Christian bakers lose their religious discrimination appeal

Christian bakers lose their religious discrimination appeal December 29, 2017

Aaron and Melissa Klein, former owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, yesterday lost their appeal against a $135,000 fine imposed on them for refusing to provide a wedding cake for a lesbian couple.
In ruling against their appeal, Judge Chris Garrett sitting in the Oregon Court of Appeals, wrote that in his opinion:

The Kleins seek an exemption based on their sincere religious opposition to same-sex marriage; but those with sincere religious objections to marriage between people of different races, ethnicities, or faiths could just as readily demand the same exemption.
The Kleins do not offer a principled basis for limiting their requested exemption in the manner that they propose, except to argue that there are ‘decent and honorable’ reasons, grounded in religious faith, for opposing same-sex marriage.

The judge added:

That is not in dispute. 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.

The Kleins refused to provide a wedding cake to lesbian couple Laurel and Rachel Bowman-Cryer, above, back in 2013, which led to a complaint being filed against the bakers with Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI).
Laurel, pictured left, and Rachel, according to this report, had been together ten years and were foster parents to two girls when they decided to get married.
In January 2013, Rachel went with her mom to a wedding cake tasting at Sweetcakes by Melissa in the Portland suburb of Gresham, co-owned by Melissa and Aaron Klein. When he heard the wedding was for a lesbian couple, Aaron said, “We don’t do same-sex weddings.” He then called the couple’s relationship an “abomination.”
BOLI ruled in July 2015 that the bakers must pay damages totaling $135,000, which led to Sweet Cakes by Melissa shutting down.
Kelly Shackelford, president and CEO of First Liberty Institute, reacted to the ruling by saying:

Freedom of expression for ourselves should require freedom of expression for others. Today, the Oregon Court of Appeals decided that Aaron and Melissa Klein are not entitled to the Constitution’s promises of religious liberty and free speech.
In a diverse and pluralistic society, people of good will should be able to peacefully coexist with different beliefs. We are disappointed that the court ruled against the Kleins.

The Bowman-Cryers, meanwhile, celebrated the decision and said that in Oregon, businesses that are open to the public are open to all. The couple insisted:

With this ruling, the Court of Appeals has upheld the long-standing idea that discrimination has no place in America.

First Liberty Institute attorneys have said that they will review the decision and consider whether to further appeal.
Melissa Klein insisted earlier this year that the bakery did not discriminate against the lesbian couple, whom they had served before their wedding cake request, and only asks for the right to be allowed not to participate in a gay wedding.

I couldn’t participate in the ceremony, it goes against what I believe. I have a strong faith in God whom I love with all my heart. My whole life is dedicated to living for Him in the best way that I know how.
America is a place where the government can’t force you to violate your religious beliefs or tell you what to believe. But we feel like that is exactly what happened to us. We lost everything we loved and worked so hard to build.

Aaron Klein declared that the “honest truth” is that he and his wife:

Just seek to serve the Lord. We want to do what’s right by Him and at the end of the day, I just want to know that I honor God … For us it’s about following God no matter the costs. As the Bible says, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Lucy

    Bravo Judge Garrett. Such a clear and irrefutable statement.

  • Angela_K

    What a load of mendacious rubbish about freedom of expression when what they want is freedom to discriminate. The religious fruitcakes lost again – good.

  • Club Secretary

    “I couldn’t participate in the ceremony, it goes against what I believe.”
    FFS she was asked to bake a cake not give the bride away!

  • AgentCormac

    The religiots are losing and they don’t like it. Quelle dommage!

  • barriejohn

    This verdict was such a shock, wasn’t it? (Irony)
    But they STILL don’t get it.

  • AgentCormac

    @ barriejohn
    I was about to say they should just wake up, smell the coffee and realise that the world has moved on since the time religiots could happily persecute whomever they wished to with total impunity. But then I remembered Trump. Sadly, anything is yet possible while that particular loose cannon tries to shore up the support of the evangelical right.

  • andym

    Plus some of these idiots will love the idea that they are being persecuted.

  • RussellW

    When will the religiots understand? Religious freedom is a myth. As the judge said, liberal democracies can never permit the demented followers of religion to discriminate against others.

  • StephenJP

    I join with others here in celebrating this decision, and in particular Judge Barrett’s clear judgement, which seems to me (as a non-American, and of course not a lawyer) to be fairly appeal-proof.
    At the same time, I can’t help but feel that a fine of $135k is rather over the top. Surely the important thing is to establish some legal principles and precedents, not create a couple of martyrs.

  • Broga

    They have no regard for the victims of their Christian bigotry. Only they are right, only they are important and those who differ are trash.

  • CoastalMaineBird

    @Club Secretary
    I agree. I’ve never been to a wedding where the CAKE was part of the CEREMONY.
    It’s part of the RECEPTION afterwards.
    It’s highly likely that some of their cakes have been eaten by (gasp!) gay folks at some reception before. Did that hurt them?

  • 1859

    They want to ‘serve the lord’ – at any cost? The cost is they have had to shut down not only their business but their capacity to reason and show tolerance. When asked to bake the stupid cake, had they said ‘Sure ! Great idea! ‘ look at what would have happened – they would still have their business, no fine to pay, no embarrassing court ruling, and there would have been a happy family with a great cake, a great day out, a great party – happiness and tolerance all round. But what poisoned all this? Religion. FFS! It’s time these religious fruitcakes found another planet to live on because they have made – and are still making – one fucking mess of this one.

  • Italian Scallion

    Serve the lord? That megalomaniacal ruthless bastard is nothing more than a stupid myth, and idiots follow it. Jesus like his stupid ass father fairy tales. Fuck you lord and your whore mother.

  • Daz

    *Sigh* [link]

  • Johan

    Its a fundamental truth that religious people always have to feel persecuted. Feeling persecuted is a delicious element of being religious. Jesus was persecuted and therefore a christian aches to be persecuted too. And even though christians these days in civilised countries are not persecuted they have to find things to be persecuted, ie offended, about and then to holler and scream and shreik about how they are being PERSECUTED. They love it.

  • Jobrag

    It’s nice to see that all these bigots have accepted that gay marriage is real, for if its not real then baking cakes for it is no more anti faith than baking for a dolls’ tea party.

  • Lucy

    @jobrag. Good point well made!

  • AgentCormac

    I see they’re asking people to pray for god to give Trump wisdom. I can’t help feeling that even if prayer worked, it would need an awful lot of them to pull that one off!

  • Tim

    Whenever I hear of one of these ‘discrimination’ cases, my reaction is like that of most people here.
    However, I think there is an important question of whether a business should be legally permitted to deny a customer service. To take an extreme example, should a Jewish firm of printers be obliged by law to print Holocaust-denial material if asked to do so by a far-right organisation, or should they be allowed to refuse? If they are allowed to refuse, why is a wedding cake different?
    I dislike the bakers’ stance as much as anyone, but I’m not sure if people should be legally obliged to go against their principles, whether those have a sound basis in reason or not.

  • barriejohn

    Tim: The political or religious affiliations of their clients, and the content of material submitted, should be of no concern to any printer, as long as the subject matter is not illegal. It’s a business, after all, although, as you say, we are talking about discrimination against the customers here.
    And I notice that Mr Klein has no problem with men wearing jewellery, unlike a great many of his fellow-believers:
    He certainly wouldn’t have “broken bread” at our Assembly!

  • Barry Duke

    I’ve just posted a new photo of the Kleins, one that better shows the little whipped pup expression that these “persecuted” Christians manage to produce whenever a camera is pointed at them.

  • John

    It is a minor point but with names like Aaron and Melissa Klein surely they are Jews and not Christians?
    At least, he is – or was?
    The truth is he was stupid in saying he did not do same-sex cakes and then describing it as an abomination.
    If he had just given out some excuse – “We are away on vacation then”, as an example – and then kept his mouth shut, the Kelins would not have faced a large fine and the closure of their business.
    You can’t protect people like them from their own stupidity.

  • Jobrag

    @Agent Cormac, I feel a variant of an old joke coming on. A man is walking along a Florida beach and finds an old bottle, on opening it a Genie flies out saying that he’ll grant the man one wish for releasing him.
    “What I’d really like would be to be able to drive from here to Europe”
    “Jeez, have you any idea what that would involve, bridges, tunnels motels all that shit, hey thanks for letting me out but it was only a lousy ten thousand years.”
    “OK, make Donald Trump wise”
    “Two lanes or four?”

  • barriejohn

    John: Technically, all Christians are Jews who happen to believe that their Messiah has already appeared. That’s why even the writers of the New Testament books can’t agree where the Old Testament now fits into things.
    Jobrag: Very droll, but better not ask The Donald to build the highway!

  • AgentCormac

    Nice one, Jobrag!

  • John

    I am not sure all jews would agree with you that all christians are jews.
    Some jews consider jesus to have been a heretic, who is submerged in boiling human excrement for all eternity.
    They further believe that all christians are simply misguided fools who have no place in the life to come.
    Presumably, they view all muslims and other non-jews as being similar to all of the christians, as well.

  • barriejohn

    John: That’s what “faithful” Jews think. I’m just looking at the historical facts. Christianity was a Jewish Messianic sect, of which there were many. Thanks to Constantine it achieved the status that none of the others did. And Jews tend not to set so much store by the “life to come” business; that’s another Christian add-on, much of it borrowed from other eastern ideologies.

  • John

    In their heart of hearts, that is what all jews think.
    jesus was not a christian – he was a jew.
    He was born a jew, lived as a jew and died a jew.
    (this assumes he did actually exist; I am not persuaded that any such person ever did exist).
    What became known as the christian church was a product not of the so-called jesus christos but of Paul and Constantine (or, more probably, his mother) who created a new roman state religion for political purposes, which had nothing whatsoever to do with jews or jesus.
    Historically, my understanding was that so-called “devout” jews spat as they passed christian churches to clear themselves of any contamination.
    Hardly so-called “christian”behaviour, is it?

  • barriejohn

    John: Some believe that it was all down to Marcion of Sinope, who taught that Yahweh was a completely different deity to the god of the New Testament, and who may have invented Paul, but who can say now? I agree that if the Jesus of the Bible did exist then he would have been a Messianic zealot who lived and died a Jew, and wouldn’t even recognize Christianity as anything that existed in his day. Christians can see the blatant contradiction between the Jesus who called for the establishment of God’s kingdom and punishment of Israel’s enemies, and the bloke who supposedly spouted “Blessed are the peacemakers” homilies; but just brush it all under the carpet, as they do when science demonstrates the ignorance of the Biblical writers. These people are sinking in a morass of their own making.