Bakery Owner In Same-Sex Cake Case Gets Day In Court

Mar 1, 2017

An Oregon court will hear arguments Thursday in a case involving a bakery owner who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

Four years ago, the owners of a Gresham bakery told a woman seeking a wedding cake that they didn't do cakes for same-sex weddings. The newlyweds filed a discrimination complaint with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries.

The case drew widespread media coverage. The bakery's owners, Aaron and Melissa Klein, were championed by Christian conservatives as victims of a religious witch hunt.

In 2015, Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian ordered the Kleins to pay $135,000 in damages. The Kleins challenged the fine in court. An attorney argued in court documents that the bakery owners' free speech rights were violated by Avakian's order. The state will argue the Kleins violated state laws against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

The case will be heard by the Oregon Court of Appeals in Salem. A final decision isn't expected immediately.