Bakery That Refused to Bake Cake For Lesbian Couple Must Pay Damages

Illustration for article titled Bakery That Refused to Bake Cake For Lesbian Couple Must Pay Damages

The owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, the Oregon bakery that refused to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple, has been ordered to pay $135,000 in damages. According to the Associated Press, the damages were ordered by Oregon’s bureau of labor and industries for the “emotional suffering” caused by the bakeries actions.


The bakery’s owners, Aaron and Melissa Klein, refused to bake the cake in 2013 citing their religious beliefs. The Kleins’ actions sparked a national debate about the right of private business owners to refuse services to members of the LGBTQ community based solely on abstract religious principles.

Oregon’s bureau of labor and industries ruled, however, that the couples violated the state’s 2007 discrimination law. The AP reports that the law, “provides an exemption for religious organizations, but the agency ruled that exemption does not allow private businesses to discriminate against potential customers.”

This case is not about a wedding cake or a marriage. It is about a business’s refusal to serve someone because of their sexual orientation. Under Oregon law, that is illegal, Oregon labor commissioner Brad Avakian said in the final order.

The Kleins’ attorney called the order unconstitutional and a violation of free speech principles. They will likely appeal the decision.

Image via Getty.


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For any who think this is a First Amendment issue:

There’s a difference between refusing to sponsor a message and refusing to serve a customer. Additionally, there’s a difference between refusing to serve a customer and refusing to serve an entire demographic of customers. It actually takes a great deal of stupidity to break the law the way these bakers did. A crafty bigot could’ve legally gotten away with it.

If these people refused to put certain text or imagery on their cake, that would have been fine because they don’t have to sponsor that message. If these people refused service to the individuals because they were belligerent or rude, they could do that too. However, these customers wanted the same wedding cake that everyone else gets. Then the owners explained to them why they refused to serve them: Because sexuality.