Appeals court upholds BOLI decision against 'Sweet Cakes by Melissa' owners

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BOLI ordered the Kleins to pay the lesbian couple $135,000 in emotional damages, saying that under OR law, business owners can't discriminate based on sexual orientation.

An Oregon Appeals court upheld a decision ordering Aaron and Melissa Klein to pay $135K judgment for turning down making a wedding cake for a lesbian couple.

The case stems from Aaron Klein's refusal to bake a wedding cake for Rachel Bowman-Cryer in January 2013 because she was planning a same-sex wedding to her partner Laurel, which he said violated his religious convictions.

"For the past 10 years, the Oregon Equality Act of 2007 has protected Oregonians from unlawful discrimination in housing, employment and public places", Avakian said in a statement.

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The bakery case is one of many disputes nationwide since the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in June 2015 to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states. "It is about a business's refusal to serve someone due to their sexual orientation".

The Kleins appealed the ruling, but Thursday's decision was not in their favor.

According to court filings, the lesbian couple said they felt "mentally raped" after Aaron and Melissa Klein declined to bake their wedding cake.

The Kleins had to close their shop shortly after the 2013 incident, and Melissa Klein also ended her online business.

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"We believe that freedom of expression for ourselves means freedom of expression for others", said Mike Berry, an attorney for the First Liberty Institute, which argued on behalf of the Kleins in March. I have a strong faith in God whom I love with all my heart. "But neither the sincerity, nor the religious basis, nor the historical pedigree of a particular belief has been held to give a special license for discrimination". "It meant everything to me and losing it has been so hard for me and my family".

The Masterpiece ruling could have a profound impact on both religious-freedom laws in the USA and anti-discrimination laws that protect the LGBT community. "Oregon will not allow a "Straight Couples Only" sign to be hung in bakeries or other stores". "That's just flat out wrong".

The Oregonian reports, "in their ruling Thursday, a panel of state appeals court judges sided with [state labor commissioner Brad] Avakian, saying the Kleins did, in fact, deny the Bowman-Cryers because they were lesbians".

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