakers to pay $135,000 to a lesbian couple who said they felt "mentally raped" when the bakers declined to make a wedding cake.

Following their lost appeal, the OR court said the Kleins' argument that their cakes are a form of artistic expression is "entitled to be taken seriously", but that others would not consider them as they would a statue OR a painting.

"Freedom of expression for ourselves should require freedom of expression for others".

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 case could next go to the Oregon Supreme Court, KGW reported.

The Kleins closed their bakery in 2016 after they were ordered to pay $135,000 in emotional and mental damages to the lesbian couple.

The Kleins chose to fight back against the decision and filed an appeal.

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The Kleins' attorney could not be immediately reached for comment following the ruling.

Oregon's anti-discrimination law states that "all persons within the jurisdiction of this state are entitled to the full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges of any place of public accommodation, without any distinction, discrimination or restriction on account of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin or age". "And what's unfortunate here is that a family and their business has been punished because of their religious beliefs".

The decision comes weeks after a Christian cake artist from Colorado opened a case at the US Supreme Court over the right to refuse to make a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony.

Melissa Klein positioned earlier this year that the bakery did not discriminate against the lesbian couple, whom they had served before their wedding cake request, and only asks for the right to be allowed not to participate in a gay wedding.

Marcus said she hopes the "fundamental constitutional principle recognized by the OR court" on Thursday will "be affirmed by the Supreme Court in Masterpiece Cakeshop as well". Therefore, the Kleins' First Amendment rights were not violated.

Through tears, Klein said she poured her heart and passion into each cake and designed each one to fit each couple perfectly. The justices also rejected the Kleins' argument that Avakian's ruling violated state and federal free speech protections.

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