The past twelve months have been anything but a cake walk for religious bakers. First, we had the seven year fight of Masterpiece Cakeshop’s Jack Phillips that initially led to a victory at the Supreme Court, only to be followed by ongoing harassment by Colorado officials and a transgender activist. They seem intent on proving that they really are driven by animus.
Then there’s the recent story about a bakery in Ohio that was targeted for protests and slander. They were just awarded $11 million by a jury after Oberlin College officials were shown to have instigated their students to believe that the owners of the bakery were racists.
Finally, on Monday, the Supreme Court gave what is, to many, an unexpected kind of victory to Melissa and Aaron Klein, the owners of “Sweet Cakes by Melissa” in Gresham, Oregon.
Now technically, the Court didn’t rule in their favor. The justices instead declined to hear the case, telling Oregon’s courts to rethink their ill-treatment of the Kleins in light of the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision.
The Klein’s ordeal began back in 2013 when Rachel Bowman-Cryer visited their Oregon bakery to order a wedding cake for her upcoming wedding to her partner, Laurel. The Kleins told Bowman-Cryer that their religious beliefs wouldn’t allow them to fill that request.
Seven months after the visit, Bowman-Cryer and her partner filed a complaint with Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries. The administrative law judge appointed by the then-Labor Commissioner, Brad Avakian, sided with Bowman-Cryer and her partner and awarded them $135,000 in damages.
The ruling was then reviewed by Avakian who, even before his Bureau filed a formal complaint against the Kleins, publicly stated “Everyone has a right to their religious beliefs, but that doesn’t mean they can disobey laws already in place.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, John Stonestreet and Roberto Rivera