(RNN) – A court of appeals upheld a ruling on Thursday that two bakers discriminated against a lesbian couple by refusing to bake them a cake.
Nine months ago, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries fined Melissa and Aaron Klein $135,000 for discriminating against Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer.
One of the brides, Rachel Bowman-Cryer along with her mother visited Sweet Cakes for a tasting and to order the cake in 2013.
When Aaron Klein discovered the cake was for a gay couple, he told the women he and his wife did not make cakes for same-sex weddings because of their religious beliefs.
Rachel Bowman-Cryer’s mother returned later to reason with Aaron Klein, who then said her daughter and her fiancé were “abominations.”
The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries levied a fine of $135,000. Donors across the country, however, gave the bakers more than $500,000 for legal fees.
During an appeal, the Kleins claimed they had a religious exemption from the Oregon Equality Act, and that the decision by the labor board violated their right to free expression and speech as artists.
The judge did not agree, saying in a ruling that the state did not target them because of their religious beliefs and that the cake was not fully protected speech or art. Read the full decision here.
The storefront for the bakery closed in 2013, but the Kleins continued to operate out of their home until 2016.
Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer held a commitment ceremony in 2013 and then married in 2014 when same-sex marriage became legal.
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